By Jackie Hollenkamp Bentley
What do a church, a birthday party, a band, this website and a pizza restaurant have in common? Proof that this world is a crazy place, frankly.
It all started with my parents’ 80th birthday party at Most Blessed Sacrament Church. The guy cooking the food for us, Kenny Sullivan, liked my husband’s band that was playing, The M80s. He had a new restaurant opening at the Mellwood Arts Center and asked if they could play. And they did. Rick and Steve just started this website and I offered to do some publicity for my new friend and churchmate. So, here it is.
Every day Danny McMahon walks into his new Danny Mac’s Pizza restaurant and the Mellwood Arts Center, he’s overwhelmed.
“Everyday I come in, I feel blessed to have a place this beautiful that everybody can come and relax and have our food,” McMahon said.
He and longtime friend, Kenny Sullivan, decided to expand McMahon’s pizza business from one location at the Amvets Post #9 on South Shelby Street to the new Mellwood Avenue spot last year.
They initially looked at a different spot within the campus, but “it just didn’t feel right,” Sullivan said.
Then the restaurant there closed and the opportunity to replace it presented itself. That’s when Sullivan and McMahon officially “partnered up” and the new Danny Mac’s was born. Sullivan is the self-proclaimed “numbers guy” while McMahon handles the food end of the business.
“I’ve got a little background in the restaurant business but enough to know by being a customer, consistency matters, and to me that is huge,” Sullivan said. “When you go to Cracker Barrel, it doesn’t matter where you go at in this country, it’s all the same. That’s been one of the things I’ve stressed to him [McMahon] is consistency. Whatever you do there [Shelby Street location], you make sure you do it here. So customer can go to any location and never tell where that pizza came from, you just know it’s a Danny Mac pizza.”
The pizza recipe comes from McMahon’s longtime experience in the pizza business — even the breadsticks, otherwise known as “crack sticks”, are of his own creation.
“When we started making breadsticks we thought we’d make them how people would like — smothered in garlic butter and cheese,” McMahon said. “Then all of sudden I’m picking up the phone and hearing ‘crack sticks’, ‘crack sticks’, so I started having fun with it and I just ran with it.”
Both guys are “running with it” with this new location, with a number of plans to bring in even more customers. Currently, karaoke is scheduled for Saturday nights, but Sullivan is planning a karaoke contest later this month.
The Trolley Hop lands at the Mellwood Arts Center the last Friday of every month and Sullivan is currently booking live bands to perform and bring in the hoppers for pizza and beer.