Music City – Lunch at Manny’s House of Pizza

A few weeks ago, the Snob gave you a list of the five best joints for NY-style pie in Nashville. He has since visited all five and is ready to give you his run-down on each. And the Snob is going to make it easy for you to decide where to eat, as it may just depend on where you are and when. As you will see, there are two great downtown spots for lunch. Then there are also great places on the West, East and South sides of town that in addition to lunch, are also available for dinner and on weekends. The first one the Snob will look at is one that is owned and operated by one of two real-life brothers, who have both become Nashville pizza legends.

The Arcade, which dates back to 1902, is an indoor, open-air shopping center nestled between two city blocks in downtown Nashville. Its retro feel will make you think you are back in the 1960’s as you stroll down to Manny’s House of Pizza’s storefront which lies about halfway down the alley. On any given day at lunch, you will most likely find a line out the door as Mr. Mark and I did a few weeks ago. This was one of many visits I have made to Manny’s over the years but it was Mark’s first. As we waited in line to order and I told him about the place, a lady customer overheard me and chimed in that Manny was also a bit of a “Pizza Nazi,” like the Soup Nazi character on Seinfeld. We chuckled as earlier in the car I had told Mark how Manny’s brother, Joey, actually had that reputation. I had never heard that said about Manny as well.

Needing my full mid-day nourishment, I went for a pair of $2.15 cheese slices while Mark, watching his calories, went for only one, the same God-intended way. Manny’s ordering method is to order up front, go sit in the back, and get called when it’s ready. I’m cool with that, but let me say, that while the Snob is very comfortable with Manny’s back room and the stories its walls could tell, it’s not the kind of place he’s going to take Mrs. Sweetie Pie when she’s all dressed up for a Broadway play at TPAC!

But this is about pizza and Manny as expected, simply topped the charts for this Snob tasting. I thought I was in New York City! It was perfect! What stood out most was the exceptional array of flavors from its spicing. As I had remembered, the oregano was dominant, but what I really picked up on this time was the nice, light touch of garlic that also left a mild, savory after-taste. The crust was perfect as well: nice and chewy, slightly toasted brown on the bottom. The cheese was tasty and melted just right. As you will notice, they also added a dollop of some other cheese on top which I must say did nothing for me. But, all in all, Manny’s pie was a smash hit and as a result the Snob has no choice but to give Manny’s its highest rating.

Always incognito prior to eating on my visits, I couldn’t resist getting Manny to pose for a photo on my way out. I must say that I was thrilled when after I introduced myself as the Snob, that he remembered my real name from having read this blog! An immigrant from Italy, who starting learning his pizza-making in Brooklyn when he was only thirteen, Manny came to Music City in the early Eighties to try a songwriting career. In a way I am glad it didn’t work out and that he went with pizza. It was a great thrill to meet him as this man is truly a top artist in the world of pizza and his slices are a sure-fire hit.

PIZZA SNOB RATING     ***** Sets the Standard

Manny’s House of Pizza
15 Arcade Building
(Between 4th and 5th Ave and Union and Church)
Nashville, TN 37219


One comment

  1. George Beasley · · Reply

    I’ve been to Manny’s 100 times….and it was always good. I think the extra cheese on top is just an indicator of it being hot. They will cook up cheese pies ahead of time, then add the toppings as ordered by the customers. Add the cheese sprinkle, and when it is melted right, the slice is done. They also used to add a sprinkle of spices either right before the slice went into the oven, or right after….I can’t remember, as it has been a year or two since I have been there (I moved away). Great stuff.

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