“It goes back to 1918 when my grand-
father, John DiStefano, opened a record
shop on Dickinson Street,” says Gregg
DiStefano. “He was one of the first
distributors of the Victor Talking Machine
Co. in Camden, N.J., which became RCA.”
A passionate and knowledgeable
music lover, John DiStefano worked
closely with RCA executives to develop
a music catalog that would make the
company the world’s leading producer
of classical recordings. Aficionados
flocked to the shop to hear new record-
ings unavailable anywhere else. They
didn’t just listen to the music, though.
They discussed it. With discussions
came coffee. With coffee came cake.
After the Depression, DiStefano
opened The Victor Cafe, affectionately
called Victor’s by the locals, at its present location, offering a full dinner menu
and bringing with him his vast library of
78 rpm recordings. He covered the walls
with photos of opera stars and used wood
from old record-listening booths to construct benches. Back then, though, it was
the customers who burst into song.
“We hired our first singing waiter in
1979,” says Gregg. “It wasn’t long before
every staff member was performing,
including our cook, who would come out
in a splattered apron. People loved it.”
In 1988, Victor’s expanded into an
adjoining townhouse without sacrific-
ing its Old World charm. But it was in
January 2006 that the restaurant went
Hollywood. Sylvester Stallone was in
town, scouting locations for his next film
as Rocky Balboa. As soon as he stepped
inside the cafe, Stallone knew he had
found the right setting for what would be
(yo!) Adrian’s restaurant.
Scenes from an Italian restaurant called The Victor Cafe.
Dante & Luigi’s Corona di Ferro
762 S. 10th St.
Ralph’s Italian Restaurant
760 S. Ninth St.
The Victor Cafe
1303 Dickinson St.