by Cesca Janece Waterfield
He broadcasts live this week on “Man vs. Food,” the Travel Channel show that pits personalities up against formidable feasts. But this South Philly native has an unfair advantage: He’s Tony Luke Jr. and he’s already claimed victory as restaurateur, actor, and much more.
Born Anthony Lucidonio, Jr., Tony graduated from the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. After years working in the music industry, he opened Tony Luke’s selling cheesesteaks and hoagies. Since then, his restaurant has been featured in Gourmet and GQ magazines. Frozen versions of his famous dishes are available in over 2000 grocery stores boasting the brand name Pronto. He appeared with Mark Wahlberg in the film ‘Invincible’ and he’s slated to appear in upcoming films, “Our Lady of Victory” with Ellyn Burstyn and in “Mafioso II.”
But it’s the independent film “The Nail” for which Tony wrote the screenplay and soundtrack that brings together his wide talents. He stars as Joey Nardone, an ex-con who befriends Jesus Perez, a boy with dreams of being a boxer. Airing on Showtime, the Movie Channel and via Netflix, “The Nail” won the audience award for Best Film at Philadelphia’s Cinefest. It also stars former Miss Universe Dayanara Torres and Tony Danza.