Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mack & Mancos to Manco & Mancos

The Arab revolution had spread, the leader of Korea had died and the economy tanked, but the big story story of the year broke on Twitter, carried over the Ocean City Patch, was primed for a big feature in the Inky, was scooped by the Press and picked up by the TV news - the venerable Mack & Manco Pizza of Ocean City, New Jersey boardwalk fame was changing their name - to Manco & Manco.

It could be the story of the year, and everyone wanted to know why? Why mess with something that's Sooo good, and Sooo successful and Sooo well known?

Not even the Inky could answer that one, other than the fact the break up of the two major boardwalk families was amiable, and they just decided to go their own ways.

To really understand you have to go back to the beginning. Before it was even called pizza. Back to Trenton, where Anthony Macrone, the Godfather of the family, began selling Trenton Tomato Pies at his restaurant near the Trenton State Fairgrounds in the early 1950s.

Even though they may look the same to the observer, a Trenton Tomato Pie is different than a pizza in that it is made with a thin and crispy dough crust with the cheeze layered first and the tomato sauce added on top, and after baking at high temperature for ten to twelve minutes, is best eaten fresh and hot.

The first Trenton Tomato Pie has been traced back to 1910 when they were first served at Joe's in the Italian neighborhood of Chambersburg, and made popular by Papas and DeLorenzos and other places run by Italians from the Naples area of Italy.

Although a staple in Trenton, the Tomato Pie didn't make its debute at the Jersey Shore until the early 1950s when a store opened in Seaside, and a new market for the product opened up.

Then one day in 1952 Mr. Anthony Macrone and his son Dominick aka "Duke," took a drive down Route 9, visited Wildwood and decided that the boardwalk at that seasonal resort might be a good place to open a restaurant featuring their Tomato Pies. It rained the first Memorial Day weekend the first Mack's opened and they only sold eight pies.

Although they did include some other items on the menu, a local judge who was a steady customer recommended they cut back on everything but the Tomato Pie, and it really took off. Although others tried to duplicate their product and business, and dozens of other pizza parlors have opened on the boardwalk, Mack's had loyal customers who kept coming back and they expanded, eventually having four shops on the Wildwood boardwalk.

Mr. Anthony Macrone's cousin, Vincent Manco, was interested in getting into the business, so in 1956 they opened the first Mack & Mancos on the Ocean City boardwalk at 8th Street, leasing the storefront from Mr. Charles Schilling, whose wife Helen (nee Shriver), of Shriver's candy fame, also owned the boardwalk movie theaters and two blocks of retail stores they leased out to other businesses.

Before long they also opened a second Mack & Manco Pizza shop between 9th and 10th Streets.

When Mr. Manco passed away, Mr. Mack brought his son Vincent Mack to Ocean City from Wildwood, and kept the business going along with Mr. Manco's son Frank and his wife Kay. Mr. Manco's wife Mary was also a part of the business.

That's when I worked for them, from 1968-1980, every summer through high school and college and a few years thereafter, learning good business sense from Mr. Mack, a very smart and honorable man.

While Duke and the rest of the family ran the stores in Wildwood, Mr. Mack and his son Vince and Kay and Frank Manco ran the two Ocean City stores for many years that stretched into decades. Eventually Mr. Mack got old and when he passed away, they kept everything running the same, except Duke would come in every once in awhile to check on things.

Duke had bigger ambitions though, and as the numbers of Atlantic City casinos increased, he decided to open a business on the Atlantic City boardwalk, but it wasn't just a pizza shop, it was also a bar and restaurant - Duke Mack's. It became one of the most popular places in Atlantic City for many years.

Eventually Vince Mack left Ocean City and moved to Atlantic City where he worked making pizza for awhile and then retired, enjoying life as a man about the boardwalk before he too passed away.

Duke Mack & his wife and Frank & Kay Manco. (Photo: Ralph Grassi)

Duke Mack & Vincent Mack back when a slice of pizza was 20 cents. (photo: Ralph Grassi)

Duke Mack - took Mack's Pizza in Wildwood to Atlantic City (Photo: Ralph Grassi)

By the time the third and fourth generation of Macks were working the Wildwood boardwalk shops, Ocean City's business expanded to a third boardwalk location at 12th street, and a few years later they opened a take-out business at a Somers Point shopping center.

