Annamaria's Pizza

36.001133, -78.909939

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(Courtesy Robby Delius)

A former house on Albemarle St. (which itself was formerly Jones St.) became a well-loved, and purportedly the first, pizza place in Durham. Opened in 1958 by Bartholamew (Bat) and Annamaria Malanga, the pizza joint was a regular hangout of Duke students.

(Courtesy Duke Yearlook)


Annamaria's - 1981

Looking west, ~1985
(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)

The restaurant closed in 1986, and the building was torn down sometime soon thereafter for parking.

Looking west, 03.16.08

36.001133 -78.909939


Oh wow! I've been hearing about Annamaria's Pizza all my life! My parents used to go there a lot.

Oh dear god. That really brings it back. Bat died when I was a frosh. The Chronicle carried his obituary as a front-page, black-bordered article.

I seem to remember that Annamaria started over briefly elsewhere after moving out of the original building. But I don't remember any more than that.

When is Pete Rinaldi going to come up? :)

I don't know if it was only the fellow Dukies I hung out with (in the early 80s), but we always called the restaurant "Bat's", and it always cracked me up to see "Annamaria's" on the sign when we pulled up. It was great! Lots of old comic books and back issues of Sports Illustrated. And you paid your bill on the Honor System: you just went up to the cashier and told him what you had. Definitely good memories.

"Split Enz" hair salon in the second picture? I thought they were a band from New Zealand?!

Who uses this parking lot, anyway? With the gates it clearly has a designated purpose, but I can't imagine what it is.

Everyone in the '60's called it Bat's as well. He was a character. There was always a card game with some older guys in the back. The pizza was OK, but cheap and plentiful. Probably could get a pretty good buzz and fill up for a couple of bucks.

Thanks for the picture--good memories.

Annamaria's was previously located on the NORTHWEST corner of 6th & B streets -- at 901 6th Street.

Today, the intersection is known as Clarendon & Green. So, Annamaria's was located at 901 Clarendon.

Testing the limits of GK's space for comments, here's a 1996 paper on this very subject.

~John Schelp

Durham's First Pizza Pie: A History of Annamaria's Pizza House, by Damian Stamer (April 1996)

It is hard to think about a time when there was no pizza in Durham. You
would have to think back to 1956, before a handsome young couple from
New Jersey cooked
up Durham's very first pizza.

The couple, Bartholamew (Bat) and Annamaria Malanga were that handsome
couple. They had moved to Durham to be near Duke Hospital after their
daughter, Aggie
had been diagnosed with nephritis, a kidney disease. The doctors in New
Jersey said that Aggie didn't have much of a chance of living unless
she got proper care.
"We came down from New Jersey for my daughter. She was only three years
old. She was under Dr. Kempner's care and continued under his care for
fifteen years.
The reason we came was to save the life of our little girl." [1]

Dr. Kempner came to Duke in 1934 from Germany. He treated patients with
kidney disease and developed the Rice Diet program. Dr. Kempner and
the Rice Diet
became famous because it was a successful treatment for obesity. The
Malanga's were just a few of the people that came to Durham for the Rice
Diet. [2]

Meanwhile, Bat was moving from job to job, and Annamaria was working at
the Duke Dope Shop. She talked to the students and they were very
friendly with her. One day the quarterback of Duke's football team asked
Annamaria to bake him a pizza pie. She invited him over to her house and
fixed him a pizza. The pizza was sold for one dollar and the
quarterback ate the whole thing. Annamaria cooked the pizza in the top of a lard
bucket. [3]

The quarterback became a regular at the Malanga's house. He also became
a star professional quarterback for the Washington Redskins. He also
holds the record for most pizzas eaten in one sitting - five. His name
was Sonny Jurgenson. [4]

The Malanga's house on the corner of Sixth and B Streets slowly turned
into a restaurant. "The first pizza was made in 1956 on Sixth street.
901 Sixth Street ...from my home...from my kitchen. And that was a
restaurant called Ye Old House." Annamaria said. [5] Sixth Street is now
Clarendon Street and B Street is now Green Street.

