It has happened. After 119 years in business, after being on the brink of closure in recent years, the great Manganaro Grosseria on 9th Avenue has shuttered.
all photos: my flickr, 2008
A reader alerted me this weekend, writing, "Walked by Manganaro's today and saw a sign that said they were serving their last Sunday lunch... The window display is bare and you can see the ancient glass and wood sliding doors. All of the photos are boxed up and on the floor. There are no more tables and chairs in the back. Out front, decades worth of paper signs, chairs, and baskets were in the trash. The place looks like a movie set now, empty and displaced from time. I fear the place will be gutted to make room for a Subway."
A call to the restaurant confirmed they are closed and their website has the following note: "As of February 27, 2012, Manganaro Foods will no longer be open in New York City. We will let you know when we re-open. Thank you for your many years of patronage. We look forward to serving you in the future."
One year ago, the family put their building up for sale, saying "We've had it." But they weren't quite ready to go. As co-owner Seline Dell'Orto told the Observer in March 2011, they were keeping the business open "Because it’s a hundred and twenty fucking years old and it’s beautiful."
And it was beautiful. From the hanging salamis to the big Toledo scale, to the wood paneling in the dining room with its old chairs and tables, to the photos hanging on the walls, it was beautiful.
The brusque greetings of the Dell-Orto sisters were beautiful. The way they refused to tolerate the bullshit of difficult tourists and such was beautiful (though some well-meaning folks got caught in the crossfire). Listening to them complain about Bloomberg and yuppies while you ate your tortellini was beautiful.
I absolutely loved Manganaro's and everything about it. When I was in the neighborhood recently, visiting the Elk Hotel, I thought maybe I should walk down for a meal. But it was late and I figured they'd be closed--and I thought I'd have another chance.
Now I'm kicking myself. Yet again.
The note on the website says they'll reopen and look forward to serving us in the future--so maybe there's hope. Maybe it's just a remodeling. Or maybe they're moving. Either way, it won't be the same and I'm just heartbroken over this one.
Red Sauce Joints