Sometimes you think back to being a kid and you have great memories of places that you hope are still open so you can continue traditions with your own kids.

There were two places that were a staple of my growing up in South Jersey.

The first was a restaurant called Mama Ventura's. This was the go-to family event place.

Saturday night dinner with grandparents, uncles and cousins. The meatballs and the tableside caesar salad topped the must-order list for us.


It was a lively, old-school, family-style place that we frequented at least once a month.

As far as I can tell, the doors closed about seven years ago, but it had been longer than that since I stopped going.

Life gets busy and my career has taken turns from Boston to Washington even when I moved back to New Jersey with my family, we lived too far to make it a regular place. But it's a great memory for sure.

The other place that was a perfect memory not only as a kid but when I visited family in Cherry Hill with my own family and wanted to grab a bite before hitting the road was Big John's.

The cheesesteaks were simply the best and they had a terrific pickle bar.

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Then there was DiVello's, located on the edge of town in Cherry Hill right across from Kress Liquors.

It was the first stop on Kresson Road when coming into town from Haddonfield. The cold cuts and the bread were simply the best. Stuffed "hoagies" with ham, cheese, salami, and the right amount of oil and vinegar. And the soft pretzels.

Pierre Gui via Unsplash
Pierre Gui via Unsplash

It was a family business with father and sons working the counter and the kitchen.

I'm not sure what happened to the family or why the restaurant closed. I went to school with one of the sons, Adam, but it's been many decades since I saw him and it's been at least 15 years since I was in the deli.

But it goes to show, for some of us, a great food memory will actually last a lifetime.

What's the place that you remember but is no longer open? Hit us up on the free New Jersey 101.5 app and let me know!

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Spadea. Any opinions expressed are Bill's own. Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015.

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