Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > New Jersey >
May 21, 2012 10:01 AM

Grimaldi's Coal Brick Oven Pizzeria.....$5 Bucks For Bread? What's Up With That?

Before I go any further, please note I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and would definitely go back....... regardless of the $5 bread charge.

I don't often go to new restaurants, preferring to allow them to get the kinks out first, but after golf yesterday with my nephew and his friends, they wanted to go out for pizza and this place was only a slight detour to get to.....Since it was before 6:00 PM, we figured the wait would not be very long, and we were correct, as we were seated immediately.

The menu is very limited with pizza, Calzone.....and a handful of appetizers, salads and entrees. They also listed a few daily specials in addition.

All in all, the food was good and the portions seemed very large for what was ordered ( and what I viewed of items from passing and on other tables ) fact, I would say pricing is down right inexpensive and very cheap for family dining or sharing with others.....without any loss of quality suffered in products served. Pizza and Entrees start at $10-12 dollars. Toppings for pizza are $2-4 dollars.

We ordered three items....

One Antipasto ( $12 ): Genoa Salami, Fresh Mozzarella, Roma Tomatoes, Oven Roasted Red Peppers, Sicilian Olives and Artichoke Hearts. .... Served with Romaine Lettuce, but our plate did not come with the Oven Roasted Red Peppers and no mention was made of the omission.

Two Large Pizzas, 18 Inches: ( $10 ): Sausage Topping ( $2 )

Plain Cheese with Fresh Mozzarella and three small leaves of fresh Basil

Sausage and Fresh Mozzarella and three small leaves of fresh Basil. The sausage is crumble style and had nice flavor.

Points to note:

Looks like a nice bar with tables available for dining

Upon entering, there is a large Salad Bar cover with Linen....looks strange, remnants of the old Charlie Brown Restaurant. I would suggest they display some fresh produce or some other items they use on their menu. The current display is an eyesore.

Service is warm and friendly, but food coming out of the kitchen needs polishing.

i don't quite understand the toppings price structure on Jalapeno Peppers and Extra Grated Cheese...sausage, pepperoni and bacon are ( $2-3 )......the Jalapeno Peppers are ( $4 )....and the Grated Cheese is ( $1 )......the latter is on the table for free

The FIVE DOLLAR bread charge. ...there is no bread offered when you sit down. After receiving the Antipasto, a request was made for bread. The reply was bread was only served with entrees and there would be a $5 charge for bread otherwise. Although I respect the right of any business to set it's policies, this one seems a little silly to me. I'm pretty sure many like myself like bread with their salad. There's also two other traditional appetizers on the menu....Meatballs in Red Sauce and Eggplant Rollatini....both which many, like myself, would like to be served with bread. Given that an entree is only $10-12, and served with bread...the question begs, is the $5 amount used to calculate the food cost value of the menu item , or to recover costs? For the record it's a stupid question to ask, and be asked. instead of my memory of a pleasant experience and enjoyed my food, I am left instead with the thought of being charged for bread. I guess I should be grateful the charge was disclosed before it was served. Now I'll know their policy for the future.

With regards to the bread charge, in comparison, you can order the following for 2-3 dollars more....
* 12 inch Personal Pizza for ( $6 )
* 16 inch Small Pizza for ( $8 )
* 12 inch personal White for ( $8 )

Without knowing what the bread will actually look like and if it would be served with a Tapenade, Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Real Butter....... I do realize it's like comparing apple to's just that bread is often given for free or a nominal charge......I do not consider bread at $5 to be nominal, considering the pricing of the rest of the menu.

btw...I declined to order the bread....but I will be back.


1296 Van Houten Ave
Clifton, NJ 07013
(973) 777-0061

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Is this location connected with the one in highlands?

    4 Replies
      1. re: fourunder

        I guess if I lived near the Highlands, I'd give it a shot. I've yet to read anything that would want me to go out of my way to visit Grimaldi's. I will visit a certain restaurant that is sited across the street - that's worth the 15 minute ride to the Highlands.

        I've got to get my tail on over to Vesuvio's before the holiday begins and the hordes of college kids start making their way to Bradley>Belmar.

        And a slight digression (for shore pizzarias), I will NOT eat any Grandma's pie unless it's from Pizza Orsillo's (in Somerset). By far the best that I've had anywhere. Damiano takes great pride in what he does in that store of his. Sauce is outstanding, fresh ingredients, and there's never any 'cinching' on the garlic. Brought home a large and a personal whole wheat (for my bride), and the family was in full agreement after hearing me talk how wonderful the Grandma version is here.

        1. re: JustJake

          I can't say I have been to either of the places you have mentioned, but thanks for the tips and I'll add them to the list of pizza to try should I ever be in their area.

          1. re: fourunder

            My pleasure. Orsillo's is on Cedar Grove Rd. in a strip mall with the GrandMaMa just so good. Vesuvios' is on 10th Ave. in Belmar right next to Jacks by the train station.

