South Philadelphia Italian bakery seeks to give back to a family in need

For well over 100 years, the same brick oven has been serving up one simple, but elegant dish, the tomato pie. And, the brick and mortar store is only open 15 days a year.

"It was my grandmother that started making it in the Depression era. Tomato pie is a very cheeseless pizza, which on a crust in the big brick oven behind me, is rectangular-shaped. Nothing round," owner of Iannelli's Bakery, Vincent Iannelli said.

But, this year, the family-owned and operated shop, now run by Iannelli, is doing something a little different.

"We’re conducting a cooking for a cause which is the whole month of January. We won’t be open here, but I’m selling tickets on our website and I’m going to donate the proceeds from one whole class, which is a $1,000 to a family in need for some holiday help," Iannelli explained.

The tickets are $99 per person and the donation, along with helping a family in need, also comes with a show, courtesy of Vincent himself. "You get to hang out with me for the day. We’re gonna cook, we’re gonna eat, we’re gonna drink some wine and it’s going to be a good time."

People have seven days in January to take part in the dinner-donation event. Iannelli is still looking for someone to nominate a deserving family.

"We’re asking for people to email us and tell us a story about the family that you want to nominate," Iannelli said.

Nominations of deserving families can also be sent through Iannelli’s Instagram account, here.

He hopes to give the gift by the 27th to a family in need, but for Vincent, giving back is what this century-old business is all about. "I don’t know what anybody is going through, so if I can put a smile on somebody’s face, that’s fine with me."

Anyone wishing to email Iannelli regarding a deserving family can do so at Additionally, more information can be found at the Iannelli's Bakery website, here