It all started in 1899, Vincenzo James Pelura left Bellante Teramo, in the little province of Abruzzi, Italy, at the age of sixteen, to travel to the "New World...America." He was met at Ellis Island, New York, by his friends, the DiFerdinando brothers who settled in South Philadelphia, from Abruzzi. James worked in the Pennsylvania mine quarries,and saved every penny that he didn't send 'home', to reach his American Dream. In 1919, he purchased a car, rented an apartment, and a closet-sized 'office', in PennsGrove, N.J. and there, established "Pelura's Cabs."
His taxi business grew successfully to be the largest taxi company in the county. He fulfilled his dream to be an American businessman. In 1921, he married Rosa DiFerdinando, a sister of his friends who had welcomed him to America. He brought his bride to PennsGrove, N.J., to his large home where he planned the construction of a store-front to house "Pelura's Spaghetti House".
Rosa was an accomplished cook and easily managed the popular Italian restaurant. Word spread widely about her delicious linguini, ravioli, pizza, pasta and submarine sandwiches. The restaurant offered a 'home-friendly' welcoming, ambience, with a soda fountain counter and stools, and several small tables covered by red-checkered tablecloths. Several sturdy, wooden chairs with hand-sewn poplin covers filled the room.
When Rosa was 80 years old, the youngest of the first-generation grandchildren, Steven Maxwell, 12 yrs old at that time, asked her about the one and only wooden chair that she had kept. He asked, "Mom Mom, if you go to heaven before I do, may I have your chair?" She asked, "Why would you want that chair?" Steven said, "You never know.....I may want to have an Italian restaurant someday, like you did." Of course, she promptly announced that "the chair goes to Steven," and the chair was then relocated to his bedroom, for posterity.
That same chair now sits in Maxwell's as a reminder of the humble beginnings of an Italian American Family that continues to share a love of family, friends and great food with us.