So Bat and Annamaria set up card tables in their living room to serve
customers. The atmosphere was lively and informal. Bat said to
Annamaria, "You take care of the kitchen and I'll take care of the customer
relations." [6] Bat would talk with guests, who were mostly players on the
Duke football and basketball teams and also other Duke students. He
would strum his guitar and sing his Italian songs in a high pitched, kind
of scratchy voice.

"A few people would lean over the half-door to the kitchen and watch
Annamaria flip dough around into a circle, tenderly pat it into place and
expertly put together a puzzle that turns out to be the best pizza,
everyone agrees this side of Palermo. When it arrives, you grab for it
eagerly and the big round pans empty magically." [7]

The business grew and grew until one day the Malanga's were evicted
from their house on Sixth Street. This was probably because a business was
being run in a
residential zone. Bat and Annamaria decided to open a restaurant at 107
Albemarle Street. They picked this location because it was close to
the Duke students and they could walk to the restaurant. They named this
restaurant - Annamaria's Pizza House. [8]

Annamaria set up card tables and regular kitchen chairs to make Duke
students feel like it was a home away from home. Pictures and clippings
of customers out of the sports pages lined the walls.

There was a coca-cola drink cooler by the doorway so that when you
wanted a drink you could just go up and get one. Bat used the honor system
in running the
restaurant. He never wrote any orders down on paper. When a customer
was finished eating they went up to the adding machine and told Bat what
they had.
"Everyone was treated like family." [9]

Another interesting aspect of Annamaria's was the comic books. Two
boxes of comic books were in the store so customers would have something to
do while
waiting for their pizza. When asked "How did you get the idea of
comics?," Annamaria said "A lot of them had to wait for their pizzas. So we
just figured that we'd give them a comic book to read while they wait
for their pizzas. It just caught on. They would just come in and read
comics and wait for their pizza. Nobody ever got mad or upset." [10] After
a while people started donating comics that everyone could enjoy. This
is just another example of the friendly environment at Annamaria's.

Over time more items were added to the menu. Spaghetti and meatballs
were added. Bat used to yell into the kitchen to cook up some " Spags and
Balls". He would
also yell "Pep Pizza" which meant pepperoni pizza". [11] Subs, veal
parmigiana, and antipasto were also added.

The prices at Annamaria's were definitely unbeatable. In the early
days, you could order a large pepperoni pizza and three beers for $5.50. A
submarine cost $1.50. In the whole history of Annamaria's, the prices
only went up once, and then by only $.50 or so. [12] "I wasn't counting
on gettin' rich and quittin. " Annamaria said. "I was counting on
stayin'." [13]

Over the years many students, who later became famous, were regulars at
Annamaria's. They became friends with Annamaria and Bat. Some of these
famous people
included Sonny Jurgenson - professional quarterback, Giavonni Ferrari -
nephew of Enzo Ferrari the Italian sports car manufacturer, Jack Marin
- Duke and
professional basketball player, Dave Hartman - morning T.V. host, Mike
Souchak - professional football player, and Frankie Castelluccio better
known as Frankie Valli, and Bob Gaudio, Nick Massi, and Tommy Devito
know as the Four Seasons. [14] Bat was invited to be one of the original
Four Seasons, but because Aggie had to be hospitalized, Bat did not
want to leave his family and tour around the whole country. This did not
however prevent Bat from singing to his customers at the restaurant.
When Frankie and the other members of the band came to town they always
stopped in at Annamaria's to talk to Bat and see how things were going.
Bat could sing and play with the band late into the night.

Annamaria's meant a lot of things to a lot of people. One of
Annamaria's loyal customers (1964-1986) talked to me about her happy memories. On
the next page are
images that came to her mind when she thinks of Annamaria's. Mrs.
Boyarsky also shared three pictures with me. One of them was of her friends
eating at Annamaria's when she was in college. There are also two
pictures of Mrs. Boyarsky's son, Sammy, biting into his first solid food at
Annamaria's. [15]

Much of the history of Annamaria's is found in the many personal
stories that were created by the great people that were in the big family of
Annamaria's Pizza House. Most of these stories reflect the character of
Annamaria, Bat, the employees and customers.

