Astra Foods has made a major acquisition.
The Upper Darby-based meat manufacturer has snapped up “wit” Cleavers, a popular cheesesteaker at 108 South 18th Street, for $4.6 million. philadelphia business journalreferencing the property record.
Located near Chestnut and 18th Streets, this three-story building has a prime location within two blocks of Rittenhouse Square. Cleavers is run by brothers Poulimenos from Astra Foods, along with Ted and Sav Bouikidis, who own Zesto Pizza & Grill in College Station, Roxborough and Bryn Mawr.
The price is close to what Brooklyn developer Brookliv paid for three vacant lots off Walnut Street. The property was previously owned by 108 S. 18th Street Acquisition LLC, which purchased the property in 2007 for $1.
Astra Foods declined to comment on the acquisition, although the building was appraised at $1.1 million this year.
Perhaps not as well-known as other cheesesteak vendors like Geno’s, Cleavers remains a Philadelphia institution and is often referred to as one of the top cheesesteak places in the city.
Unlike some of the former long-established food businesses in other cities, it is still a going concern.
Earlier this year, Alleva Dairy at 188 Grand Street in New York’s Little Italy, billed as America’s oldest cheese purveyor, closed for good after paying $23,800 a month in rent arrears. The New York Post reports.
“My store is the oldest cheese shop in America and the center of Little Italy. We’re a New York institution,” owner Karen King told the paper.
Alleva, whose regulars include actors Michael Imperioli, Chaz Palminteri and Leah Remini, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September to restructure debt that had ballooned to more than $620,000. Unable to deal with the debt, King eventually decided to close the store for good.
— Ted Glazer