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Jun 5, 1999 06:12 PM

Manganaros Foods v Manganaros Hero-Boy...

  • g

Does anyone know the story here? Manganaros Foods, at
488 9th Ave bet 37th & 38th, a 106 year old
establishment that comes recommended by Eric Asimov
for its sausage & pepper sandwich is just a step away
from unaffiliated Manganaro's Hero Boy 492 9th Ave
also bet 37th & 38th St.

Feuding brothers? Pure chance?

And more importantly...does anyone know who is better
for what?


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  1. f
    Frank Language

    Governor writes: "And more importantly...does anyone
    know who is better for what?"

    Heroboy sucks...for everything of theirs I've had, even
    the pickles. They're a quantity catering business, in
    which they'll prepare a six-foot hero to your
    specifications; people who are having a large group for
    lunch and want to spend as little per person favor

    Manganaro's Foods on 9th Avenue is a Hell's Kitchen
    gourmet shop; fairly pricey (at least you can get it
    cheaper downtown: a liter of Madre Sicilia ex-virgin
    olive oil costs $17.99 there as opposed to $11.99 at
    Pasta Place on 10th Street; other prices are fairly
    consistent with this), but their quality and selection
    are good. As far as I know, they do catering, but most
    important, they have a framed notice specifying that
    they are *not* Manganaro's Heroboy. Again, I repeat:
    Manganaro's Heroboy sucks.



    8 Replies
    1. re: Frank Language
      Jeremy Osner

      Speaking of Hell's Kitchen, there used to be an
      excellent cheese shop near Manganero's on the other
      side of the Avenue. I was walking there a few days ago
      and had my eye out for it but did not see it -- does
      anyone know if they're still around? Also, it seems
      like there used to be (~6 years ago) 3 or 4 West
      African groceries along 9th Ave. within a few blocks of
      there -- I only saw one of them still around. What

      1. re: Jeremy Osner
        Frank Language

        One word - gentrification. The developers are
        salivating, and the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood is hot.
        If you didn't see places you remembered, it's a pretty
        good bet they've been shoved out.

        1. re: Frank Language

          Just a followup. The office is settling into the new
          digs when word comes down the company is buying us all
          lunch today.

          What should come in the door but two six-footers from
          Maganaros Hero-Boy!.

          I tried the Italian sub. God it sucked.
          So now I know.

          1. re: Governor

            The food may be pricey but if you are looking for real
            hearty authentic southern Italian, this is it. Really
            great rice balls. Sal Dell'Orto makes a mean espresso
            and his daughters are to die for. Ask for Nina or Linda
            or Seline and see what a real Italian lady can do for
            your meal. Mama Mia!

            1. re: Robert Lord

              my experience at manganaros foods has been great for a
              lunch under $10.00. Whether I have had an
              unbelievable sandwich or a great hot dish - I've
              always enjoyed the food and the sisters. Now, I would
              never walk into Hero-Boy. Nasty is a kind word for the
              place. I can't imagine how anyone can eat in such a

              1. re: the cat
                Samuel Bouveron

                As a french I know what "good food" means.
                I want to emphasize on the fact that you don't just eat for less than $10 a lunch, you also enjoy the sisters, theirs jokes, stories, etc. In fact you're eating while you're in real live scene theater, Manganaro sisters are the main actors, the store is the theater stage and customers are part of the play. There is a latin spirit in this place that you would never find anywhere else expect in Italy. Just the place to be at lunch to make your day.

        2. re: Jeremy Osner
          john knoesel

          there was an article in the times recently about a new
          cheese shop on 9th ave. near 55th street which is owned
          by the same people that owned the shop you are talking
          regards, jk

      2. As Hero-Boy! has made two appearances in the new
        corporate digs since our move, and I've had the same
        number of visits over to Maganaros Foods, I figured it
        was time for a followup...

