Calling All Shoobees Part 1

Mack & Manco has the best boardwalk pizza. And Michael Nutter will be Mayor. And the sky is blue. This week's cool, sunny, cusp-of-summer trip to the Shore reminded us what we've been missing since September: boardwalk food. Kohr Brothers soft-serve spirals. Fudge Kitchen's intensely sweet and creamy vanilla fudge. Thickets of jagged french fries doused with so much malt vinegar, the soaked bottom of the paper fry cup threatens to give out like a game of Kerplunk. And of course, Mack & Manco. This week, only their 9th Street location was open, with the 12th and 7th Street pizzerias up by next weekend. 9th Street stays open all year round for the Ocean City locals, and they were crowded into the fragrant white laminate wonderland sporting the finest in flip-flops and OCBP hoodies. At Mack & Manco, the plates are paper and the communal menu hanging on the wall like a crucifix is the carnival type where black plastic letters slide in and out on rivets. But the pizza--oh, man, the pizza--is heaven. Normally, we can only do three slices of most pies. At Mack & Manco, five is a given, because the floury crust is so impossibly thin it's like eating a delicious cracker instead of heavy slice. Turnover is high, so the all-male staff in white polos and aprons are constantly making fresh pies. The counter's metal stools covered in cracked green vinyl counter offer views of the pizzaiolas. They spin dough, pipe sweet tomato sauce (some say there's olive juice in it) from a spitting hose, sprinkle shredded mozzarella and (some say) white cheddar liberally from big gray buspans, and slide pies in and out the gaping mouth of a stacked stainless steel oven in a well-orchestrated pizza-making ballet. Pies emerge with a blistered crust. The bubbling yellow cheese mingles with the blood-red sauce like a topographical map of Mars. Pies get sliced with a paring knife, and flopped in front of you with a no-frills, no-nonsense alacrity. White pies are excellent as well, topped with copped broccoli that gets stuck in your teeth, and Pennsylvania Dutch Birch Beer from the fountain is the only appropriate beverage for this boardwalk favorite.

Photo: Blogalicious


Anonymous said...

thank god memorial day weekend is here... your post made me realize what i have been missing all winter

Anonymous said...

Mack & Manco's is definitely the best. I love watching the infamous sauce hose spew out that great sauce: it's so wrong, but so right. Having lived there, Primo may offer a reasonable alternative if you won't deal with the crowd. Lastly, if you want to avoid the boardwalk altogether, Piccini at 12th & West Ave. does a decent brickoven pizza.