06 April 2011

So I Had a Friendly Experience at Manganaro's

I was passing by Manganaro's Grosseria Italiano on Ninth Avenue and—despite the possibility that I would be verbally abused—I decided to stop in and order a sandwich. I figured I don't know how long this century-old place is going to be around—there have been stories, and counter stories, about the building being sold and the business shuttered in recent weeks. So I had better suck it up and experience the place while I could.

The store's about a mile long. It goes back, back, back, past a lot of counters and shelving and artifacts to the lunch room. This means there's no turning back if you go in for a bite, no easy out. So if you're worried about being chewed out by the owner (it happens), forget about making a graceful exit.

I went back. The owner was sitting at one of the tables, chatting with three friends. I did not ask for service, or clear my throat or anything, afraid I would offend and set her off. Besides, I was happy biding my time looking at all the pictures on the wall. Finally, she said, with a smile and a friendly tone, if I wanted something. I said, yes, indeed, I'd like the Manganaro's Special sandwich. She set about making it with care, laying on the various Italian meats and cheeses, vinegar, oil, and vegetables on a half loaf of fresh Italian bread.

She asked if I wanted something to drink. Again, I didn't wish to ignite her anger, so I ordered a soda I didn't want. I'm pretty sure she overcharged me. The sandwich was $10 and my bill was $13. Of course, this is New York. The soda could have been $3. I doubt it, though. But she included a cookie for free, so I didn't mind. And she was perfectly sociable the entire time. I couldn't believe it.

Plus, the sandwich was delicious.

7 comments:

Ken Mac said...

pleasant. When I've been there, she always animated, but never downright crazy. Though once she got very upset cause my girlfriend wasn't eating. And the place was empty. Whatever, I will miss her and Manganaros. We need more of her in this town.

Anonymous said...

A sandwich and a soda is $13. She charges me the same thing every time I go in there. You did not get over-charged. It is more expensive than Boars Head or Subway, but worth every penny.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

So a soda costs three dollars there? Because the sandwich is $9.99. I'll be sure not to order a soda next time.

Jeremiah Moss said...

i have never had an unpleasant experience there--but always wonderful and sociable. if you approach them the right way, as you did, being respectful and not acting entitled, then there's no problem. generally.

byron said...

I was out interviewing for jobs when i popped in here to enjoy the old school charms of this gem and to take my mind of the humiliation of begging for work way below my pay scale and experience when the owner gave me a jaw dropping, tear inducing barrage of insults that included "i could work i'm just lazy", "i'm whats wrong with this country", and "dont come back till you have money." I kid you not. Dont remember how the subject came up but I know this b##ch is the most evil person I've ever met in 22 years in New York and I wish nothing but misery for her...

Brooks of Sheffield said...

It appears the mirror has two faces.

fifilaru said...

I commented about this place before. My father lived in the area when I was a kid. About 35 years ago, I would go to Manganaro's with him, but only when Hero Boy was crazy busy. It was always an odd experience. A bit of crazy, some menace, and the food was pretty good. I liked that it looked like it hadnʻt changed in the last 60 years. My dad did not like it much. He is an old school New York Italian artist, not some poor unknowing tourist. He thought the lady who ran the place was nuts. Considering my father is a nutso, gruff New Yorker, that is saying a lot!