Terry Kearney told me an interesting story. When Annamaria was pregnant
with her second child, Rosemary, she worked during her entire
pregnancy. She was in the Pizza House kitchen with several Duke students who
were helping her part-time. When she went into labor, she told them "I
need to go to the hospital". Annamaria remembers that they picked her up,
carried her to the car in a big rush
with Bat following them out and sped off to the hospital. They left all
the customers sitting at tables with their food. The customers
finished eating, figured out their bills, left the money by the old adding
machine, turned out the lights and locked up. [16]

Terry told me another story about the relationship between Rice Diet
program patients and Annamaria's. Aggie, who had been on Dr. Kempner's
Rice Diet when she
was a child, could often be found sitting in her wheelchair talking to
customers. She was not the only "rice patient" who came to Annamaria's.
This is a story that Rosemary told Terry.

"One thing the Rice Diet patients had to do was walk each day. One
afternoon two very overweight rice patients were walking nearby and noticed
the cooking smells coming from the Pizza House. They came into
Annamaria's. One man ordered a sub but the other man, the larger of the two,
said "I just want a bowl of plain noodles and a glass of water "
Rosemary said fine. She went to the kitchen and told Anna "He'll never get out
of here eating only that". She brought out the sub and noodles. The
large fellow said "Miss, could I have just a little sauce on my noodles
and one meat ball?" Rosemary said "Fine, no problem". When she brought
that he said "Miss, what is that he's having?" Rosemary said "That's an
Italian sub". He said "Well Miss, I'll have one of those". When
Rosemary brought it, he said "Oh, Miss, why don't you bring me an
around-the-world pizza". (This was Annamaria's pizza with everything on it.) Before
he left, his table was loaded with food. On his way out Rosemary heard
him say to his friend, "We can't come here anymore". That may be the
only customer they lost because the food was so good. [17]

This story is about how the atmosphere of Annamaria's had romance in
the air. Rosemary's courtship took place at Annamaria's while she was
waiting tables and her future husband was working in the kitchen. Terrance
Kearney, called Terry, met Rosemary while they were in school together
in Durham. In 1975 he started working in the kitchen of Annamaria's.
He thinks that he was the first non-Duke student to work there. He says
that he "really got to know Rosemary well while he worked there with
her". They fell in love and were married in 1980. They had their wedding
reception at Annamaria's. [18] Later when their first child, Steven
Bartholamew "Bernie" was born. he could usually be found around the Pizza

Out of many happy times, inevitably there will be a sad time. A very
sad day came on Monday, October 20, 1980. This was the day Bat died of a
heart attack at Duke Hospital. He was 58 years of age. [19] Annamaria
went on but the atmosphere just wasn't the same. Bats presence was
irreplaceable. The restaurant continued
operating for 6 more years until it was bought out and forced to close.
This is how it happened. [20]

For 30 years Annamaria's landlady, Hattie Mooney, later Hattie Jones,
supported Annamaria's by never raising the rent. She said that she would
not sell the property until Annamaria was ready to retire. "An
independent entrepreneur named Bob Chapman found out that the property on
which Annamaria's stood was very much desired by certain individuals."
Reportedly Mr. Chapman told Mrs. Jones that he wanted to buy the property.
She reportedly said no because Annamaria was not ready to retire. It
was then reported that Mr. Chapman said that he had talked with
Annamaria. He reportedly said that Annamaria told him she was retiring. Terry
and Rosemary Kearney say that Annamaria was not ready to retire and that
Mr. Chapman never spoke to Annamaria. Regardless, Mrs. Jones sold the
property to Mr. Chapman. It is unfortunate that Mrs. Jones did not
contact Annamaria. Mr. Chapman then sold the property within 24 hours for a
profit of over $5,000.00 to Mr. Hamner who was developing Brightleaf
Square. Annamaria was given a one year lease but could not continue
because the rent was too high and the prices of food would have to be raised
significantly. The place where Annamaria's once stood is now just a
barren parking lot. [21]

