Tuesday, May 22, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Mary Alice Powell

As expected, Mancys' celebration was full of good food

The bottom line at the gathering of 100 or so people at the Gus Mancy home in Sylvania Sunday evening was to wish his dad, John Mancy, a happy 75th birthday.

That we did, again and again.

But the underlying tone of the celebration was a tribute to the whole Mancy clan, from the late Gus Mancy, John's father, to the grandchildren, who range from toddlers to teens.

If the party was not a surprise as intended -- which only John knows -- certainly the guest list was. His sister, Terri Checkles of Houston, and brother and wife Dr. and Mrs. Emmanuel Mancy, of Springfield, Ohio, attended. John's niece, Dena Harding, daughter of John's brother, the late George Mancy, and her husband John, and their daughters, Carla and Ellie, came for the celebration from Marietta, Ga.

Kathie Weiland helped her brothers plan the party for her dad. She came with her husband John and children from Brick, N.J.

Longtime friends in the restaurant business who joined the celebration included Mary and Alex Tokles, Kara and Brian Gump, Sharon and Frank Unkle, Traci and Bruce Saba, and Corinne and Chris Manera.

Since the day in 1921 when Gus Mancy opened what is now Mancy's Steak House on Phillips Avenue, the family name has had a comfortable place on the Toledo restaurant scene. Mr. Mancy emigrated from his native Greece. His first restaurant was the Commercial on Superior Street in the location of the convention center. Gus Mancy and Mike Mancy, son of the late George Mancy, manage the steak house.

The guest who asked, "What caterer are they using?" has not been paying attention to the Mancy scorecard. Besides four restaurants, a catering company is a division of Mancy's Steak House. Roger Parker vice president of catering, and formerly with Gladieux Corp., was visible at the party keeping the reception and dinner running smoothly. The menu, however, was definitely brotherly teamwork.

John Mancy, Jr., manager of the Blue Water Grille, is credited for the salmon that was cooked over an open wood fire on sticks, a method commonly used by Native Americans in the Northwest. The five-pound fillets, laced on long sticks with cherry wood to infuse flavor, were cooked for 20 minutes, according to the team. The staff at Mancy's Italian, managed by George Mancy, prepared the pistachio-crusted chicken, and prepared a variety of salads. One "something different" salad was a combination of red and yellow pepper slivers with whole kernel corn in vinaigrette. The fourth restaurant is Shorty's Barbeque, managed by Nick Mancy, son of the late George Mancy.

Of course there was a birthday cake and candles, but not as many guests flocked to it as they did to the trays of baklava. It would be difficult to attend a party given by a family of Greek descent and not find the rich buttery multilayered confection. Compliments to Renee Mancy Wood of Toledo who made it for her brother's party. It prompted a discussion of the pastry and grape leaf rolling work sessions several Mancy women participate in at St. George Orthodox Cathedral. The goal of the volunteer sessions is to fill the freezers with homemade ethnic foods in preparation for the Greek-American festival in September.

The reward for rolling hundreds of grape leaves? Lunch, prepared by Irene Kaufman.

The young Mancys, however, stole the stage. After they performed, you had to wonder if the fourth generation will follow the nearly century-long family tradition into the restaurant business, or seek stardom as entertainers.

Eight-year-old George Mancy, son of Nick Mancy, sang "Yesterday" and Joey Mancy, who is also 8 and Jennifer and Gus Mancy's youngest son, amazed the audience on the drums.

Christopher Weiland, 13, and Giavanna Mancy, 11, had equal stage presence when they sang special songs to Papou John. That's Greek for grandfather.

Mary Alice Powell is a retired Blade food editor.

Contact her at: mpowell@theblade.com

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