Peter J. Macchia of New Castle, Pa., opened Pete’s Grill in the early 1950s after noting the success Eddie Sezon and other hot dog vendors were enjoying on The Strip. Food service at the resort was shifting from the inns and hotels to fast food that could be “taken out” to the beach or served in a matter of minutes. Further, the less-formal food stands and grills were more accommodating to the beachwear guests wore, eliminating the need to “dress up” before going out to eat.
Pete’s Grill was adjacent to Eddie’s, and there was rivalry between the grill owners. There was nothing low key about Pete Macchia, who worked winters as a waiter in a posh Hollywood, Calif., restaurant that catered to stars.
Pete learned the value of public relations and sponsored young women in the beauty contests held at the Geneva Theater.
He got extra mileage from his sponsorship by having the girls stop at his stand for some publicity photo opportunities.
In the early 1960s, Pete saw greater potential in a live-music venue, opened The Cove and sold Pete’s Grill.