DiNardo's Famous steams its last crab as restaurant officially closes

Steve Tawa
June 18, 2018 - 5:42 pm
DiNardo's Famous Seafood

Steve Tawa | KYW Newsradio

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OLD CITY, PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Just as Philadelphia celebrated its bicentennial in 1976, the kitchen at DiNardo's Famous Seafood began to slather herbs, seasonings and a secret sauce on crabs, quickly becoming a beloved and well-known seafood spot.

Now after 42 years in business, the longtime family-owned and -operated restaurant has steamed its last pot of crabs. 

Second-generation owner Liz Massimo blames the closure on the lack of quality and quantity of those meaty, big Gulf Coast crabs, which DiNardo's had flown into the city every day.

"We were concerned about the crab supply. People come here for our specialty product, which is the crabs," she said. "They're juicier and free-swimming. They never go into the mud, as the local crabs do."

Their forte has been platters of all-you-can-eat steamed crabs, fries and slaw, as well as blue claw, Alaskan king, snow and Dungeness crab specials.

Liz and her father, Ralph Patrone, have been running DiNardo's for the last 28 years. The restaurant at Third and Race streets officially closed Monday night.

"We just tried to do our best to do what we could," Patrone said. 

Employees of Dinardo's, from left: Kathie Haas; Liz Massimo, owner; Gina Massimo; and Ralph Patrone, owner
Steve Tawa | KYW Newsradio

Considering the failure and turnover rate of many restaurants, Patrone said he's satisfied knowing how successful DiNardo's was for the past four decades.

Massimo said she'll miss customers but especially the staff, from those at the front of the house to the kitchen.

"Most everyone here has been here over 20 years, and some of them over 30," she added. "It's just been a great pleasure and a privilege to be a part of all of this. These people are truly like my family."

On closing night, even the staff not on duty decided to come in, as Massimo put it, "so we can finish this out together."