According to a news report on, “After crossing the bridge and entering Old Pasadena, there were other signs of struggle: boarded-up storefronts bruised walls on old buildings and stained pavements.”

“Yet, here and there, good places to eat were popping up. Inspired by low rents, places with names like Swagman’s Grill, Recycler, Italian Fisherman, Kuala Lumpur, Ernie Jr.’s and Manny’s Pizzeria were becoming advance agents for the sweeping social reforms that Old Pasadena enjoys today. But since 1986, in the war to lift Old Pasadena’s 10-square-block area from a slum to a monument to preservation, more than 100 independent restaurants have come and gone. Only Manny’s Pizzeria, owned and operated by Manny Ghaffari, a former New York City busboy/chef, still stands as the oldest, one-owner restaurant in the neighborhood,” said the story.

“But how has Ghaffari survived for 21 years in a business in which more people fail than succeed?” asked the story.

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