Saturday, September 26, 2009

Mack’s Boardwalk Pizza South Philadelphia Pizzeria

Mack’s Boardwalk Pizza South Philadelphia Review

Mack’s Boardwalk Pizza is located at 10th and Oregon in South Philadelphia, PA. Mack’s is run by Joey Mack, the son of one of the original owner’s of Mack and Manco’s boardwalk pizza. That pizzeria, along with the famous Sam’s pizza, has helped to create what is called boardwalk pizza.

Before I give my review of Mack’s I would like to acquaint you with Mack’s pizza history. It all started in 1956 when Anthony Mack and Vincent Manco opened up their first pizzeria called “Mack and Manco’s” at 918 Boardwalk in Ocean City, New Jersey. A few years later they opened up another store at 7th street and boardwalk. Mr. Mack and his three sons (Dominic, Vince and Joseph) eventually expanded their business onto the boardwalks of Atlantic City and Wildwood, NJ. Vincent Manco continues to operate the original Mack and Manco’s in Ocean City with his son and his wife. Mack’s Boardwalk Pizza is run by Joey Mack, one of the sons of the original owner, Anthony Mack. Joey Mack moved his operation from the Jersey shore to South Philadelphia.

Now that we have the history out of the way, I can release my review. Mack’s Boardwalk pizza is deeply rooted in history with its original pizza recipe. The owner of this South Philly branch is not affiliated with the other Mack’s any more but he still has the family recipe. Joey Mack claims that this family pizza recipe was from 1950 and that his pizza is the best of the best.

Before I start my review I want to make you aware that I think the owner is a nice person but I am here to review the pizza and some things stood out that needs to be addressed. I did not like the pizza at all and I will elaborate on why. I ordered a full 16 (Joey claims they are 17 inch) pie. Joey’s famous pizza is a thin crust recipe American style pizza (cheese on top).

I didn’t like the pizza for several reasons. First, the amount of grease that was on this pizza could have set me up for a future heart attack. I put three napkins on top of a slice and there was still a shiny glitter from all of the grease. This definitely took away from the taste and caused me to have indigestion days later.

The thin crust pizza cracked when folded. This in combination with the gallon of oil on top led to mass spillage and a large mess. The cheese was cooked well. The sauce was not that tasty at all. There was minimal sauce used in proportion to the cheese which appears unbalanced in taste.

The crust was decent for thin crust as it was slightly blackened with a small lip at the edge.

I did not like how the pizza was placed in the box without a wrapper. This is not a good sign of cleanliness as those pizza boxes sit on the floor of the warehouses they are stored at.
Joey Mack’s Boardwalk Pizza is in a small shoebox store. I actually liked the set up of it as it has a small appearance of a boardwalk pizza shop. Mack’s has several patio chairs outside his shop for outdoor seating. This is a one man operation (plus the delivery people). This must be Joey Mack’s retirement job as the operation is very slim lined. There is nothing wrong with that as extra employees are not needed. I am just preparing you for what kind of pizza place this is. It is on the opposite side of a fancy pizzeria.

Eating at Mack’s led me to some questions. First, I can understand why New Yorkers may think Philly pizza is bad. If they base their impressions off of places like Mack’s Boardwalk pizza then that may lead them to believe that Philly doesn’t know pizza. Of course New York is the pizza capital of the world other than Napoli, Italy (read about the history of pizza) but Philly is a very close runner up.

I find it interesting that a place like Mack’s pizza who claims to have the best pizza in Philly would know what a Margherita pizza is. Considering that they are halfway there on the recipe (thin crust) I am not sure if they ever put the other half of the equation together. Let’s face it, most pizza experts will agree that you don’t even stand a chance of being considered the best pizza if you can’t make a thin crust Margherita pizza. Just off that fact alone I am sure that if a New York pizza critic ate one slice of Mack’s pizza they would laugh. If that was the only place they ate in Philly and they were told that this is the best pizza here then they would think this city is a joke.

That is why this pizza blog was created. There are many really good pizza places in Philly but you just have to look a little harder than New York.

I didn’t like Mack’s pizza because it was too oily, too cheesy, no foil paper under the pizza inside the box, the pizza ovens were not good pizza ovens (I doubt they get hotter than 500 degrees (you need about 800 for the best pizzas)), and their lack of variety of pizza. If you tell the public that you have the best pizza in Philly that you better offer options and one of those options should be a thin crust Margherita pizza.

Overall, I do not recommend Mack’s pizzeria to any of my readers, which is a similar conclusion to the Mack’s that I have eaten at on the boardwalk of Atlantic City and Wildwood.

Joey's Boardwalk Pizza on Urbanspoon


  1. hi blogger ! best review yet -thankx alot for your honesty - i have a brownstone in greenwich village - nyc - about 2 blocks from famous ray's on 10th & 6th ave and john's coal oven on bleeker st - both rated highly - john's has 18" pies - i've seen oil poured over the top of pizza from what looks like a small flower watering can with a long spout - they say it stops the cheese from burning - new yorkers around nyu - washington square park at 5th ave love tons of cheese - forget "balance" - i've had pizza at point pleasant beach - asbury park - seaside heights - atlantic city - beach haven - belmar - keansburg - wildwood - brielle - the best pizza ever was an italian american from philly who had a restaurant out on the highway in san antonio , texas - the sauce was unique - it was a secret recipe - and he used cheddar - not mozzarella - yes - i know - you figure that one out - i only wish i had gotten the recipe - i tasted a really close second when i was in a philly suburb condo called "alden park manor ...

