Chickie’s & Pete’s celebrates 35th anniversary

Chick­ies and Petes cel­eb­rates a 35th year an­niversary since the time it opened in 1977. (Tom War­ing)

Hun­dreds of people turned out re­cently for a block party to mark the 35th an­niversary of the open­ing of the first Chick­ie’s & Pete’s.

“Thank you, May­fair,” own­er Pete Ciar­roc­chi told the crowd.

Pete and Chick­ie Ciar­roc­chi, the cur­rent own­er’s par­ents, opened the bar back in 1977. It re­placed Wally’s Caf&ea­cute;, which was known for hav­ing a ladies’ en­trance and no bar stools.

Today, the Chick­ie’s & Pete’s fran­chise is in­cred­ibly suc­cess­ful. The ex­pan­sion star­ted in 1999, when Ciar­roc­chi opened loc­a­tions at 11000 Roosevelt Blvd. and the old Vet­er­ans Sta­di­um.

Since then, more stan­dalone loc­a­tions have opened. There are also loc­a­tions at the air­port, sta­di­ums, Jer­sey shore board­walks and casi­nos.

Last year, an ES­PN Mo­bile poll named Chick­ie’s & Pete’s the Best Sports Bar in North Amer­ica.

The bar’s motto is, “It’s a lot more fun to eat in a bar than drink in a res­taur­ant.”

Ciar­roc­chi, though, said none of it would have been pos­sible without sup­port for the ori­gin­al bar.

“It’s about 4010 Rob­bins Av­en­ue,” he said.

Dan Baker, the Phil­lies and Eagles pub­lic ad­dress an­noun­cer, served as mas­ter of ce­re­mon­ies. City Coun­cil­man Bill Green de­livered a res­ol­u­tion. Bail Com­mis­sion­er Tim O’Bri­en presen­ted Ciar­roc­chi with a life­time mock “Get Out of Jail” card. The bar own­er also re­ceived a res­ol­u­tion from state Sen. Tina Tartagli­one.

Former City Coun­cil­man Rick Mari­ano was also on hand, as was the bar mas­cot, Crab­fry Guy.

Guests in­cluded Tony Bruno, of 97.5 The Fan­at­ic, and the Fan­at­ic Fantasy Girls. Bruno once lived on Brighton Street in May­fair.

The Eagles Pep Band, a band called The Busi­ness and a Ciar­roc­chi fa­vor­ite, the Pol­ish-Amer­ic­an String Band, provided en­ter­tain­ment.

Ciar­roc­chi, who is mar­ried with three sons, is a part own­er of the Phil­adelphia Soul Arena Foot­ball League team. The Soul Man mas­cot and a few Soul Mates cheer­lead­ers at­ten­ded the fest­iv­it­ies.

Ciar­roc­chi posed for pic­tures with ori­gin­al em­ploy­ees and cus­tom­ers as We are Fam­ily and the theme from Rocky played. He still knows them by first name, re­count­ing how a wo­man named Helen used to or­der pressed ham and smoke Ben­son and Hedges Gold ci­gar­ettes.

Crab­fries have re­placed pressed ham as the menu fa­vor­ite, and pat­rons can no longer smoke at Phil­adelphia bar/res­taur­ants.

What hasn’t changed is that Ciar­roc­chi con­siders all his cus­tom­ers to be a part of the fran­chise.

“I just have the keys to the place,” he said. ••

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