Antonio Mangialardo, 83, a delicatessen and grocery store owner noted for his home-made sausages and imported cheeses, died Oct. 28 at Greater Southeast Community Hospital after a stroke.
Although he had retired in 1967 from the family-operated business, Mangialardo and Sons, Inc., at 1317 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. he continued to go to the store daily until about three months ago.
There he would make hot and mild Italian sausages fresh each day. Customers, who soon became friends, would line up daily to buy the sausage submarines and other sandwiches for which the delicatessen became well known.
They also bought some of the fine parmigiano, romano, fontina, provolone and other imported cheeses that filled the food cases.
Mr. Mangialardo was born in Sicily. He grew up on a farm there and learned all about produce first-hand.
Shortly after he came here in 1920, he started his first business with a horse-drawn wagon. On alternate days, he would wend his way through the streets of Southeast, Southwest or northeast Washington, selling produce.
In 1953, Mr. Mangialardo bought an Italian grocery store at 1227 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. now the site of an upholstery store. Five years later, he moved a half-block of the present location of the grocery.
From the start, it was a family business. His wife, Anna, manned the cash register. Their two sons, Joseph and Alexander, helped in the store and are no won charge of its operation.
Mr. Mangialardo's customers included many law enforcement officers - District and Capitol policemen. FBI and Secret Service agents - who crowded into the store at lunchtime.
The store was "discovered" about 10 years ago by officers of the old fifth precinct in southeast, and from there "the world just spread," according to a member of the family.
Despite the popularity of his store, Mr. Mangialardo had resisted the idea of its expansion passing on to his family the view that one place of business was enough. He also kept limited hours, closing each afternoon at 3 p.m., on the grounds that his employees needed their rest.
Three months ago, Mr. Mangialardo came down with pneumonia and was hospitalized for the first time in his life. Doctors discovered other ailments, and although he was released, had had to discontinue his daily visits to the store.
He was hospitalized for a second time just 10 days before his death.
In addition to his wife, of the home in Camp Springs, and his two sons, both also of Camp Springs, he is survived by a daughter, Josephine Scuderi, of Silver Spring, and five grandchildren.