Susie and I are not the kind of people that eat out a lot, and when we do eat out, we tend to go to familiar places. I know that lots of our friends are all for experimentation, but for us, familiar settings, with folks that we know, and guaranteed food we like is more the way we eat out. (Not saying we don’t go to new places…just not that frequently!) In the 31 years we lived in Mineola, we developed this pattern, and on any given night of eating out, you’d probably find us at one of 4 or 5 places. Some people might call us boring, but we really liked the familiar surroundings of a known quantity.
That’s kind of the way our life has shaken out in Ocean City too. After years of vacationing here, before it became our permanent home in November of 2017, we’d eaten at many places, and several of them are still on our list of places we enjoy going to occasionally, but are not part of our weekly routine. Most weeks, our dining out is limited to three nights. On Saturday night we’re usually someplace with our regular OC Family group. Of the 3, this is the night that we are at different places and as close as we get to experimenting. On Tuesday night, most weeks, you can find us at the back bar at Charlies in Somers Point, eating and drinking with our good friend Sue, who bartends there on Tuesday night. Originally that was about it, but this past year, we’ve added another regular night to our week. On most Thursday nights, you can find us at Angelos Fairmount Tavern in Atlantic City, first having a martini with Michael at the bar, and then enjoying some good old fashioned, red sauce, neighborhood Italian food in one of this historic AC restaurant’s several dining rooms!
Located on the corner of Fairmount Avenue and North Mississippi Avenue in the Ducktown section of Atlantic City, Angelos has been a fixture on that corner since Angelo Sr. and Isabella Mancuso bought a small bar with an even smaller dining room in 1935. Since then, for 4 generations of the Mancuso Family, Angelos has been a way of life!
The story goes that in the beginning, they sold two items…Fried Shrimp and Spaghetti with Meatballs. Over the years, the restaurant and the menu grew, and now you can find many of your favorite Italian American dishes, and your order will probably be cooked and served by someone in the Mancuso Family! Yes, this indeed is a Family Restaurant, for those dining there, and for the staff serving you. Since 1935, due to the ability to purchase adjacent buildings when they became available, the original small footprint of the restaurant has grown like topsy. There are now six dining rooms, but because of the nature of the expansion, they are all small and intimate and each has its own personality. They also have several large banquet rooms, and now the bar is larger than it was in the early days!
Speaking of the bar, as you sit at the L Shaped Bar, you will enjoy going back in time to old Atlantic City. There are pictures of pop celebrities of old, like Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, Sports figures like Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth, a whole wall of “Who’s Who” from the Godfather movies, and Mancuso Family memories. There are also “wine” taps and beer taps, directly from the cold room! The bar is a cozy place to wait for the rest of your party, or to have a drink before dinner. Oh and as you sit at the bar, if you look down you’ll notice the tiled trough at your feet. Rumor has it that in the early days, when women wouldn’t be caught dead sitting at the bar, and it was strictly a male domain, there was no need to head to the men’s room if you needed to relieve yourself. I’d like to believe that’s true, but true or not, it makes a great story! Speaking of the Men’s room, the bar also holds probably one of Atlantic City’s smallest Men’s Rooms, but trust me, it’s better than using the trough!
The bar is also the gateway to Angelos. As you walk in the front door on the corner of Fairmount and North Mississippi, the bartender, who may also be making a martini, pouring wine for a waitress, and serving food to a bar patron, will call out to you, “Hey Folks…how many for dinner?” You see, Angelos only takes reservations for parties of 8 or more, so be you a corporate mogul or a vacationer from Brooklyn, you will give your name, the number in your party, and he’ll write it down on the clipboard and give you an idea of about how long you’ll be waiting! Find a seat at the bar, order one of their very reasonably priced drinks, and feast on the old AC atmosphere! Bars like this aren’t designed, they grow!
When your table is ready, the bartender will direct you to head through the door into the restaurant proper. Here you will be met by the hostess, and shown to your table, which may be in any one of their six dining rooms. From small rooms with about 6 tables, to larger rooms with family sized tables, from the Baseball Room, to the Fireplace Room (without a fireplace), each room is a little different, and has a unique atmosphere.
What isn’t different is the menu you’ll be ordering from. It is extensive, and exactly the Italian-American experience you desire.Take a look at their menu, and tell me if I’m wrong!
So let me tell you about one of our typical Thursday nights at Angelos. If Michael is bartending, he knows exactly what we want, but if it’s Dom or Gina or somebody else, we tell them we’re going to have a drink before dinner, and order our Grey Goose Martinis! We enjoy them, and love to soak in the atmosphere and people watch! The bar at Angelos is the perfect place to people watch!
When it’s our turn, we go up the steps and through the door and are surprised on what room we’ll be eating in! Last week, Megan stopped by and asked how our diet was going (yes…they tolerate us being no-carb in this decidedly carb intensive environment), Theresa, her Aunt, was our waitress and wanted to hear about my knee replacement. Victor started to bring us a basket of bread, till he realized it was us, and Patty, Megan’s Mom, stopped by to say hello. Do I love that…you know I do, but what I really love about Angelos, is be they Mancusos or not, this is a family, with the same staff year in and year out! That to me makes the experience just that more special!
Oh..so what do we, two no-carb folks eat in this wonderful restaurant? Well, without a doubt, we always start with the Angelo’s Cold Antipasto Salad for One (years ago, when we first tried to order this for two, our waitress..I think it might have been Rhonda, told us one was enough for two. Boy was she right!). Take a look at the attached pictures and tell me that doesn’t look wonderful! That really is enough for the two of us to eat for dinner, but we usually will splurge and have one or two (and that’s pushing it) appetizers for our dinner! Love their Eggplant Parmesan appetizer and the Shrimp Jammers are to die for!!
Another fascinating thing to look at when you’re at Angelos, is the numerous stain glass windows all over.
So that’s how we spend our Thursday nights. We head to AC and we dine with the Mancusos! Thanks for allowing us to be a member of the family, even if it’s just for a couple of hours once a week. We’re customers for life!!
Enjoy some old Mancuso Family pictures from their menu.