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Wanted: Grandma Pie (Pizza) info

Erica Marcus May 27, 2003 03:22 PM

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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    LisaM RE: Erica Marcus May 27, 2003 06:02 PM

    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
      Gary RE: LisaM May 27, 2003 07:37 PM

      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
        Home Slice RE: Gary May 28, 2003 02:12 AM

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

        1. re: Gary
          Dave RE: Gary Jun 1, 2003 12:07 PM

          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

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        Paul Trapani RE: Erica Marcus May 27, 2003 10:52 PM

        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.

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          Siobhan RE: Erica Marcus May 27, 2003 11:27 PM

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

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            Abrocadabro RE: Erica Marcus May 28, 2003 10:08 AM

            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. s
              Scribbler RE: Erica Marcus May 28, 2003 01:26 PM

              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
                Mike in Rhinebeck RE: Scribbler Jun 7, 2003 04:45 PM

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

              2. k
                KatCara RE: Erica Marcus May 29, 2003 10:06 AM

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

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                  nypb RE: Erica Marcus May 29, 2003 10:53 AM

                  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.

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                    richarmstrong RE: Erica Marcus Aug 31, 2008 06:20 AM

                    Did you ever do this article? You should!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: richarmstrong
                      emarcus RE: richarmstrong Sep 10, 2008 08:41 AM

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


                      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. r
                      rruben1 RE: Erica Marcus Sep 1, 2008 05:11 PM

                      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.

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                        Petesnap RE: Erica Marcus Sep 5, 2008 08:49 AM

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


                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Petesnap
                          michele cindy RE: Petesnap Sep 5, 2008 10:17 AM

                          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. j
                          joelfreak RE: Erica Marcus Sep 8, 2008 12:26 AM

                          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. jenniebnyc RE: Erica Marcus Sep 9, 2008 10:38 AM

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

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: jenniebnyc
                              gnocchi RE: jenniebnyc Sep 11, 2008 06:30 AM

                              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.


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

                              1. re: gnocchi
                                jenniebnyc RE: gnocchi Sep 11, 2008 01:10 PM

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

                                1. re: gnocchi
                                  coll RE: gnocchi Jan 17, 2009 11:21 AM

                                  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. tasaday RE: Erica Marcus Sep 9, 2008 02:23 PM

                                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. michele cindy RE: Erica Marcus Sep 10, 2008 06:38 AM

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

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: michele cindy
                                    TongoRad RE: michele cindy Sep 11, 2008 06:42 AM

                                    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
                                      michele cindy RE: TongoRad Sep 11, 2008 07:33 AM

                                      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. e
                                    Eliserose RE: Erica Marcus Sep 10, 2008 03:40 PM

                                    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. g
                                      gwk222 RE: Erica Marcus Jan 17, 2009 10:49 AM

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

                                      1. t
                                        totallyjersey RE: Erica Marcus Nov 2, 2011 10:31 AM

                                        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
                                          emarcus RE: totallyjersey Nov 3, 2011 10:46 AM

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

                                          1. re: emarcus
                                            totallyjersey RE: emarcus Nov 3, 2011 11:49 AM

                                            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.

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