    1. That's ridiculous. I don't think I've run across something like this before. Perhaps they only have a certain amount of bread for the entrees, and this is a deterrent.

      6 Replies
      1. re: tommy

        The bread is made from their Pizza dough.

        1. re: fourunder

          Yeah, I figured that might be the case. They only have so much, so I can understand that they wouldn't want to throw some on every table.

          1. re: tommy

            They do not offer sandwiches......but, inspired by the Cheap Big Mac thread.....they have fried eggplant on the toppings offerings for ( $4 ). Combined with bread at ( $5 ), How much do you think the sandwich would cost.......9 bucks or less?

            1. re: fourunder

              In Italy and most of Europe, bread and water are charged for....I look at it this way....if the bread is there I am going to eat it....if it is not on the table....well maybe not such a bad thing, considering my belly could use a little if it is fresh baked Pizza bread....then $5 is reasonable...but the servers should be clear...

              1. re: PHREDDY

                As I indicated, a restaurant has the right to make any policies and charge for anything they want.....but don't you think they would be better served if they posted this charge for bread on their menu and promoted the fact it is made from their fresh pizza dough? You are also assuming it is made fresh, and not sitting a round and being reheated....which I can neither confirm or deny.

                For the record, i find the mention with reference to Italy and most of Europe, I do for most arguments relating to food or service....but in the case for the United States, most restaurants factor in total food costs before assigning a price to a menu consideration is bread and a fixed amount for cost is applied in determining the price of menu item.

                1. re: PHREDDY

                  Looking at their original restaurant opening, they featured steaks prominently.....and with promotional pricing to entice you to give it a try. I fear they are doing the same with their Pizza....if the prices change dramatically in the near future, then I may not have the same favorable position on them. Even if they raise everything a couple of dollars, it would still be more inexpensive than most Pizzeria's, but they are not indicating this as a soft opening.

                  A check on the Highlands website indicates everything is more expensive than in Clifton. In fact, the $10 Large Pizza in Clifton is $16 in Highlands....and the $12 Entree in Clifton is $15 in Highlands.. That's a pretty considerable difference and would be quite an significant increase should the same pricing follow.


      2. where is the one in Green Brook is what i would like to know???/

        50 Replies
          1. re: jrvedivici

            I may have to reconsider after viewing that pic Vedivici. Maybe I'll try the Green Brook one as I work nearby.

            1. re: JustJake

              The fresh mozzarella was better on the pizza than the Antipasto.....not very creamy or soft like most fresh mozzarella. I would agree that a request for slightly more char might be in order, as suggested by the RF comments..

              1. re: fourunder

                I don't even like the typical fresh mozz on pizza. It doesn't melt well, and doesn't taste like all that much. The "aged" stuff works better for me, or, of course, mozzarella di bufala. This is part of the reason Grimaldi's and its ilk don't put much lead in my pencil. I find their pies, with the lack of oven spring and overly dry crust, uninteresting. But better than 99% of the local pizza places that are supposed to be good.

                1. re: tommy

                  I would consider the fresh mozzarella on the Antipasto to be of *Low Moisture* character. or content.....I suspect it was the same put on the pizza and it melted fine, not like others I've had in places that offer fresh mozzarella claiming the chee is mad in house. One slice was taken home and it did not cause the crust to be wet in any way......unlike pizza leftovers taken home from Brooklyn, Hackensack.

                  When a fork was stuck into the cheese slices on the Antipasto, the cheese actually broke in half....

                  Your thoughts on cheese are similar to mine on's why I like Frank Pepe. they use low moisture slices, not grated .

            2. re: jrvedivici

              re: jrvedivici: I looked there on google also but i am 99% certain that the old Charlie Browns in Green Brook is still just that-an old Charlie Browns and not a Grimaldis.. Can anyone confirm this?

              1. re: foobuc

                I cannot confirm nor deny....just what I found. I have never eaten at Grimaldi's however the Atlantic Highlands location would be considered the local for me and I have heard very mixed reviews just as this thread seems to have. It is my understanding the original in Brooklyn is outstanding.....but like so many other things when it comes to dough or pastery etc. it seems there is truly something about the water in Brooklyn that makes their dough different than anywhere else. That can also be the case for the mozzarella as well if they are using local water at their different locations that can have a dramtic affect on the outcome of the mozz.

                1. re: jrvedivici

                  The water likely has little to do with it. Other factors, like how well the kitchens are run and the experience of the staff, actually impact the final product.

                  Not sure if they are making their own cheese. I would think not, but could be wrong.

                  1. re: tommy

                    I am not a baker myself however I do know many who do attest to the different quality of New York water vs. New Jersey for baking purposes.....with regard to making homemade mozzarella I have made hundreds if not thousands of fresh mozzarella in my life and the water type and the water/salt ratio can dramatically change the final mozzarella product. I have even gone to the extent of using sea water which I understood was common place in Italy....however the salt content must vary or our flat out pollutants of our local sea water must vary greatly from theirs because I never liked the taste of the sea water mozzarella that I have made. I stick to sea salt.

