The six De Luca family siblings have no plans to add locations of Villa di Roma, their classic Italian Market "red gravy" institution.
But now you can take home a taste of their inimitable red sauces in a jar.
Brother Basil De Luca, Villa's sauce and meatball master, spent two days at a food plant in Maryland to ensure the manufactured version is as close as possible to what he makes every day.
And he succeeded.
I tried the "classic sauce" beside the slightly more expensive fresh version also sold from the fridge for takeout, and it was a very good replica.
The "house classic tomato sauce" is a vegetarian rendition of the "gravy" Villa uses with Pecorino-Romano to simmer its famous meatballs.
The "house marinara," which has a little oregano but no cheese, is the restaurant's choice for seafood.
Honestly, there is no true replacement for Basil's handmade sauce.
But with a shelf life of two years for the jars, the new product is a worthy way to broaden the reach of this genuine South Philly treasure's legacy. For now, though, you'll still have to visit Ninth Street to buy it.
– Craig LaBan
Villa di Roma's Classic Sauce and Marinara, $6.95 for a 24 oz. jar, 936 S. Ninth St., 215-592-1295; villadiroma.com