1986 was a sad year for Annamaria and her family because the restaurant
had to close and Aggie died. When I asked Annamaria, "Why did
Annamaria's close?" this is what she said. "We had to close. Bat died. Aggie
died, my daughter. It was just me Rosemary and Terry. Brightleaf bought
it out and he wanted to go up on the rent and everything. And we just
thought it was time to close." [22]

After Annamaria's Pizza House closed in 1986 another restaurant named
Anna Maria's opened in Durham. For awhile there was sign up in the
window of Anna Maria's
that said it had been in business for 30 years. The sign was taken down
after complaints from Rosemary Kearney. Many people think that Anna
Maria's Pizzeria is a continuation of the original Annamaria's Pizza
House, this is anything but the truth. Annamaria clearly said "Not
affiliated. Make that clear!! Not affiliated. Not at all." [23] It appears that
Anna Maria's may have taken the name to try to attract former
customers of Annamaria's. On the next page are copies of a coupon from Anna

In April of 1996, while I was writing this paper, my mom and I went to
eat at Anna Maria's Pizzeria for the first time. My mom went to the
original Annamaria's often while she went to Duke. She said, "The food and
atmosphere aren't even in the same ballpark as the old Annamaria's.
The food isn't close to being as good as
Annamaria's cooking. It is quiet and doesn't have any mouth watering
smells coming out of the kitchen." [24]

The memory of Annamaria's will never be forgotten. Here is an example
of this told to me by Terry Kearney.

"Last week I arranged for a heating and air conditioning inspector to
come over to my house. It ended up being a guy I went to school with.
When he came to the door he said "This smells like Anna's Spags and
Balls." He knocked and Anna came to the door. "It is Anna. " He told her how
much he missed Annamaria's and her cooking. She invited him to stay
for lunch." [25]

The best description of Annamaria's can be summed up in the words of
the living history of Annamaria's; Annamaria.

"It was just an era, a happy era, a good era. It brought a lot of
happiness to a lot of people for many years. And it made me happy too. And
it made Bat happy. All good things must come to an end. It's sad but its
true." [26] It is a shame that there are not that many businesses like
Annamaria's these days. What is happening to family owned businesses
that are friendly and informal? Who is to say, but Annamaria's will go
down in history as one of the best.


1. Interview with Annamaria Malanga, April 1996.

2. Anderson, Jean Bradley. Durham County - A History of Durham County,
North Carolina, 402.

3. Interview with Annamaria Malanga, April 1996 and Herald, 27 October,

4. Interview with Annamaria Malanga, April, 96 and Observer, September,

5. Interview with Annamaria Malanga, April, 1996.

6. Observer, 20 September, 1986.

7. Peer, Spring, 1956.

8. Interview with Annamaria Malanga, April, 1996.

9. Observer, 20 September, 1986.

10. Interview with Annamaria Malanga, April, 1996.

11. Herald, 27 October 1980.

12. Observer, 20 September, 1986.

13. Observer, 20 September, 1986.

14. Interview with Rosemary Kearney, April, 1996.

15. Interview with B.J. Boyarsky, April, 1996.

16. Interview with Terry Kearney, April, 1996.

17. Interview with Terry Kearney, April, 1996.

18. Interview with Terry Kearney, April, 1996.

19. Chronicle, 21 October, 1980.

20. Herald, letter to the editor from Terrance Kearney, 1985 or 1986.

21. Interview with Terry Kearney, April, 1996.

22. Interview with Annamaria Malanga, April, 1996.

23. Interview with Annamaria Malanga, April, 1996.

24. Conversation with Anne Stamer, April 1996.

25. Interview with Terry Kearney, April, 1996.

26. Interview with Annamaria Malanga, April, 1996.


Published Sources - Books

Anderson, Jean Bradley. Durham County: A History of Durham County,
North Carolina. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1990. [An
excellent example of
how a history paper can be researched, organized and written ]

Staff of Triangle Dinning. 1996 Triangle Dinning and Entertainment A
Money Saving Guide. Raleigh, North Carolina, 1995.

