Pannese Society plans neighborhood block party

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Perhaps the solid-looking handshake that’s featured on the Young Pannese Social Club logo best describes what the Italian-American organization will present Saturday at its home on 187 Pocasset Avenue on the Johnston-Providence line.

While the event is officially named a “Block Party Festival at the Café,” Young Pannese Club President Peter Goneconte took another approach, saying, “This is going to be an extraordinary cultural event, the sharing of our Italian heritage with our Hispanic neighbors here in Silver Lake.”

Goneconte, who has been the driving force behind the revival of the Club’s Café Di Panni that features some of the state’s finest Italian foods and is open to the public from Wednesday through Saturday, also said, “Please join us for a full day of excitement here at the Young Pannese Social Club.”

While going over plans with treasurer Jerry Couillart and trustee Billy Santilli, Goneconte announced Saturday’s event will begin at 11 a.m. and continue until closing.

“Come rock on the block,” Goneconte said, adding that Johnston’s famed entertainer Vinney Ames will be on hand along with the award-winning music group known as Tribeca. “We’ll also have Tommy Tunes here Saturday.”

When people aren’t listening to Ames sing songs made famous by music icons or dancing to a song or two while Tribeca performs, Tommy Tunes will lend his disc jockey talents to the huge block party audience.

Although the Young Pannese Social Club has been in existence since 1912 and was built with a credo consisting of sharing, brotherhood, social activities and heritage, Goneconte likes to refer to the non-profit as “the new kids on the Silver Lake block.”

That’s because long gone are such one-time popular Italo-American eateries like Coffee’s Cafe and Hart’s Café and the only restaurants left are the Rosario Club and Café Di Panni.

“We’re reaching out to all our neighbors to join together and compare our heritages,” Goneconte said of one reason why the Young Pannese Society Club has coordinated Saturday’s block party. “We want our neighbors to taste our Italian foods and we’re going to offer a Hispanic and American menu, as well.”

The foods offered Saturday, which will be available at $20 per person, will be prepared by Phil Nassisi, executive chef at the Young Pannese Club’s Café Di Panni.

Saturday’s block party is open only to people age 21 and over and will have a full cash bar at the Young Pannese Social Club that Goneconte emphasized will require “positive identification that will be strictly enforced.”

The Young Pannese Society Club, with Goneconte, Vice President Jason Patrone, Secretary Dave Fuller and Santilli leading the way, will put its best foot forward in an attempt to share cultures with its neighbors and set the stage for reviving what was once one of the most active and thriving metropolitan areas in Rhode Island.

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