With all of the Macks out of the Ocean City business, a new generation of Mancos took over the day to day operations of all of the stores, while a new generation of Macks took over the Wildwood boardwalk shops. So it just made sense to severe their business ties, especially their moniker.

In addition, the expanding Mack family of Wildwood branched out and under their original Macarone name, opened a seasonal shop in Stone Harbor. Another Wildwood Mack, Joey, opened Mack's Boardwalk Pizza ship in South Philly.

Back in Seaside, where the first Trenton Tomato Pie store was opened at the shore, the Maruca family that owned that shop decided to franchise out their name and business, and now have a half dozen franchises going in South Jersey, mainly away from the shore.

So the bottom line, the attrition of original partners, the take-over of the business by a new generation and desire to define their ownership and territory led to change in the name of Ocean City's Mack & Manco to Manco & Manco.

Here's the articles including Ocean City Packet and Inky.

Divvying Up the Pie: Mack Splits from Manco
The famous Ocean City pizzeria becomes Manco & Manco.
By Cindy Nevitt
Email the author
December 17, 2011

After 55 years, Ocean City's most iconic pizzeria has a new recipe: no Mack and more Manco. Posters with the new Manco & Manco name started appearing in the year-round Mack & Manco store at 920 Boardwalk in late October, and phone calls to the store have been answered, "Manco and Manco." An electronic sign on the facade of the Somers Point store now reads "Manco & Manco Pizza Too."

Chuck Bangle, Mack & Manco co-owner and son-in-law of owners Frank and Kay Manco, has declined to comment to Ocean City Patch on the name change since the new name started to appear. On Friday, he said he would first share information on the change only for a Sunday feature in a "major newspaper," which he declined to name. (Update on Sunday, Dec. 18: Inquirer reports on name change.)

"Mack and Manco's is now Manco & Manco Pizza!" has been posted on the pizzeria's website with various launch dates given for

While ownership declined to speak about the name change, others talked freely about the switch.

The planned name change—and unconfirmed dissolution of the Mack and Manco partnership—has been a badly kept secret since summer with customers and neighboring merchants openly discussing the news.

There are few things in Ocean City as legendary as Mack & Manco. Although the Boardwalk is home to 18 pizzerias, the lines are always longest in front of Mack & Manco's three stores. Mack & Manco assembles its pies differently than most, spreading a layer of shredded cheese atop the thin crust before topping with a swirl of tomato sauce.

Name recognition is key in business. For someone starting out, a name that provides instant recognition is extremely valuable. For someone in business more than half a century, changing names—in most situations—would be unthinkable.

"Because we're talking about Mack and Manco, I don't think it's going to affect their business, not one iota," said Doug Wing, owner of Ready's Coffee Shop on Eighth Street. "I don't think it'll hurt them, a name change as little as that. The new name is very close to the old name."

Five years ago, Wing became the fourth owner of Ready's in its 48-year history. A name change for his restaurant, he said, would be a mistake. "If I changed the name here," he said, illustrating his point by turning his thumb in a downward direction, "it would be death."

Mack & Manco's storied history began in 1956, when founders Anthony Mack and Vincent Manco came to Ocean City from Trenton and opened the original Mack & Manco at 920 Boardwalk. A few years later, they added the store at 758 Boardwalk. Mack's sons Dominic, Vince and Joseph expanded their business to the Wildwood and Atlantic City boardwalks, while Manco's son Frank remained in Ocean City. Frank, with his wife Kay, opened the third store at 12th and the Boardwalk in the 1980s.

Saturday, December 17, 2011
By ROB SPAHR Staff Writer |

OCEAN CITY — The fa├žade outside of Mack & Manco Pizza on the Boardwalk was unchanged Saturday. But from the shop’s website and the way its staff answered the phone, the well-known pizzeria is apparently about to undergo a major change.