Turabian, Kate. A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses and
Dissertations. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1960.

Published Sources - Articles and Letters

"Annamaria's 'Bat' dead at 58 Jordan Feiger -The Chronicle, 21 October,

"Anomer's" The Peer, Spring, 1956.

"Bat-in" A Thousand" Cornelia Grumman. The Raleigh News and Observer,
20 September, 1986.

"Ciao - Annamaria's bid farewell to Durham after 31 years". Deborah
Gearing. -The Chronicle, 9 September, 1986.

"First Came 'Bat', And Then The 'Tomato Pie' " Bob Sherrill, Herald, 27
October 1980.

" Why Annamaria is Closing " letter to the editor from Terry Kearney,
Herald, 1985 or 1986.

Newspapers and Magazines

The Chronicle (Duke University Student Newspaper)

The Durham Morning Herald

The Durham Sun

The Peer (Duke University Student Humor Magazine)

The Raleigh News and Observer

Note: The Durham Herald-Sun was two separate papers before 1991 - The
Morning Herald and Herald Sun. I have not learned which Herald the
articles marked
"Herald " came from.

Miscellaneous Unpublished Papers

Boyarsky, B.J. Memories of Annamaria's Pizza House, Durham, NC 1996.

Persons Interviewed

B.J. Boyarsky

Rosemary Malanga Kearney

Terrance Kearney

Annamaria Malanga

Anne Stamer



I would like to thank Annamaria Malanga who gave me information about
her restaurant in an interview. I would also like to thank Rosemary
Kearney who talked with me and shared many pictures and newspaper articles.
I would also like to give thanks to Terry Kearney who shared many
stories about his experiences at Annamaria's.

I would also like to thank B.J. Boyarsky who gave me an enlightening
insight of her memories of Annamaria's. Last of all, I would like to
thank my mom for telling me about Annamaria's and encouraging me to write
this paper. All of the people I talked to about Annamaria's unlocked
their memories and hearts. The people are what made this history come
alive for me.


Aggie Agnes Malanga Campbell, oldest daughter of Annamaria and
Bartholamew Malanga.

Annamaria, Anna Annamaria Malanga namesake, owner and cook of
Annamaria's Pizza House.

Annamaria's, Annamaria's Pizza House, 107 Albemarle Street, Durham,
North Carolina.

Bat Bartholamew Malanga, husband of Annamaria, owner of Annamaria's
Pizza House.

Bat's, Another name for Annamaria's Pizza House.

Rosemary, Rosie Rosemary Malanga Kearney, second and youngest daughter
of Annamaria and Bartholamew Malanga.

Terry Terrance Kearney, husband of Rosemary Malanga Kearney.

Ye Old House, Name Annamaria called the informal pizza restaurant she
and Bat ran out of their house on Sixth street, 1956-1958.


Duke, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.


Linder Writing Contest --First Place Winner -- 1996
Historic Preservation Society of Durham


Terrific post! If there's a contest for the year, you win.

Thanks for the memories. Great story and family.

Re:parking lot usage.

Pretty sure this is a Duke Press parking lot (it was when I was working there a couple years ago). Duke Press is located on the second floor of the northern Brightleaf building.

Funny that Bob Chapman's name came up as being a sheister developer... I'm sure (since he's still a local developer) that he's not too happy with that article!

Wow...What a memory. Annamaria's, Bat, and Annamaria elicits powerful memories. It was popular with 1970's Durham High School students when off-campus lunch was allowed. I remember the orange dining area with a poster of The Hulk on the back wall, tons of comics, the self-serve cooler of drinks, and usually a serenade. Bat was always glad to see his customers, greeting almost everyone by name. The food was incredible, and prices were very reasonable. However, the true nature of the place would show when Bat, upon seeing someone not eating, would discretely ask "Hey, you want me to spot you a pizza"? What good people. Yeah, I miss the place. I think I took it for granted that it would always be there.

