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Bites Nearby: Mangiamo! Restaurant & Pizza a Welcome Stop on Route 17

Ghobrials open third Bergen County restaurant. Hani Ghobrial and his brother Sam are go-getters in the “clean” restaurant realm.

When you first enter Mangiamo! Pizza & Restaurant, you notice the cleanliness, a Ghobrial staple. “The first 10 points is cleanliness,” claims Hani. “Once people first walk in, before ordering food, and asking ‘Do you guys do parties?’ or ‘Do you deliver?’ the place gives you the feeling. We spent a lot of money to put the place together. We’re not a franchise; we're little guys.”

The Ghobrials own three Bergen County eateries, and their latest, as of June 10, 2010 is Mangiamo.

“Really nice, very nice,” said Hani of the Mangiamo experience thus far. “We’ve been doing a lot of entrees, specializing in entrees and pastas. Pizza is our number one selling item. We’ve created a perfect service pizzeria and restaurant.”

1980 was the beginning. “My uncle had a pizza place in Ramsey 30 years ago, and me and my brother joined him.” After working with their uncle, Hani and Sam entered into ownership with him and opened Village Pizza & Restaurant in Allendale at Allendale Town Center, the first of their trio of restaurants. Then, in 2004, Hani and his partner Mike, opened Sonny & Tony’s Pizza & Restaurant in Mahwah.

And then, Mangiamo. And why Paramus?

“Traffic is high in Paramus,” Hani said, regarding the often-filled roadways on Routes 4 and 17. “The area was missing the type of restaurant we have. No restaurant provides a nice dining room with pizzeria.”

And therein lies the problem with most pizzeria restaurants, where eat-in diners can often feel besieged with shouts and busyness from the pizza counter.

“It is a problem, but with us it’s not. We want you to enjoy your dinner, relax with no interference with your experience,” Hani said. For example, when you enter Mangiamo, the pizza order counter is separated from the dining room by a waist-high wall, where you can order take out minus the dining room crowd hearing you. “If  you want a pizza slice, you can get a slice and not interfere.”

If dining in at this BYO, when you plop yourself down into one of Mangiamo’s 60 or so seats, you are immediately given a basket of warm bread with garlic knots, a tasty Mangiamo item. If starting your meal off with a salad, you’re in good company if you enjoy the Gorgonzola chicken with sun-dried tomatoes, onions, asparagus, olives and Gorgonzola cheese served with homemade vinaigrette, or a grilled calamari and shrimp with fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers, olives and balsamic vinaigrette. Mangiamo sells a lot of both.

The overall menu is diverse, and pizza pies—of which there are 40 different gourmet varieties—are a popular order, with the Mangiamo Margarita Pizza the most requested.  Chicken francaise is the most popular entrée, and penne al la vodka is second. Mangiamo also offers paninis, wraps, salads and more, and also offer their own baked zeppoles, a true traditional Italian favorite.

 Hani and Sam Ghobrial are always looking to improve. “Having a newer operation (Mangiamo) makes us improve the quality and process. All three restaurants have been improved. Every year we do something to improve. We were voted the best pizza 2-3 years ago in the United States by theRecord and Bergen County the Magazine," Hani said.

As for future plans, might a fourth eatery be on the horizon? “We’re looking already, and have been approached. We’re not taking any steps right now. Maybe in 2-3 years.”

Mangiamo! Pizza & Restaurant, 501 Route 17/Gap Plaza, (201) 225-0551, Sunday to  Thursday, 10 a.m. - 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. - 11 p.m.,http://www.mangiamopizzarestaurant.com/index.htm.

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