“Manco & Manco, pick up or delivery?” the voice answered.

And the neon sign above the pizzeria’s Somers Point location confirmed that “Mack” had been replaced with another “Manco.”

“There’s no Mack? What happened to Mack? We want to know where Mack went!” said a shocked Dottie Drake, 60, of Seaville, before taking her young granddaughters into the store at 920 Boardwalk. “That’s their favorite pizza place.”

But when reached by phone Saturday, Chuck Bangle — Mack & Manco co-owner and son-in-law of owners Frank and Kay Manco — said that he would not comment until after 10 a.m. on Monday morning.

In 1956, Frank Manco's late father, Vincent Manco, and the late Anthony Mack came from Trenton to open the first Mack & Manco Pizza store on the Boardwalk in Ocean City.

The pair opened a second Ocean City location a few years later, and a third location was opened on the Boardwalk in the late 1980's. The Mack family also operated other pizzerias, including Mack's Pizza in Wildwood, over the years.

And the shop’s website offered little additional explanation, because it had been replaced with a white screen and green text reading “Coming Soon” and a link to an under-construction website for Manco & Manco Pizza.

“Mack and Manco’s is now Manco & Manco Pizza!” the one-page website read before continuing lower on the page. “Mack and Manco’s menu may have changed over the years, but one thing has never changed at Manco & Manco’s — their dedication to providing their customers with the freshest, hottest, crispiest and tastiest pizza possible. An Ocean City tradition you can always count on.”

Meanwhile Manco & Manco Pizza started new Facebook and Twitter accounts on Nov. 7.

“I’m shocked,” Linwood resident Angie Waters, 37, said while walking on the Boardwalk with her three children. “I’ve been coming here my whole life, but this is the first I’m hearing about it.”

“I like the old name better,” said Jackson Waters, 8. “But as long as the pizza still tastes the same, I’m OK with it.”

Ocean City Linda Musial takes her grandsons to the pizzeria about once a week and said she did not expect that tradition to change.

“They can change their name to whatever they want,” she said. “But I think people are still going to call it “Mack and Manco.’“

NBC TV - 40

Jersey Shore Pizza Institution Drops the 'Mack'
Known as Mack & Manco Pizza since 1956, the pizza shop now has a new name

Salt water taffy, beach tags, boardwalk fries and Mack & Manco Pizza. They’re all items synonymous with summers at the Jersey Shore, but one is about to change.

The famous pizza joint, opened by Trenton’s Vincent Manco and Anthony Mack on the Boardwalk in Ocean City back in 1956, is losing one of its namesakes. According to the shop’swebsite (which is now 80 percent complete) and based on the way they now answer the phone, it’s about to be known as “Manco & Manco Pizza.”

The name change will reportedly take effect at all of their locations beginning Jan. 1.
“Mack and Manco’s is now Manco & Manco Pizza!” reads the website. “Mack and Manco’s menu may have changed over the years, but one thing has never changed at Manco & Manco’s -- their dedication to providing their customers with the freshest, hottest, crispiest and tastiest pizza possible. An Ocean City tradition you can always count on.”

They started new social media accounts back on Nov. 7, though neither the Facebook nor Twitterfeeds have been active since then.

The Mack family, which owns pizza joints in Wildwood ended their 55-year partnership with the Manco family in June.

"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. There's nothing else to say about it," co-owner Chuck Bangle told the Philadelphia Inquirer Sunday.

"There's no animosity, it was a mutual and amicable decision," Bangle told NBC Philadelphia.

One of the owners of Mack's didn't go on camera but would say that it was just time for the families to go their separate ways.

And anyone worried that the pizza could lose its famous taste shouldn't fret.
"The product will be the same and I guarantee you everything will be the consistently the same as it's always been for the last 55 years," Manco & Manco manager Tony Polcini said.

Ocean City pizza icon slices up its name

OCEAN CITY, N.J. - They've been taking three simple ingredients - tomato sauce, cheese, and dough - and crafting them into edible memories for so long here that the name Mack & Manco is as iconic on this beach resort's boardwalk as its Ferris wheel and salt water taffy.

