Thanksgiving tradition continues with Cacia's turning out South Philly turkeys

Dan Wing
November 22, 2018 - 8:27 am
Joe Cacia prepares to load the bakery's massive brick oven with Thanksgiving turkeys.

Dan Wing/KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — People were lined up before 5 a.m. on Thursday at Cacia's on Ritner Street in South Philly, all making sure they had their bird in the brick overn before the 7 a.m. cutoff.

Rob wheeled his turkey over in a little red wagon, as he's done every year for the last two decades, and he says he wouldn't miss it.

"The love, the people, the taste of the bird is totally different," he said. "It's not like making it in your own oven. It does come out a lot juicier. It's just the atmosphere, the whole meaning of Thanksgiving."

Diane is pulling an all-nighter, having done some late-night shopping with friends before spending a few hours in the kitchen. So why come here to have her turkey cooked instead of getting a few hours' sleep?

"You know, it frees up oven space, so you get to cook all your sides, and you don't have to worry about the bird," she said. "And it's tradition. And it tastes great."

Joe Cacia's father owns teh bakery, which has been in the familty for over 60 years, and he says they see quite a few turkeys every year.

"It's usually around 120 to 130. One year we did 140. We know that that's our limit," Cacia said.

He tries to explain what makes the birds taste so great.

"The bricks," he said. "The heat radiates among the bricks. It's not your traditional conventional oven where it's a dry heat. We have probably the most ideal oven to make a turkey — or anything in a pan."

Everybody in line says the early morning wake-up time, waiting out in the cold, and the $26 charge to have their turkey cooked at Cacia's is all worth it when they take that first bite.