Manganaro’s Grosseria Italiana, commonly referred to as Manganaro’s, was an Italian market and deli on Ninth Avenue in the Hell’s Kitchenneighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. It opened in 1893 and operated for 119 years, helping to introduce the hero sandwich to Americans.
The business was founded in 1893 by Ernest Petrucci as a wine and spirits store, Petrucci’s Wines & Brandies, that also sold groceries. Its location at 488 Ninth Avenue near 37th Street was on a stretch of the avenue that remained lined with exotic food stores for decades. After the enactment of Prohibition in the U.S. in 1919, Petrucci’s nephew James Manganaro, an immigrant from Naples, took over the store in the 1920s and changed the name; in 1927 he was able to buy the building. Manganaro may have invented the hero sandwich, and played a role in introducing it to Americans. On his death in 1953, Manganaro’s passed to his brother Louis and sister Nina Manganaro Dell’Orto and their spouses; in 1955, with a publicity agent’s help, they invented the six-foot “Hero-Boy” sandwich, which was successful enough for one of Dell’Orto’s four sons to go on the original version of the TV quiz show I’ve Got a Secret, and for the family to open a sandwich shop next door at 492–494 Ninth Avenue the following year, while continuing to operate a deli and lunch counter in the rear of the grocery store. In 1962 Louis Manganaro retired and two of his four nephews took over the grocery store and the other two the sandwich shop, Manganaro’s Hero-Boy, and the businesses were separated.