So inherent in local culture is this throwback pizza parlor - actually there are now three boardwalk locations and one across the bridge on the mainland in Somers Point - that followers of the crispy tomato pies will tell you they seek a "Mack & Manco's" rather than a simple slice of pizza when headed for the boardwalk.

So when the name "Mack" is officially dropped Jan. 1 from a moniker that has been around since 1956 and the place is called simply Manco & Manco, jaws are likely to drop.

The reasons for the impending change, after all these years, are shrouded in mystery, like the secret recipes for the pies.

"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. There's nothing else to say about it," said Chuck Bangle, who says he co-owns the institution with his wife, Mary, and her parents, Frank and Kay Manco.

He declined to say whether the split was amicable, but took his lawyer's help in writing a brief news release announcing the change.

"We know that when people really start to notice the change, they are going to be worried," Bangle said. "But they shouldn't be, because nothing else is changing and our customers have no need to be concerned."

He insists that the restaurants will be retained by the same ownership and management and that all the recipes and procedures that have gone into turning a brief list of ingredients into a boardwalk food staple aren't going to change.

"We have customers who tell us that the moment they get to town, without even unpacking their bags, the first thing they do is come here for a slice," Bangle said. "And they've been doing it for generations. We would never mess with that recipe. It's like a bond we have with our customers."

After running a successful pizza operation in Trenton, Frank Manco's father, Vincent Manco, came to the resort 55 years ago to open his first boardwalk pizza parlor with his cousin Anthony Mackrone.

Mackrone, who eventually shortened his name and came to be known as "Tony Mack," had already been operating Mack's Pizza on the Wildwood boardwalk for several years when Mack & Manco formed.

It was a partnership made in pizza heaven, at least for a while.

Almost instantly crowds of vacationers were lining up to watch the "pie man" flip the dough into the air and buy hot, delicious slices for 15 cents.

Then, for reasons that seem to be lost in the mists of antiquity, the Macks and the Mancos went their separate ways, and the Manco family continued to operate the popular Ocean City locations using the Mack & Manco name.

The Macks expanded their operations to two spots in Wildwood, continuing to simply call theirs Mack's Pizza.

Ralph Grassi, 47, of Wildwood Crest, a local historian and longtime friend of the Mack family, said the name change was an "official separation of both parties."

"The Mack family basically wanted the Mack name to remain theirs and no longer be associated with the Manco name," said Grassi, a former Mack's Pizza employee who now works for the Borough of Wildwood Crest and said he was asked to speak on behalf of the Mack family.

Grassi would not comment on the details of any legal or financial settlement, but indicated that Mack's Pizza would remove any reference to Mack & Manco on its pizza boxes and employee uniforms in the agreement. He did say it was an "amicable and mutually agreed-upon decision."

Joanne Moloney, whose family now operates Mackrone Original Mack's Pizza in Stone Harbor, said that her family's enterprise was not involved in the Mack-vs.-Manco situation and that she had no comment on the matter.

Fearing that too much of the wrong type of publicity about the change could hurt his pizza parlor's storied reputation, Bangle, a no-nonsense kind of guy who handles his company's day-to-day operations, admits he has been trying to keep the name change sotto voce.

But by Jan. 1, nothing in the Ocean City and Somers Point locations of the business can bear the name "Mack," including signage, paper cups, pizza boxes, employee uniforms, advertising, or anything else associated with the enterprise.

Employees have already started answering the phone "Manco & Manco," and most of the exterior signs on the locations have been changed.

Among the things that won't change are the employees, the "true secret ingredient," Bangle says.

"These people are the heart and soul of what we do," said Bangle, who manages about 150 employees during the summer and about 30 during the winter. Many of the year-round workers are longtimers who've been with the company more than 20 years.

Tony Polcini, 41, who has worked for the Mancos for nearly 25 years and is now a manager, says he never thought of getting another job, because Bangle and the Mancos are "like family to me."

Nowadays, slices cost $2.25 (whole pies are $17), but a lot of things are still done the old-fashioned way.

