Remember the opening credits of Saturday Night Fever, when Tony Manero (John Travolta) wolfs down a double-decker slice from Lenny's while grooving to "Stayin' Alive"? Good times, those late 1970s. So when a pair of lifelong New Yorkers decided to open what is, amazingly, the only slice shop anywhere on Mulberry Street, the heart of Manhattan's Little Italy, they decided to do it up the old school way, and pay homage to a New York City classic.
The result is Manero's, which has its grand opening this Saturday but is slinging slices in a "soft-open" fashion this week. The owners definitely know their NYC pizza (we all agreed on our Top 3 slice shops) and have plenty of experience serving really good food in a casual environment. Roman Grandinetti grew up in Bensonhurst and currently runs the excellent Regina's Grocery sandwich shop over on Orchard Street. Nima Garos was raised a block away on Baxter Street and co-owns, with Karoosh Bakhtiar, the great Jajaja on Essex Street.
Grandinetti and Garos told me over several stellar slices at their shop on Wednesday that they wanted to incorporate a Neapolitan-style feel into their pizza (airy crust, slightly gummy center), but really, these beauties mostly just eat like first-rate, classic NYC folds. Like the sort of slice that recalls all of the great slices you've had in this town since you were a teenager.
There's plenty of cheese on the Plain, there's a White slice and a Margherita, and if you want to get all fancy, Manero's will plop a hefty ball of burrata on top of your pizza, which goes great with the garlicky Marinara. There's a straight-up Square slice available, Garlic Knots and Pinwheels, and a fantastic Hot Soppressata slice that will make you forget all about 'roni cups for awhile. One woman told me yesterday that she's already been here two days in a row, and will likely return tomorrow. I totally get it.
There's no seating inside Manero's, just a couple of narrow counters perfect for perching while you grab a bite, though the bench outside looks to be the pro move if it's not raining. They hadn't finished decorating the space yet when I was there—a big autographed photo of Travolta as Manero will dominate the main wall—but promised it will all be done for Saturday's opening. At which, by the way, you can also channel your inner Manero by getting a double-decker slice for the price of one from 5 to 6 p.m. Try and do a better job than me though please, at reenacting the strut.
Manero's is located at 113 Mulberry Street, between Canal and Hester Streets, and is open for now from noon to 6 p.m. daily, with extended nighttime hours to come (212-345-6789; maneros.pizza)