My parents used to take us kids to Annamaria's (I never heard it called "Bat's" until much later) in the 1970s. I loved the piles of comic books in the back and, oh yeah, the pizza was the best. (I don't remember it clearly, but I remember it being comparable to Chapel Hill's Mariakakis/Quickee Take-Out when that place was at its best, which it wasn't always.)

When I came back to Durham after my third (and longest and final) stint out of town (1992-2001), I went looking for Annamaria's, having not been there since probably the late 1970s -- and was mystified by not even being able to find the building. Was I even in the right part of town? Maybe I was confusing two similar areas...

This story clears up my confusion. Of course I wouldn't recognize the building, because now there isn't one.

There is something evil about our property-ownership system being set up in such a way that a cultural institution like Annamaria's, even decimated as it was by the loss of Bat, is implicitly somehow less "valuable" than a parking lot.

Bat's was within walking distance of where I lived off campus 1977 - 1979. Even had a "Spags and Balls" t-shirt. And the pizza was marvelous!

This is awesome!!! Annamarie is actually my grandmother-in-law, she is still alive and well and tells me stories of the pizza house. I am engaged to her grandson- David Kearney- son of Terry and Rosemary Kearney. And i love granny sooo much she is really one in a million!

We actually still have the pleasure of eating her spags n balls n her awesome lasgna!!

We loved Annamaria's food and atmosphere, frequented the place as far back as 1970--when the Ivy Room was around the corner from it, on Main St.

Listen, if anyone wants to say hi to Annamaria, go to Roses in North Duke Crossing. She works there and my husband sees and speaks to her regularly.

As I recall, Annamaria and Bat's was the only place to get pizza in 1957 when I graduated. My wife and I remember going there in the spring of '57. It was crowded, but the pizza was great. Prior to 1957, about the only other place for pizza was the Rathskeller in that other town nearby.

We met Bat and Anna when we moved to Durham in '67. Used to take our three year old son there for dinners. Always a good pizza and plenty of good banter with Bat. The article brought back lots of memories.

dyingstAlot of us kids from Jordan High School ate at Annamaria's and at
Mario's on the BLVD. Great memories of times gone by. What ever happened to Georges Pizza Palace at Five Points? He started around the same time that Bat did...

I was a Bat's regular in the early to late 70's. I have a few of the comic books from the place (about 10 teenage "love" comics and a few westerns). Bat was a really good guitar player. He had short, stubby fingers which he applied to a cheap acoustic with nylon strings. He'd walk around and stop at a table with a young Duke couple and would leeringly ask the girl, "how's this guy treating you !?" to the laughter of his regulars.

One time in the late 70's Bat closed the place for a private going away party for Andy Berlin and John C. (I'm blocking on his last name), two regulars were re-locating to California. Bat threw beers from a cooler to everyone and ended up belly dancing Not a pretty sight, but an entertaining one for an appreciative audience.

Having eaten hundreds  of Annamaria's meatball and Italian subs, I can gladly attribute at least 10% of my present cholesterol points to eating at Bat's. I wouldn't trade those points, or times, for anything.- Peter Kramer/Hillsborough

I loved reading these memories about Annamaria's. It was a favorite place to go for my whole crowd from 1963 until we grew up and moved away in the 1970's. The Brogden Jr. High and Durham High football and basketball teams and all the cheerleaders always went there for pizza after our home games and the Dukies tolerated us. I can still hear Bat sing and yell the orders back to Anne through the little window to the kitchen. Very fond memories of days long gone.

Thanks. Great memories. My wife (of 40 years) and I had our first date there in 1970.

It was great to find these stories,photos,and comments about"Bats".Ate there in 1983 when my ex husband attended Duke.AnnaMaria never wrote down anyone's order.It always amazed me how she could take everyone at the table's order,never write it down,and always get it right.

Reading the story about Annamaria's brought back many memories. I used to go with Mom to Annamaria's back in the day (that had to be in the 50's). She and Bat got along famously and I am sure she and he would sit around and tell stories to each other of the days back in Jersey and New York. I remember when the restaurant was within walking distance of Carr Junior High (between North Duke and Gregson). Can see Bat and that big smile as if it were yesterday!

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