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Matriarch of Delaware sub shop celebrates ahead of 97th birthday

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One of the first sub and steak shops to serve the Elsmere, Delaware area opened 65 years ago. The woman behind the successful business received a big honor Wednesday.

Video Transcript

- One of the first sub and steak shops to serve the Elsmere Delaware area opened 65 years ago. And today, the woman behind that successful business got quite the honor.

- Yeah. Alicia is here now with the surprise they pulled off for the woman lovingly known as Aunt Vee.

ALICIA VITARELLI: Guys, for any of you with an Italian grandmother or aunt, you know pulling off a surprise with these women is pretty much impossible. They don't miss a beat, am I right? So I don't know how they did this today for Aunt Vee. Casapulla's original location opened in 1956 and Elsmere thanks to Luigi and Anna Casapulla. Their daughter Vincetta, Aunt Vee, expanded the business. On April 9th, she will turn 97 years young. Today, they officially celebrated what they're calling Aunt Vee day.

- (SINGING) Happy birthday dear Aunt Vee. Happy birthday to you.

- We were a very close family. It'll be 65 years in September. And I've been out here 64 years. Moved out here 64 years. And when my dad bought the place it was only a grocery store, and my brother Andrew and I used to run that.

ALICIA VITARELLI: Yeah, she's been working for the last 64 years. Still going strong. Aunt Vee spent her youth living in Little Italy working in the family store, as you hear, helping with our five sisters and three brothers. Elected officials in Newcastle County came to celebrate the family's beloved matriarch with proclamations and a cake. Today, she reflected on her other life highlight as a performer.

- So my grandmother enlisted me for singing. I don't know if she knew that I knew how to sing. But anyway--

- She sang beautifully.

- --so I was on the radio and all for a good while. And appeared on the stage in Italian plays. I had a nice childhood.

ALICIA VITARELLI: I love her. The large family has continued the tradition, the fourth generation now running Casapulla's. They've also expanded. They have multiple locations. They call Aunt Vee their greatest inspiration, their biggest cheerleader. Nothing beats the matriarchs. And she is sharp as a tack. So Aunt Vee, 96, almost 97, we salute you.

- Yeah. I love that. She said what a great childhood she had, and what a great childhood she's given so many others as well.

- Oh, absolutely. Great story.

ALICIA VITARELLI: And good sandwiches too.

- All right.

- Even better.

- Thanks, Alicia.