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Written by Ralph Grassi
 
For decades people have debated who makes the best pizza on the Wildwood Boardwalk and personally, I sold my soul to Mack's a long time ago. I am Italian and extremely passionate about food and in my mind if you could take a bite out of Wildwood it would taste like Mack's Pizza.

The Mack Pie dates back more than 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.

The photo above was taken in the 50's and shows a young Duke Mack (center) along with brother Vince to the right.
 
The desire for Mack's pizza was overwhelming and before long the family had four stores on the Wildwood Boardwalk - Wildwood, Glenwood, Lincoln and Robert's Avenues - plus the shops in Seaside and Ocean City. (Years later Duke also opened a place on the Atlantic City Boardwalk called Duke Mack's. )
 
Above photo was taken in the early 70's.
 
Some might remember when Mack's first opened they also offered other Boardwalk eats such as clams and corn on the cob, but the extended menu did not last long. Their tomato pie gained a large following which included a local Judge by the name of Andrew Caferio. He was a loyal customer and a friend of the Mack family and had stated on many visits that the pizza was so good they should serve it exclusively. The family agreed and so it came to be that Mack's Pizza was just that... Mack's Pizza.
 
Pictured below are several photos of the Wildwood Avenue shop.
 
Pictured left Bob Moloney and Charlotte Mack. Joe Mack is shown above working the dough.
 
Looking toward the front of the shop.
A young Darryl Mack is pictured above at the counter.
 
Looking toward the back dining area at Wildwood Avenue.
 

All photographs come from the Mack family collection and used with permission.

Copyright 2001 Ralph Grassi