Pizzeria in NJ rises to fame on TikTok thanks to owner’s cheeky son

Advertisement

Pizzeria in NJ rises to fame on TikTok thanks to owner's cheeky son

He’s the Tok of New Jersey.

Every day, 25-year-old Salvatore Mandreucci toils behind the counter at Marcello’s Pizza-Grill, a 20-year-old institution outside of Trenton.

But on TikTok and Instagram, Mandreucci is better known as SallySlices, where his 4 million combined social followers could make him the most famous pizzaiolo in the United States.

Its content is both opaque and heartfelt at the same time. Mandreucci leans his phone against the kitchen wall and records his daily shifts. A wistful Spanish anthem plays in the background while a brief, melancholic caption flickers across the screen. “Be a good person, but don’t waste your time proving it,” reads one. He has hundreds of such videos – Italian cuisine and existential bon mots. Mandreucci’s TikTok bio is CEO of Inspiration, and over the past year, that role has propelled him to superstardom.

Salvatore Mandreucci, 25, is known as SallySlices on TikTok and Instagram, which is where his four million combined social followers are.
Salvatore Mandreucci, 25, is known as SallySlices on TikTok and Instagram, which is where his four million combined social followers are.

Stefan Jeremiah for the New York Post
Mandreucci is a humble chef at Marcello's Pizza Grill, toiling behind the oven every day at the 20-year-old Trenton, New Jersey institution.
Mandreucci works at Marcello’s Pizza Grill.
Stefan Jeremiah for the New York Post

“[When I started TikTok] I said to my dad, ‘Look, I have 6,000 followers.’ Do you know what he said to me? ‘That’s bulls-t.’ But the next week I had 20,000 and I saw his behavior change. And when I hit 50,000, he started to understand the value of social media,” Mandreucci told The Post in his Pesci-esque Jersey accent.

“My father was my biggest supporter. People from different states stop by every day,” he continued, noting that his TikTok fame has been great for Marcello’s, which is located in a Hamilton Square mall. “California, Texas, Florida. They do something different in the area and come by.”

The restaurant receives 25 calls a day from fans wanting to speak to him, forcing Mandreucci to avoid the phone altogether. So, how did the guy behind the oven of a family pizza joint — Mandreucci’s father is a first-generation Sicilian immigrant — end up sharing representation with Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk and UFC lightweight Charles Oliveira?

Salvatore Mandreucci, a customer and Mandreucci's father
“My father was my biggest supporter. People from different states come by every day,” he told the Post. Above Mandreucci, a customer and Mandreucci’s father.
Instagram: @sallyslices_
A general view of Marchello's Pizza Grill in Hamilton Square on Wednesday June 29, 2022 in Trenton, New Jersey.
Marchello’s Pizza-Grill is a 20-year-old institution just outside of Trenton.
Stefan Jeremiah for the New York Post

It certainly helps that Mandreucci is both tall and cute. He’s reminiscent of a beaming Ray Liotta at the beginning of Goodfellas. or a younger, friendlier Nicolas Cage. Mandreucci’s triceps tense as he pounds dough and drizzles olive oil, a fact recognized by the many thirsty commenters on his uploads — “Gravy up my pizza anytime,” reads one.

But other fans seem genuinely moved by his wistful inscriptions floating over the pepperoni pies — a content strategy Mandreucci describes as combining “authentic pizza restaurant” work and “inspiration.” He’s been doing deliveries and washing dishes since he was 16, and his father taught him the harsh lessons of the old country.

“I’ve always been into mental warfare. I felt left out as a child. And over the years I’ve gotten smarter,” Mandreucci explains the hook of his videos. “I learned so much from what I experienced as a child. What if others want to hear it?”

Mandreucci's TikTok bio reads
Mandreucci’s TikTok bio reads “CEO of Inspiration”.
Sallyslices/TikTok

While he considers himself primarily a pizza maker, Mandreucci is already expanding his presence beyond Marcello’s. He sells merchandise with the SallySlices logo on his website and has an acoustic ballad on Spotify entitled “A Man’s Mind”. (It has about 60,000 games.)

Eventually, he hopes to turn his TikTok success into a film career. And while that will surely take him far away from the family business, it’s a dream his parents support.

“My parents are totally involved. They want me to do what I love,” Mandreucci said. “Actually, my dad wants me to get out of the pizzeria. He tells me he doesn’t want me to break my ass like he’s been doing for the last 50 years.”

You May Also Like