They don't use pizza cutters to form those mud-flap-sized slices, only clam knives, which help the servers get a more accurate cut, said Tom Rossi, 31, of Seaville, who has worked at Manco's at its Ninth Street location for 17 years.

Rossi said the parlor had always had a strict hierarchy:

The pie man, seen from the boardwalk, takes center stage behind the counter to flip and twirl the dough into perfect, thin, 18-inch rounds.

The "sinker," usually a veteran crew member, sauces and cheeses the pie.

The "stretcher" has the all-important job of working the oven - a position taken very seriously at Manco's, where customers often look for a "bubble crust," the thinnest spots in the dough that have blossomed into crispy yet gooey crunching perfection.

And when customers place their orders, it is customary for the wait staff not to write any of it down.

"My mother-in-law, who's 72, will sometimes stand in the middle of the place when it's packed in the summer and shake her head and say, 'It's just pizza and soda. . . . They come back again and again just for pizza and soda,' " Bangle said. "A lot of people, including her, have tried to figure out why that is, what's the mystique of it all."

The decidedly low-tech scene at each Manco's boardwalk location - white walls, laminate-covered countertops, green vinyl-covered counter stools, simple wood tables and chairs - has been the site of plenty of engagements, weddings, and wakes over the years.

"I think the appeal of the place is that it never changes," said Toniann Christou, 55, of Newtown, Bucks County, who owns a summer home in Ocean City and has been a customer for 21 years.

"The pizza is always delicious, always the same," said Christou, on a trip for some boardwalk Christmas shopping. "You eat it all summer and dream about it all winter."

The Story of Pizza – Bill Kelly Ocean City SandPaper, 1994

In Trenton in 1956 pizza, as we know it, was known as "tomato pie", but when Anthony Mack and Vincent Manco came to Ocean City from Trenton that year they just called it pizza. Mack and Manco's opened their first pizza parlor at 918 Boardwalk in the summer of 1956. A few years later they opened another store at 7th Street and the Boardwalk.

Mr. Mack had three sons-Dominic, Vince and Joseph -and they expanded their business to the Wildwood and Atlantic City boardwalks. Vincent Manco's son Frank and his wife Kay continued to operate the original Ocean City locations, and opened a third store at 12th Street in the late '80's. Although it seems there is a pizza parlor on every corner in Ocean City today with new ones opening every season, Mack & Manco's is never afraid of the competition and attributes the endurance of Mack & Manco's to their consistency. "It's our consistency that makes the clock turn," says Kay Manco, "and our survival stems from our loyal customers who come back year after year." With Kay and Frank's daughter Mary, a third generation is continuing the business in the same tradition.

One of Mack and Manco's traditions is making the pizza fresh in front of the customers, with the pie maker putting on an entertaining show for the customers, twirling the pizza dough in the air to stretch it. "We have been very fortunate to have such good employees," Kay adds.

Mack and Manco's have expanded their menu since 1956 when plain pizza and soda were the only things on the menu. Besides the traditional thin and crispy cheese and tomato sauce pizza, we now provide a variety of new offerings, like Venetian pizza with whole sliced Jersey tomatoes and a number of other toppings such as broccoli and spinach along with the old favorites like pepperoni and sausage. Our menu may have changed over the years, but one thing has never changed at Mack and Manco's-their dedication to providing their customers with the freshest, hottest, crispiest and tastiest pizza possible. An Ocean City tradition you can always count on.

Ralph Grassi, local Wildwood historian wrote the history of Mack’s Pizza on the Wildwood Boadwalk, and wrote:

Please visit Ralph Grassi's site which includes the history of Macks Pizza in Wildwood and has posted a lot of old, neat photos, some of which I have used here. Thanks Ralph.

The Mack Pie dates back nearly sixty years to a time when Anthony and Lena Macaroni operated a restaurant located near the old fairgrounds on Nottingham Way in Trenton, New Jersey. It was there that the Mack's Tomato Pie was born. Years later the family opened a pizza shop in Seaside Heights on the Jersey shore but it wasn't until 1953 that this famous pie hit the Wildwood Boardwalk.

