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Wanted: Grandma Pie (Pizza) info

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Fellow hounds, I want to learn everything there is to learn about the Grandma Pie, the thin, square pizza that seem to exist only on Long Island and in Queens. ANY information on the origins of this delicacy, as well as where the best specimens can be found, will be much appreciated. If you know of something that has already been written about Grandma Pie, do let me know.

I'll share everything I learn in Newsday and will let you know when the article appears.

What do I know? I'm from Brooklyn,
Erica Marcus

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  1. King Umberto's, on Hempstead Turnpike in Elmont (not to be confused with Umberto's of New Hyde Park), serves a nice Grandma.

    3 Replies
    1. re: LisaM

      King Umberto is by far the Best Pizza on LI or Queens for that matter. I Lived in Elmont 5 years ago and have moved 2x's, never to find Pizza as good in the locales that I have moved to. Their Grandma is tops. Check out the website.

      Link: http://www.kingumberto.com/

      1. re: Gary

        Michaelangelos "Grand Ma" in Manorville exit 70 on the LIE...Rocks!

        1. re: Gary

          i eat at " the king" at least twice a month

          i love it . I usually go to the formal dinning room
          love the fried capellini.. did you notice they were not in this yeas ZAGAT guide
          how can that be

      2. A lot of places now also carry a Grandpa pizza. This is a thick crust square pizza topped with onions and bread crumbs. This is an actual Sicilian dish called sficione (only a few call it by it's proper name). Interestingly enough, sficione is more like the kind of pizza my Sicilian grandmothers used to make (and luckily for me my mother still makes). I sampled a good version of it at Momma Lombardi's Market, the Italian food store offshoot of the restaurant.

        Some of the other names I've seen for the Grandma pizza are "Brooklyn pizza", "Margarita (or Margherita) pizza" and "Crispino pie". I've seen Margarita and Crispino also used for round pizzas. I have no idea who originated the pizza but they seem to be using the same source because the phrase "spotted (or splashed) with san marzano tomatoes" appears over and over again on various Long Island pizza menus. Sadly, they rarely use real san marzano tomatoes.

        1. I like the grandma pie at Viaggio's on Jericho Tpke in Dix Hills. They use a nice basilly sauce.

          1. I'm not sure if this is what you're looking for, but in Manhattan, at 11 Stone Street, Pizza Italia has a popular round Grandma pie. I have no idea if it is "authentic", but I like it (although I wish the crust were a little crisper). They say they use a different sauce and change the cheese combination in making it. The crust also seems a little thicker than their regular slices.

            1. We recently moved from the area, but Gino's pizza on Long Beach Rd in Rockville Centre was our connection for dynamite Grandma pie.

              this post is making me hungry.......

              1 Reply
              1. re: Scribbler
                m
                Mike in Rhinebeck

                Ahhhh! Ginos in Long Beach. The gold standard in Neapolitan pizza for many years, against which I measure all challengers.

              2. Try Carmela's on Hempstead Turnpike in Franklin Square. They make a good Grandpa as well.

                1. I don't know any history of the grandma slice/pie but they seemingly appeared out of nowhere. My favorite can be found at Pizza Stop on portion road in Farmingville.

                  1. Did you ever do this article? You should!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: richarmstrong

                      I did write this article, and I've exhumed it and posted it on our blog:

                      http://weblogs.newsday.com/features/f...

                      Bear in mind that some of the information may be out of date--I wrote it 5 years ago. (Moderators: let me know if this is not kosher / Erica)

                    2. I ordered the Grandma pie at Pizza Piazza in Florham Park, N.J. an otherwise nondescript place in Morris County. Their regular pie is ok. Their sandwiches are ok.

                      The Grandma pie is a masterpiece. I brought all my friends. Several remarked that they have never eaten a better pie, ever--anywhere.

                      This is a formidable pie. I recommend anyone make the trip.

                      1. Apparently it all started with King Umbertos in the late 80's

                        http://www.kingumberto.com/reviews_ne...

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Petesnap

                          My friend's mom always made this type of pizza for us as an after school snack. I'm sure she learned from her mother, who came from Italy.

                        2. Best I have had is at Frantonis in Williston Park. If you catch it right when it comes out of the oven, expect it to be sloppy, but it can't be beat. Also makes a GREAT grandpa and other varieties of specialty pies.

                          1. Spumoni Gardens (brooklyn), Vinnie's of Mulberry (east islip) and Boccacinni (hampton bays) all have a good grandma.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: jenniebnyc

                              Does Spumoni Garden have a grandma pie that is different from their square "sicilian" version? I was there a couple of weeks ago and only remember seeing sicilian and round on the menu, nothing else. The sicilian pie with the sauce on top was good but much thicker the typical grandma slice you would find in the LI places mentioned above.

                              As mentioned in the emarcus article a grandma pie should be thin-crusted.

                              http://weblogs.newsday.com/features/f...

                              In eastern LI I've found the grandma pie at Roadhouse Pizza (Riverhead) to be very good.

                              1. re: gnocchi

                                no. just the thick crust. it seems quite a few places in manhattan and the outer brs use a thick crust.

                                1. re: gnocchi

                                  I recently had an excellent slice of Grandma pie at Parto's in Riverhead, it had stripes of pesto over the tomato sauce. Very enjoyable.

                              2. One of the best Grandma pies I've ever had is from OPP, that's Ozone Park Pizza, in Ozone Park! And they've been serving it for a very long time!

                                1. If you are in Rockland Co. Posa Posa in Nanuet has a pretty decent grandma.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: michele cindy

                                    I don't think I've ever had their Grandma. My sis-in-law occasionally brings us pizza from Posa Posa, and my son adores the Sicilian- is the Grandma similar?

                                    In Northern NJ there is a place in the Shop Rite shopping center in Englewood called Vittorio's that serves a square pie (slices as well) that is really damn good, though I'm not sure if they actually use the word Grandma. But it's just loaded with garlic, pulpy tomatoes, basil and olive oil, about 1/2" thick crust, maybe a bit less. When I worked in town last year it was a regular stop for my lunch hour.

                                    1. re: TongoRad

                                      Posa Posa's GM sounds similar to the pie you had at Vittorio's. They use fresh mozzerella, but I wish they used more garlic, Vittorio's pie sounds really good. Also, for me, it's better eating the GM at room temp or just warm. It just doesn't work as well as a typical piping hot slice (which is how I like a regular of Sicilian to be.

                                  2. There's a place in the Pelham Bay section of the Bronx that does an excellent Grandma pie. It's called Frank's Pizza, and it's on Middletown Road.

                                    1. If you want to head to Suffolk County try Saviano's of Bohemia. North side of Sunrise Highway. Nice and garlicy

                                      1. For those still on the hunt for good pie...

                                        Was just introduced to the Grandma Pie at Bella Villa in East Brunswick (maybe Milltown)?

                                        Square crispy crust, homemade (slightly sweet sauce), fresh mozzarella, a nice dusting of fresh basil (the shreds, not the whole leaves) and some breadcrumbs for good measure...

                                        It was kind of amazing.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: totallyjersey

                                          Well, I sure got a kick out of seeing this 8-year-old post exhumed!

                                          1. re: emarcus

                                            Erica, It's still clearly a hot topic. The best part is I've now been introduced to your columns (which are a great read).

                                            PS - East Brunswick, NJ. Forgot to clarify that the first time around. I think I just assume that everything good in the world comes from New Jersey.

                                            PPS - I'm clearly prejudiced.