At The Ta­ble With Bobby and Dodi Strunk

The Phoenix - - COMMUNITY - Bette Ban­jack The Ta­ble Let Bette hear from you: ban­jack303@ver­i­zon. net. Search YouTube for “Look Who’s Cook­ing with Bette Ban­jack,” as well phoenixvil­ (search bar: Ban­jack) for this col­umn. Find Bette on Face­book by search­ing “Bette Ban­jack’s

Dodi DeMutis is a Phoenixville girl, and Bobby Strunk is from Roy­ers­ford. They were in­tro­duced by friends at the Spec­ta­tor Restau­rant & Bar. They just cel­e­brated their 20th an­niver­sary on Sept. 12.

They live on what they call the “farm” west of Phoenixville. There are three Strunk chil­dren. It is hard to be­lieve the old­est Bobby is 18 and start­ing his first year in col­lege. Max is 15 years old, and Lizzy is 10 years old.

Dodi has a de­gree in busi­ness ad­min­is­tra­tion from Vil­lanova. Bobby grad­u­ated from the Pitts­burg In­sti­tute of Mor­tu­ary Sci­ence. As far back as his teens, he found in­ter­est in this pro­fes­sion. Dodi sus­pects the rea­son his in­ter­est was peaked may be due to his Ital­ian her­itage on his mother’s side of the fam­ily. He re­mem­bers dur­ing the fu­neral process, peo­ple came to­gether, hug­ging and lov­ing along with the tears. Then there was the food that ev­ery­one con­trib­uted. It was a cel­e­bra­tion, and any­one who knows Bobby knows he al­ways en­joys a good party.

Dodi, her sis­ter Anne, brother Manny and Dad Manuel make up what is called the DeMutis Group, a driv­ing force in prop­erty de­vel­op­ment in the area. Go­ing back to their grand­fa­ther, Manny DeMutis, they were en­trepreneurs be­fore the word be­came fash­ion­able. To­gether and sep­a­rately, they all are in­vested in the com­mu­nity.

Re­mem­ber the Spec­ta­tor restau­rant where Dodi and Bobby met? Well, it is now the Main­stay un­der the own­er­ship of Dodi’s dad, Manuel. This prop­erty was orig­i­nally de­vel­oped and ex­panded by Betsy DeMutis (Dodi’s mom) be­fore her death.

In­volved in the fu­neral busi­ness for many years, the Strunks will be open­ing R. Strunk Fu­neral Home in Oc­to­ber 2018. The fa­cil­ity is lo­cated on Main Street at Sec­ond Av­enue.

The restora­tion of the Thomas Bryne Man­sion has been a process but well worth the ef­fort and in the ca­pa­ble hands of the com­pany of Raniere & Kerns As­so­ciates.

The man­sion was built in the 1800s, with an ad­di­tion added in 1907. This was com­pleted the same year as St. Ann’s Church only a block away on Third Av­enue. The funds to con­struct the church were do­nated by Thomas F. Bryne in honor of his mother, Ann. Dodi and Bobby feel hon­ored to own and re­store one of Phoenixville’s his­tor­i­cal jew­els.

As the fu­neral di­rec­tor, Bobby over­sees the dayto-day flow of the busi­ness. With the busi­ness ex­pand­ing, Ch­eryl Light, a Phoenixville na­tive, came aboard ini­tially as an ad­min­is­tra­tive as­sis­tance and ful­filled a life­time dream of be­com­ing a fu­neral di­rec­tor. And may I men­tion, Bobby’s mom Vera as­sists as a greeter dur­ing view­ings and fu­ner­als.

About six years ago, Bobby took over cook­ing din­ner for the fam­ily. You know what — Dodi doesn’t seem to mind.

Here’s a party fa­vorite ...


4 ripe av­o­ca­dos

1 Tbsp. of grated red onion

¼ cup of small diced red onion

1 large gar­lic clove minced

1 tsp. of kosher salt

1 tsp. of group pep­per 1 medium tomato, seeded and diced into small pieces Juice of 1 lemon

½ tsp. Frank’s Red Hot hot sauce op­tional

2-4 Tbsp. of sour cream op­tional

Cut avo­cado and re­move pits and chop into smaller pieces. Im­me­di­ately add the re­main­ing in­gre­di­ents ex­cept the sour cream and hot sauce. Use a potato masher to mix in­gre­di­ents well.

If you are serv­ing a large crowd, you can add 2-4 ta­ble­spoons of sour cream to make it go fur­ther.


Bobby and Dodi Strunk

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