        Hero-Boy! is downright nasty. The bread's similarity
        to the gaudy cardboard box that the sandwich is
        delivered in is inmistakeable, the cold cuts held
        within are thick-cut and third-rate, and iceberg
        lettuce has no place on a sandwich as far as I'm
        concerned. (Hey, I'm not down on iceberg lettuce -
        shred it thinly and use it as a last minute addition
        to broth based soups - just not in a salad or sandwich)

        I want to like Maganaros Foods. The staff reminds me
        of my family (genially squabbling but the smiles are
        real), and they take care in preparation.

        The cold cuts, both meats and cheeses, are first rate,
        the roasted peppers are smoky-sweet. The bread is a
        huge disappointment - especially considering that this
        is not an overstuffed sandwich (not my thing either)
        so that the bread is not a mere conveyance to the
        mouth (like in a soft-shell crab sandwich), but an
        integral part of the sensory whole. The crust has no
        crackle, your teeth alternatively tear and pull to
        seperate another bite from the whole.

        There is also a price/value issue at Maganaros Foods -
        what you get is not quite worth what you shell out.
        That said, I'm still going to head over to try some of
        their prepared specialities - I saw some fried
        artichokes the other day I was stupid not to sample.

        More 9th Ave eats to come,

        1 Reply
        1. re: Governor

          With regard to governor's reply of 6/19/99 I agree
          with you as far as Manganaro being far more superior
          that hero boy, however I have to disagree with you
          about the bread that Manganaro serves. I have had the
          bread at Manganaro's and can honetly say that it has
          the authenic taste of the breads I have eaten in
          Italy. The crust is cripy and the bread has an aroma
          and texture that enhances the wonderful sandwich I
          had, (The Manganro Special. Therefore Mr. Governor I
          suggest that you try another Manganaro sandwich and
          think about what you are eating. Don't waste you time
          with the Manganaro wannabe (Hero boy)....Have a real
          mans or should I say womans sandwich.......Ciao

        2. yes feuding brothers,, now feuding sons

          1. p

            the mozzarella at manganaros was as soft and sweet as a baby's tosh. add some sun dried tomatoes virgin sicilian olive oil some basilico and a twist of fresly ground pepper and you"re in heaven

            1. Post feature on No Reservations I walked over at lunch for my first try. I knew nothing about these places before last night tv viewing. My dining companion didn't like the age funk of Manganaros Food so we went to Heroboy not knowing they are not the same business. We thoroughly enjoyed our lunch. I had rigatoni with a splash of tomato gravy and the breaded chicken breast topped with spinach sauteed with garlic and a slice of mozz cheese. My co-worker chose a procieuto/mozz/tomato hero. We had a glass of house red.

              I liked what I got, particularly the spinach/garlic. The chicken was good enough and the pasta (cooked or finished to order so I had to wait a few minutes) nicely al dente but completely cooked. Co-worker like his hero as well. He was complimentary on the bread, as crisp crust and soft but not doughy/too soft inside.

              We wandered over next door where I bought some cheese but attempt at friendly conversation with the sister working the register prompted rancor: "we were famous a hundred years before TV" "...all the Thais, the Mexicans, all getting the dollars..." (the later came unprovoked from us and we just let it lay...) It wasn't until back in the office and remarking to another co-worker that we heard that the two Manganaro's are not affiliated businesses and so I googled my way to here.

              I did like what I got from Heroboy. I will go back. Also I will go try the funky old restaurant in the food store. Glad to learn of such good tastes if I just walk 1/2 block more for lunch.

              3 Replies
              1. re: wrayb

                FYI: Most of the reviews you just replied to are really really old--like 7-10 years old.

                1. re: chocolatefancy

                  And really nothing much has changed in the last 20 years at these places.

                  1. re: wrayb

                    It's interesting reading these comments. I've never been in the groceria as far as I can recall; didn't know they served food. I went to Hero Boy quite a bit in the 80's. No, the food's not fantastic, but for a steam-table luncheonette it was a great place for lunch and I enjoyed the decor they had. I've always gotten the eggplant parm sandwich with a side of spaghetti ( which is always good and al dente). I used to get the ziti. With a couple of bottles of Manhattan Special it still suits me fine. I just don't care for the new decor at all. It was better with the brighter colors.