Ex-football Star Goes Into New Field Tony Sacca's Football Stops Included Delran, Penn State And The Nfl. Now He's Opening A Bar.

Posted: November 09, 1998

PENNSAUKEN — Tony Sacca's tumultuous football career has taken him from Delran to Barcelona and back again, with stops at Penn State and the NFL in between.

Now the South Jersey native is looking to parlay his athletic achievements into a touchdown in the business arena with Sacca's Pourhouse Pub, a bar he is about to take over in Pennsauken.

Sacca, along with two buddies, has signed a sales agreement on Lombardo's Tavern & Package Goods Store, at Cove Road and Westfield Avenue. An assistant football coach at La Salle University in Philadelphia, he is dividing his time between the gridiron and tackling the bar business. But after the season winds down, Sacca said, he plans to be at the pub full time.

``College coaching is a crazy profession,'' he said in an interview this week. ``You're hired, and you're fired. I just wanted to have some stability.''

Sacca, who said he was putting up the money for the venture, said he planned to spend at least $75,000 on renovations.

``We're redoing everything,'' he said with a sweeping wave of his muscular arm.

Topping the list are a new parking lot and several structural repairs that are necessary before settlement can take place, followed by cosmetic interior improvements.

``The place needs an obvious face-lift,'' Sacca said, glancing up at the smoke-stained tile ceiling and the dark, cavernous barroom.

Plans include big-screen televisions - the better to watch Monday Night Football on - as well as a full complement of booths and tables to go with the new kitchen that will replace an existing liquor store.

``We think we can turn this into a real good spot,'' Sacca said.

The rifle-armed quarterback played high school ball at Delran, then moved on to Pennsylvania State University, where, as a four-year starter, he collected a truckload of records, including that of career passing leader, with 5,869 yards.

In 1992, Sacca was drafted in the second round by the the National Football League's Phoenix Cardinals. He spent two mostly forgettable years there before coach Buddy Ryan cut him. The 6-foot-5 225-pounder finished out his passing career with two seasons in Spain, on the roster of the Barcelona Dragons of the World League of American Football.

He and his partners, Chris Paolone and Paul Johnson, plan to lure the lunch and dinner crowds to the traditional shot-and-a-beer bar.

While Sacca brings with him the kind of name recognition that he hopes will pack the bar stools, his partners carry somewhat more practical experience.

``We know the formula for success,'' said Paolone, who, with Johnson, owns and operates Barmixers, a bartending school in Voorhees.

The pair have been a team since their college days in Maryland and still work nights together as bartenders at Ott's in Delran, one of Sacca's favorite watering holes.

``We met at Ott's,'' Sacca said, smiling. ``We said, `What the heck, let's go into business together.' It's the heart of the business district. What's not to like?''

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