A food festival bridges neighborhood gap. (Thinkstock)

Annette John-Hall, in her Philadelphia Inquirer column, writes about business owners who became friendly after working side by side for four days during A Taste of Philadelphia.

It was the quintessential Philadelphia neighborhood story.

Even more delicious than the flavorful meatballs handmade by Gabe Marabella or the chicken and mango salsa served up by Lisa Wilson was the friendship that developed between the two small-business owners, who on paper were supposed to be adversaries.

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The story began during a Welcome America event at Penn's Landing last month. Marabella, the legendary meatball maker, found himself operating a vending stand right next to Wilson, owner of the Jamaican Jerk Hut.

You know the Marabella name. For almost 40 years, his family has owned restaurants here and in Stone Harbor. Marabella Meatball Co. continues the tradition on Walnut Street.

As fate would have it, the two eatery owners wound up working side by side for four days during the Taste of Philadelphia.

Read Annette John-Hall's complete column at the Philadelphia Inquirer.