Monday, December 19, 2011

"Mack" splits from "Manco" in Ocean City

Yet further proof that nothing stays the same forever...

Over the weekend, the Press of Atlantic City broke the news that the famed Mack 'n Manco's pizza shops in Ocean City will officially become "Manco & Manco Pizza," effective January 1st.

The change is being reflected on the institution's official website (which remains under construction), and workers answering the phone at the 9th & Boardwalk location are already using the new name.

The reason for the split from the Mack family remains unclear, but is a matter of much local curiosity. It has been explained as a private matter.

"It's just two separate entities that decided among themselves that one would take back their name and we would all go our separate ways," Manco & Manco co-owner Chuck Bangle told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "There's nothing else to say about it."

The name change will affect all three of the locations on the Ocean City Boardwalk. No change will be made to the two Mack's Pizza restaurants in Wildwood.

Mack's Pizza has been an institution in Wildwood since 1953, when Anthony Mack, his wife Lena, and three sons, Joseph, Vincent, and Duke, opened their original (and still operating!) location on the Boardwalk at Wildwood Avenue.

"Tony" and Lena had previously operated a restaurant in Trenton, where Mack's Tomato Pie was born. They would go on to open three additional locations on the Wildwood Boardwalk. Today, one other remains in operation, at Roberts Avenue.

(For the most complete history of Mack's Pizza in Wildwood, check out this fascinating retrospective written by Ralph Grassi at Ralph, the true afficianato of all things "Mack's," has an entire section devoted to the iconic pizzerias, with tons of photos, video, and more!)

Mack & Manco's was born on the Ocean City Boardwalk three years later, in 1956, when Tony and his cousin, Vincent Manco, went into businesses together.

More than a half-century later (55 years, to be exact), the Mack's name is being removed from the Ocean City locations. While we have no doubt that the traditions of integrity and quality at both the Wildwood and Ocean City shops will remain the same for years to come, it is still a somewhat bittersweet occurance for longtime fans of these true Jersey Shore institutions.

For more, check out our friends at the Wildwood Pizza Tour and their take on the news.

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