One day in 1952 Anthony took his son Dominic (better known as Duke) on a road trip. They hopped in the car and headed out on a journey that eventually ended on a little barrier island at the southern tip of New Jersey called The Wildwoods. Anthony and his wife Lena had previously scouted the Wildwood location and fell in love with it, however to Duke it seemed to be at the end of the earth. Fortunately the family did choose the Wildwood Boardwalk for a new store and the following year Anthony and Lena along with their three sons Joseph, Vincent and Duke opened up shop at Wildwood Avenue on Memorial Day weekend - As always ( some say it is a tradition)it rained for three days and only 8 pies were sold, but things turned around quickly. The Wildwood business did so well that within a few years Anthony and his son Vincent opened a pizza shop on the Ocean City Boardwalk (N.J.) along with cousin Vince Manco and created the first Mack and Manco's.

Originally, the Mack's baked their pies in a conventional range, but later used industrial ovens such as Bakers Pride and Blodgett. In 1966 a new innovation in pizza cooking was introduced to the industry called the Roto-Flex Oven. This bakery oven features four rotating decks allowing more than 20 pies to be cooked at the same time and in 1971 Mack's decided to give them a try. This new process of baking pizza took some time to get used to, but with a little tweaking and the proper adjustments they got the ovens working perfectly. ( To sit at the counter and not only watch your pie being made, but to actually watch it rotate and cook through the glass oven doors has always been a real treat.) Eventually they purchased a total of eight ovens for the Seaside, Ocean City and Wildwood stores.

The Mack family has always had a unique style of making pizza and people took notice. Customers and other restaurant owners would watch with great curiosity as the cheese would be applied first (!)followed by the sauce. This was a rather unorthodox way of doing things in the pizza making trade.

Another unique innovation that Mack's created was the "Pump".(Anyone that has sat at Mack's counter knows about the pump.)Their delicious sauce is pumped through a clear hose that comes up through the floor from the basement and to the pizza bench.(What lays beneath in the underground "Pizza Lair"? Just another part of the mystique of Mack's Pizza.)

In the early years Mack's offered an 18 inch pie for $2.14. Before the idea of the pizza box came along Mack's wrapped the "pies to go" in white paper. (And how many remember when a slice was served on a napkin? - I sure do.) You could get a cut for 29 cents and for an extra 15 you could get an icy cold beverage to go with it. (I really like saying "icy cold beverage"...)

At that time Mack's served "Juicy Orange" which quickly became a favorite, but as the years passed another product would become associated with the pie - Pennsylvania Dutch Birch Beer.(Any diehard Mack's fan will tell you their drink of choice is Pennsylvania Dutch Birch Beer.) This combination has become a tradition at Mack's and for many years the soda was served directly from the tap of a big Birch Beer barrel out front of the store.

Now, in 2011, Tony Mack’s great grandchildren are following in their parents footsteps as they work their way through college tossing the original Mack’s Famous Pizza! Come and visit Mike, Laura, Nicole, Kevin, Stephen, Sarah and David as they continue their Mack’s Pizza legacy!


of Atlantic City, died Wednesday at Ocean Point Health Center. Born in Trenton, he lived in Trenton-Yardley, PA area most of his life and resided in Atlantic City for the past 20 years. Mr. Mack worked for many years in Product Development for Mack’s Pizza in Seaside and Duke Mack’s in Atlantic City.

Son of the late Anthony and Lena Maruca Mack, he is survived by his brothers, Dominick “Duke” Mack and his companion Pat Byrne of Atlantic City, Joseph and his companion, Sharon Manes of Stone Harbor, several relatives form the Maruca family, nephews and nieces, Ronald Mack, darryl Mack and his wife Mary, Robert, Robyn, JoAnn and Donna Maloney, Maryanne Ziccardi and her husband, Michael; two great nephews, Nicholas Ziccardi and Eonin Mack; a great niece, Brittany Ziccardi; extended family, Frank and Kay Manco, Joseph Auletta and Neil Cirucci and many cousins.


passed away at his home surrounded by his family on Friday, September 18th. Duke was a unique individual; one of a kind, a lover of life and fun, but at the same time a serious businessman and a warm and loving person devoted to family and friends. After operating a restaurant in Trenton NJ on Nottingham Way (near the Trenton Fairgrounds), Duke, along with his father Anthony, took a drive to Wildwood NJ and that's where the first Mack's Pizza was born. They were the original founders of Mack's Pizza in Wildwood, NJ, as well as being the "Mack" in Mack and Manco's Pizza in Ocean City, NJ.

