NYC Restaurant Review: Grimaldi’s Pizzeria

Grimaldi's PizzeriaGrimaldi’s Pizzeria is a New York City classic. Known for their use of irresistible crust, savory sauce, and perfectly crisp premium toppings, Grimaldi’s is the pizzeria you visit when you become tired of the boring, lukewarm dollar slices, and you seek elevation.

With five locations sprinkled across the Greater New York City area, the Grimaldi’s located Under the Bridge takes the pie. Serving up sizzling coal brick-oven pizza, no one walks away from this establishment with an empty stomach or an empty wallet. Affordable, especially by New York City standards, the line for the establishment often trails away from the door and toward scenic views of the Hudson River and the Statue of Liberty.

The cash-only, sorted atmosphere is always part of the experience, where fast-talking, no pause waiters take your order and quickly move on to the next patron. Where pleasantries are sometimes absent, visitors are gifted fresh sausage, robust basil, flavorful mushrooms, and tangy sauce. Other toothsome toppings include sun-dried tomatoes, meatballs, bacon, pineapple, pepperoni, pesto, fresh garlic, onion, capers, ham, and black olives.

The menu here is pretty straight forward. Rather than having a list of elaborate or complicated signature pizzas, Grimaldi’s only peddles the white, and marinara pizza crafted using freshly crushed tomato, homemade dough, and handcrafted mozzarella. The ingredients culminate in a 1000° F coal brick-oven. Aside from the pizza, customers ALSO have access to insalata caprese, antipasto, salads, and a variety of specialty desserts.

Grimaldi’s has an interesting history, which dates back to 1941. The Brooklyn Bridge location sits next door to its original location. Also, the parlor’s original owner now owns a restaurant called Juliana’s Pizza in the original building. Grimaldi’s Pizzeria was founded by Patsy Grimaldi, who learned to create pizza at a young age at Patsy’s Pizzeria in Harlem. Patsy’s Pizzeria was owned by Grimaldi’s uncle, Patsy Lancieri. As an adult, Grimaldi wanted to launch his own business in Manhattan but learned that superior coal-fired brick ovens were illegal in the borough, and so he opened Grimaldi’s Pizzeria in Brooklyn in 1990. Less than a decade later Grimaldi chose to retire, selling the Grimaldi’s name and franchise to restaurateur Frank Ciolli. When the building’s owner opted to decline Ciolli’s lease renewal, he renovated the bank next door and moved into that space. Just one year later, Grimaldi opened Juliana’s in the original building.

Though Grimaldi’s is very much a New York Chain, there are also independently-operated restaurants throughout the nation. Sean McHugh, Patsy Grimaldi’s former partner, operates two locations in Hoboken, New Jersey, and Frank Ciolli and his family operate Grimaldi’s in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, and several other states.