Order up! One iconic slice, an Italian hot dog and a small Coke with shaved ice. Hold the panic.
Yes, hold the panic. Even though on Mr. Pizza Slice's Facebook page,
it was announced that, after 44 years, owner Steve Napolitani retired
and spent his last day at work Wednesday, the place "will continue to
operate just as it did before."
while Steve may be off to what many loyal patrons feel is a
well-deserved retirement, he has left people in the area with a sweet
lingering aftertaste of himself serving up what is known as the best
fast food around smothered in good memories.
The modest, paneled
haven for Pac Man, pizza and hot dogs none finer has been one of Red
Bank's last bastions for scrumptiously simple food made with a smile and
a lot of community love for decades.
Just about anyone who grew up in the area could offer a slice of Mr. Pizza life experience if asked.
Pieces of that good memory pie have the taste of a soothing past something like this:
recall vividly my cousin in her 1969 powder blue VW Beatle driving me
to the House of Magic in the 70's and not being able to buy anything,
but it was made all good by pizza and a video game at MPS," said Jack McClunn on the Facebook page.
And he's hardly alone. "Had my first game of PAC Man there," said former Fair Havenite Jill Sorrentino. And it goes on …
Steve's Mr. Pizza Slice was always a no-frills, inaugural experience of sorts. Call it an affordable priceless.
can be a bit intimidating for a first-timer. There's a window where you
can see the cooking going on from the street, cooks shuffling things
around and shouting out orders. You walk in, stand at the counter, stare
at the hand-painted menu board, speak up (or lose) over the up-front
backroom kitchen banter and order.
A couple minutes of cooking
and chatter later, the slices, round fries and hot dogs are tossed in
front of you on paper plates. You pay up, grab a seat in the back, if
you so desire, and eat. It's that simple, yet pretty special in this
Where else can you find what many would fight for a bite
to say is the best Italian hot dog around with a slice and a small soda
for $10? Nowhere.
So, it's a good thing that even though the
special pie of Mr. Pizza Slice walked out the door Wednesday, his
special blend of character, menu and atmosphere still be there "as
And people are counting on it, as word of Steve's
retirement and rumor of no more Mr. Pizza Slice spread like tossed dough
with a collective "Noooooo!"
The pizza and dogs stay. As for
Steve … Well, by all accounts — including an attached YouTube video (by
Dori Kershner) documenting his final minutes in his place and the smile
on his face in the Facebook photo — he's happy about his new life
chapter, but he won't forget. Neither will anyone else who's experienced
his place with him at the helm.
Here's what Steve's note to the public says:
AM RETIRING! I want to thank all of you for letting me serve you for
the past 44 years. I'm going to miss seeing all of your faces every day.
I plan on spending time with family and friends, vacationing and taking
time for myself. Mr. Pizza Slice will live on under new ownership.
Now, that's a tall order to "live on" up to.
All the best Steve! Thanks for the memories, the pie, the fries and the dogs!
Please feel free to comment below about your favorite memory of Mr. Pizza Slice with Steve.