  2. Hi Toron,

    Thanks for commenting. I agree that you can find the best pizza usually in the strangest places. Who would have thought that you would have found that pizza place in Texas.

    How's NYC treating you? Ray's oil situation is very familiar. Actually, I am almost certain that this is the way that Mack's made his pizza. There was a small flower plant that he poured on top (it was out of my view so I couldn't tell what was coming out of it).

  3. I almost had purchased a slice of this pizza untill I walked into this's disgusting as is the owner...using profanities made me extreamly uncomfortable...and when I seen how dirty both the owner and the shop was I walked I of the neighbors informed me that joe mack sleeps in his pizzaria and has been doing so for a couple of years...he has had no showere in years...he only can wash himself in a tiny little bathroom...this place needs to be shut down by the board of health....

  4. Hmm, I was in Joey Mack's yesterday and I have to disagree. It's NOT I repeat NOT New York pizza. As the sign proclaims, it's "Jersey Shore" pizza and as such it is identical to Mack's Wildwood Boardwalk pizza, if not better. I talked with Joey for about 15 minutes and found him quite pleasant.

    I guess that's the downside of the Internet, anyone can have a blog and post their opinion and get it highly rated in Google. Knowledge that this world contains more than 1 kind of pizza isn't necessary to convince people you're an expert.

    Other inconsistencies in your story are you have described the pizza completely wrong. Part of what makes Mack's & Joey Mack's special is their unique take on pizza. The cheese is a white cheddar blend and the sauce is applied in a circular pattern ON TOP of the cheese.

  5. Anonymous Pizza Expert,

    Thanks for respecting the Best Philadelphia Pizza Blog ratings. I never said Joey Mack's Boardwalk Pizza was New York pizza. Please read again. Do you happen to work for Mack's?

  6. Ever try Bruni's in Hammonton NJ, well the old Bruinis puts macks to shame, the old Joe's in blackwood was also a great pizza better than Macks... ;) I have been making pizza since I was 10 , the trick is ...

  7. I am a first generation Italian American. I have worked in a Pizzaria and I know great pizza when I taste it. It is true that Mack's is rich(oily), but that is what makes it so good. I don't like low cal ice cream or light beer. If you want rich full taste, it's going to cost some calories. Just don't do it every day. It is obvious that the derogatory comments are written by persons with an ax to grind. Their coments go way out of bounds.

  8. Macks pizza on the wildwood boardwalk is the best!

  9. I love the pizza. No wonder you are a blog writer. Your review is inane and cliche. I don't remember Margherita pizza on the menu in 1950. No foil in the box?? Come on. Grease on pizza?? Do you know how cheese is made? Naploli?? Do you really think that New York style pizza can be found in Italy??Oviously "reviewer", your amazing talent is being wasted on pizza. Frankly I wouldn't trust any review of yours. I don't think the Inquier or NYTimes will be you calling soon. People...Do yourself a favor and try the pizza. It's great. If you want a Margherita pizza don't go to a boardwalk pizza place. I'm sorry I didn't read this review 2 years ago...but may it rest in oblivion.

  10. Never had this place. But Mack and Mancos in OC is fantastic. HOWEVER, Joe's pizza in Blackwood, before the owner had to close due to health problems, was fantastic!

  11. I'll tell you one thing, this "blogger" is a woman. I don't know of any man that "dabs" the grease off of a pizza like a little girl. Obviously some nose in the air clown who thinks she knows pizza. You know nothing dear. Joey's boardwalk pizza is fine. Mack's in OC and Wildwood are fantastic, and Joe's in Blackwood was the best! New York pies are terribly over rated. I laugh when I hear about "great ny pizza". Ray's (no taste at all), Grimaldi's,(no taste at all), De Fara's, please, $28 for one average pizza. Only Lombardi's actually lives up to their rep. As a previous post wrote, go to Italy, see if they're serving the great NY pizza. No way baby.


  13. MACK's Boardwalk Pizza at 2700 Hutchinson Street in South Philly is disgusting. The store is so dirty & the owner is worse. I wouldn't eat pizza from that store if you paid me. I walked in there the other day, the owner opened his mouth & asked if he could help me, I almost threw up because his teeth (what were left of them) were so yellow and he was in desperate need of a shower. Disgusting.

  14. Hi blogger,

    Your description of Mack’s Boardwalk Pizza made my mouth start to water and my stomach growl. This is how Mack's boardwalk pizza is supposed to be. When I think of family vacations at the NJ shore, this is the kind of pizza that comes to mind. The yummiest gooiest cheese that, while taking a bite, would stretch so far before snapping back leaving thin strips of cheese attached to your chin. All the while a stream of glistening oil would run down your forearm. With a napkin, you would quickly try to catch the oil before it dripped from your elbow and hit the floor, but then you realized you didn’t need to worry because you were on the boardwalk.

    I am a 53 y. o. female living in Maryland and it has been many years since I have been to the NJ shore. I did not realize there was a Mack's Boardwalk Pizza in Philadelphia which is much closer and easier to get to.

    I must have a slice of Mack's Boardwalk Pizza now! I think I will make that a whole pie, maybe even two. I am getting into my truck now and jumping onto I-95. I should be in Philadelphia in about an hour.

    As long as I am going to Phili. I might as well pick up a cheese steak for my husband.