Thy Name Is My Enemy


I go to Manganaro's Foods & Restaurant which, in case you didn't know, the menu and signs will repeatedly remind you is not affiliated in any way with the Manganaro's Hero Boy right next door (except that it's the same family).

Manganaro’s has an original Italian deli in front (that opened in 1893) and a cozy seating area in the back. Between the tables covered with red checkered tablecloths and the owner’s adult daughters serving cold and hot heroes and the like, I was reminded of my favorite Italian groceries in Boston's North End, San Francisco's North Beach, and Leo's Latticini (aka Mama's) in Corona Queens near where I grew up. So even though it's barely 11 a.m., they warm me up a delicious meatball parm hero (in the microwave) and even sprinkle fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano on top. With a Moretti beer to wash it all down, I'm enjoying the sandwich and soaking up the atmosphere and history.  All of a sudden I hear one of the daughters screaming "Get out! Where's my $%^&*^% cannoli?! Get out and bring back my %$^#$%^& cannoli!" Turns out the family feud that's been going on for more than 30 years is still on. As best I could tell, the bakery delivered the cannoli to the wrong Manganaro's and rather than redirecting them to the Grosseria, Hero Boy happily accepted and paid for the pastries. This led to much additional cursing and screaming by the daughters, firing the bakery and scrambling to find another supplier. I suggested Veniero's not realizing that alliances had been made decades ago with one daughter saying that Veniero's are $%^&$ even though her father helped get them established. Apparently my backup suggestion of Bruno's as a purveyor of cannoli was more acceptable.

I won't go into the history of the family feud here (look it up, the story is both fascinating and sad). I also won't pick sides, but Hero Boy’s heroes look (and I suspect taste) more like a Subway sandwich. My dad and his Italian best friend, whom I believe I was named after, used to get their heroes at Hero Boy in the 1950s prior to the declaration of war between the Manganaros. I fantasize that someday the kids can reunite the family. Then we can all say, "A meatball parmigiana hero by any other name would taste as yummy."