Duke's other businesses included a nightclub/restaurant named after him in AC, Duke Mack's, Hamilton Bowling Lanes in Hamilton Township, NJ and Pennsylvania Dutch Birch Beer.

Duke was a huge NY Yankee supporter and a fan of Joe DiMaggio "the greatest Yankee of them all." Duke had a great sense of humor and was a constant source of strength for his family and friends. Under his tough exterior, he had a heart of gold.

Predeceased by his brother, Vince Mack and his first wife, Charlotte; Duke is survived by his wife Pat, two sons and a daughter-in-law, Ronald Mack and Darryl and Mary Mack; grandchildren, Eoin and Laura; Pat's daughter, Maryanne, who Duke loved and thought of as his own, her husband Michael and grandchildren, Brittany and Nicky Ziccardi. Duke is also survived by his loving brother and sister-in-law, Joseph and Sharon Mack; and his sister Catherine Moloney.

Published in Philadelphia Inquirer & Philadelphia Daily News on September 21, 2009

Macks of Stone Harbor

Pizza for the Mack family is a way of life. When Anthony Mackrone, “Tony Mack”, took his Trenton, New Jersey tomato pie to the Wildwood boardwalk in 1953, he took his wife Lena and four children, Duke, Joe, Kitty and Vincent with him. From Nottingham Way to Wildwood Avenue, Tony Mack moved a product from quiet success in Trenton to an overnight sensation on the Jersey Shore. In 1956, he provided an opportunity to his cousin, Frank Manco to join him in Ocean City and Mack-Manco Pizza was born.

Six grandchildren followed Tony into the business. The pictures displayed here depict just how those grandchildren learned to spin pizza at the same time they started to walk, entered the Wildwood Baby Parades in pizza themed floats, poured birch beers from the barrel off the front counter and stood by their "Uncle Joe Mack" as he taught them how to work the peel boards.

No wonder all six of them still love the business and love the product. Most put themselves through college working in Wildwood. For Bob Moloney, Tony’s second oldest grandson, the passion drove him to open another store in Stone Harbor New Jersey in 1987. After graduating from Trenton State College with his Master’s Degree in Education, he moved his career to Cape May Court House and in honor of the man who started it all, Bob named the new store “Mackrone’s Pizza…the original Mack’s Pizza” right in Stone Harbor, New Jersey. Now, in the quaint town of Stone Harbor, directly between his grandfather’s first businesses in Wildwood and Ocean City, Bob continues to toss that pizza to the enjoyment of the lines of customers who wait patiently for the school year to end so Bob can open his doors.

This Mack’s Pizza of Stone Harbor has developed specialty pizzas named after Wildwood Boardwalk landmarks and memories. From the “Tram Car” (a meat lover’s pizza) named for that annoying but ever present tram screaming “watch the tram car please” as the Mack kids tossed and sold that pizza over the front counter….to the “Golden Nugget” (white pizza with fresh tomatoes, mushrooms and extra cheese) named for the roller coaster ride that preceded the metal skyscraping nightmares that now line the boardwalk the “Wildwood” (a classic pepperoni, mushroom and extra cheese) named for the classic town itself.

The Mack Pie dates back nearly sixty years to a time when Anthony and Lena Macaroni operated a restaurant located near the old fairgrounds on Nottingham Way in Trenton, New Jersey. It was there that the Mack's Tomato Pie was born. Years later the family opened a pizza shop in Seaside Heights on the Jersey shore but it wasn't until 1953 that this famous pie hit the Wildwood Boardwalk.