JOHN F. McKENNA was born in Gloucester City NJ. A fine ball player as a youth, he attracted the attention of Philadelphia Athletics star first baseman Stuffy McInnis, who got him a post as a pitcher on a semi-pro team at Old Orchard ME. After World War I, John McKenna was living in New York, supporting himself in a variety of jobs, including selling sheet music, and as an usher at the New Amsterdam Theater. During this time he met the great American humorist Will Rogers, and he soon was working for him, traveling the country and spending some time with Rogers in Hollywood, before returning to the East Coast.

John F. McKenna had opened up his first McKenna's Cafe in Camden at 319 Federal Street by 1931, and he was listed at that address in the 1940 Camden City Directory. In 1939 he received a liquor license for 650 Clinton Street, and he moved his operation there. This is where he made his home, with his wife Catherine. McKenna's Cafe operated at Clinton through at least 1947.

John F. McKenna should not be confused with John McKenna, an Irish immigrant who operated McKenna's Tavern at 640 Pine Street from around the time of World War I through at least 1931.

Camden Courier-Post - January 15, 1938


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McKenna's Cafe
650 Clinton Street

October 21, 2003

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