Every day of the week, the sweet smell of pastries fills the air on Christian Street between 10th and 11th Streets. Isgro Pasticceria has been making traditional Italian desserts since 1904. This family-owned business was established by Mario Isgro, an immigrant from Sicily. The sweet shop has been passed down for the last three generations and there's no sign of stopping the tradition. The current owner, Gus Isgro, hopes to pass down the business to his son, Michael.
So what's the secret behind Philadelphia's oldest bakery? “It's been mostly family-run since the beginning. Good ingredients, trusted employees, and a passion for baking," said Isgro. The best seller is the cannolis. "We've never changed my family's recipe," said Isgro.
Even the employees who aren’t blood-related feel apart of the family. “I started working here twenty years ago and I’ll never leave. I feel I’m apart of a bigger family,” said Isgro employee Sue Balco. Along with traditional pastries, the shop sells special Phillies’ cupcakes and Flyers’ cookies to satisfy the sports fans. For customers looking for something different, try Isgro's twist on Italian rum cake made with ricotta cheese and vanilla.
Can't make it to South Philly? No problem. Isgro’s can ship a selection of their pastries to customers all over the country. And for the first time in Isgro’s history, they will be open for the month of August to continue to satisfy locals and tourists.
By Emily Clymer
Group 14, South Philadelphia