By Contributor | NBC40.net
Once they’ve tried it, they keep coming back.
“We come here once a week. We live in Margate so we come here once a week,” said one customer.
Tony Boloney’s opened with a simple plan: thaw out frozen food to serve to the construction workers building Revel. But for owner Michael Hauke, that wasn’t enough.
“We shut down for a few weeks, we rebranded everything,” said Hauke. He and his brother decided if they were going to run a pizzeria, they were going to do it right.
“We created all our of our own recipes from scratch,” explained Hauke. “I made all the recipes, all of the ingredients from scratch. Instead of buying dough we made dough. Instead of buying mozzarella, we make the mozzarella.”
And now the little pizza joint in the shadow of Revel is gaining national acclaim, winning the “Truckin’ Amazing Cookoff” hosted by Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan.
“It’s absolutely huge,” said Hauke. “The fact that we won this competition. They started with I think 2000 food trucks, then they whittled it down to ten then to two and then we won it.” He says the win is also a victory for Atlantic City.
“The fact that AC was able to beat competitors from New York, Miami, from Chicago – you name it, very successful food truck markets. It’s exciting.”
What makes Tony Boloney’s success more impressive is that they’ve done it in an area where there really aren’t other successful businesses. It’s a challenge owners say they’ve taken in stride.
“You don’t come here and say ‘oh, I’m hungry, that looks interesting,’ You come here to come here,” said Hauke.
And with an expansive, ever-changing menu, customers say they’ve got plenty of reason to come back for more.
“We’re trying to work our way through the menu but Mike keeps changing the menu. We keep telling him to knock it off,” joked one regular.