Constructed in 1905, the "Big House" that is now Casona
has a rich history of families who lived and worked
here prior to the current reinvention of this remarkable space.
The first resident on record was in 1909, widow Elizabeth Hendrickson. In 1912, for the buying price of $1,800, inspector Matthew Neil became the proud owner. By 1914, the house was also home to Matthew's father, wife and son. In 1920, the home underwent it's first transformation, becoming the business office for several medical professionals, the first being Dr. Horace S. Woolston, a dentist.
Casona served as residence for the the doctor's family and was one of the first homes to have a telephone, a Bell 242J, an innovative feature which may have appeared thanks to the doctor's son, Stephen, who was a telegraph operator.
From 1931 to 1945, Dr. Harold Eynon practiced and lived in Casona, along with his wife, Sara. Dr. Alex Storer, one of the borough's most prominent physicians, practiced in the space from 1947 through the 1980s. The chain of family physicians' offices ended in February 2004, when Christopher Johnson sold the property to it's current owners.
Thus began the massive transformation of 563 Haddon Avenue. Originally a 2 1/2 story builder's version of a Colonial Revival home, Casona was constructed on a 60 x 150 foot lot and featured a wrap-around porch. At the prompting of Michele Infantado, the porch was resurrected according to its historical dimensions. The original windows and wood siding were wonderfully preserved and the interior was gutted to its original mahoghany studs. The porch roof features a standing-seam metal roof, common to many Collingswood homes in the 1900s.
But the new owners had more in mind than a restoration...
Casona, the little Havana in the heart of Collingswood, opened on April 8, 2006. Featuring a menu ranging from traditional Cuban fare to Nouveau Latin cuisine, Casona is the home to truly innovative dishes such as mouth-watering vegetarian versions of traditional Cuban favorites as well as an in-house coffee bar and panaderia. Our Executive Chef, Pedro Reyes, has created a tantalizing menu that is sure to satisfy even the most discerning of Latin palates.
Pedro Reyes was born in Monterrey, Mexico. His passion for food began as a child watching his parents cook authentic Mexican dishes. It was then that he learned the basics to working his way around the kitchen. At 19 years old, Pedro and his family moved to America in search of better opportunities. It was then he met and married his wife, starting a family of his own. Pedro’s first job in the United States was at Tierra Colombiana & Mixto in Philadelphia with Executive Chef Carmello Petit who guided Pedro to mastering the skill of Cuban/Latin cuisine. Finally in 2008 he was brought over to Casona from Mixto to work behind Executive Chef Carmello Petit. Petit left Casona in 2009 to pursue his own restaurant in Florida and Pedro working his way up through the ranks was promoted to Executive Chef
Now as Executive Chef Pedro takes our Cuban/Latin cuisine to a whole new level. His inspiration comes from providing a better life for his wife and daughter and his love extends through his dishes.
Collingwood is a dry town. Casona is a BYOB.