                    1. re: jrvedivici

                      They buy their mozzarella. Probably due to consistency and issues of practicality.

                      People say that you can't get a good bagel outside of NY or good pizza, because of the water. That's demonstrably untrue. Poor pizza makers and poor bagel makers make poor pizza and poor bagels. It has little to do with the water. In fact many pizza places use filtered water. There is nothing special about Brooklyn water that makes the pizza there better than the pizza in Clifton.

                      1. re: tommy


                        Having bought and sold many types of bread and speaking to Bakery is believed that the water south of New Brunswick will create a different final product than from the north above. Most of the large bakeries have set Newark/Harrison as the boundary (back in the day). Some say that the old pipes in the water mains have an effect as well, but I really have no idea about that. Calandra's and DiPaolo would probably subscribe to that theory. I believe Calandra's Fairfield location boast they truck the water in from Newark to make their products.

                        Many years ago, the first to tell me this was a guy named Sam Fields.....owner of Phechter/Fields. He told me they specifically selected the Harrison location after testing the water.

                        I believe in general terms....The PH levels in *hard water* is not desirable as it neutralizes the acidity developed during yeast fermentation. Whether truth or lore, the water in this area is what allows us to have the excellent crusty bread we take for granted.

                        As for Brooklyn water....doesn't it come from the Catskills Mountains and Hudson Vally Watersheds? I have been told by old Hackensack Water Company managers that the water in the Catskills and Northern New Jersey are similar in properties.

                        I agree with you about the good/bad assessment

                        1. re: fourunder

                          Why have I been able to get good crusty bread all over the world?

                          1. re: tommy

                            they must have used soft water.....

                            1. re: fourunder

                              From the catskills.

                              It might be important, or perhaps even humorous, to note that Grimaldi's in clifton claims they bring in Brooklyn water.

                              1. re: tommy

                                In this case.....I have my humorous.

                                  1. re: tommy

                                    In challenges like this, i.e. to figure out if it is true that they bring the water in from Brooklyn, or not......If I am wrong in my doubts, I would welcome to be proven wrong and offer my apologies.

                                    While they could certainly bottle the water for transit, this seems highly unlikely, as the amount of water needed would have to be stored until used....I would imagine at the very least, a small truckload would have to be transported as well, as it would not be very efficient to make daily trips....unless of course one lives in Brooklyn and makes a daily trip to work. The practical move would be to install a tank.....but I saw no such thing in the parking lot or annexed to the building. If get back there, I'll have to make an effort to see if such a thing exists.

                            2. re: tommy

                              btw.....I can say from my golf travels all over the country....with the exception of California.....I have never had any good crusty bread, whether it be a nice Steakhouse or Italian Restaurant. I also have not found any good crusty rolls for a hero sandwich either. Most Italian Bread was of the softer variety. I'm sure it exists, I just haven't been fortunate to have it.

                              1. re: fourunder

                                I suspect that has more to do with the restaurants than the complete and utter lack of ability of anyone in that region to bake crusty bread without that wonderful Catskills agua. Wouldn't you agree?

                                1. re: tommy

                                  I would agree the restaurants determine which bread they choose,....and many choose poorly. Having watched many segments on various shows featuring bakeries....I know there are many that make exceptional bread....Italian/French/Artisan...all over the country. If one of these places were near my business, I would seek them out......

                                  While there are many good bakeries local to us here in NNJ.....if there were not, then I would seek out something from Balthazar (Englewood), Sullivan Street, Eli's or the like. across the river...

                                  1. re: fourunder

                                    "If one of these places were near my business, I would seek them out......"

                                    Me too. But then I'd have to charge 5 bucks for it. :)

                                    OK, I feel badly this thread has gone off course. They use brooklyn water and buy their mozz, so if the pizza isn't good, it's not due to those two factors, but due to the fact they aren't making pizza as good as their other places.

                                    1. re: tommy

                                      Don't feel badly....I certainly do not.

                                      For the record, I did enjoy their pizza...but if it tops out at $16 like the Highlands location in the future.......I would not rush to get back there. Lodi and Pizzatown are closer to home

                                      1. re: fourunder

                                        Totally different styles! Uh boy, here we go.

                                          1. re: fourunder

                                            I didn't hate it. But Lodi/Pizzatown are not making NY-Neapolitan style pizza like Grimaldi's is. If I have a craving for one, the other won't satisfy.

                                              1. re: fourunder

                                                Hahahaha ok then can we all agree I was right the water can play a part in it!?!?!?!

                                                As far as your travels (and mine as well) and finding or not finding good crusty bread I offer you both this insight. While I myself do enjoy a nice hard crust on a bread MOST restaurant owners will not purchase such bread for table consumption or sandwhiches (unless an Italian deli or sandwhich shop). Why? Very simply alot of people have soft teeth and gums and hard crust isn't the most easily chewed and when people sit down at a restaurant bread is one of the first things they receive so if you immediately turn them off with the bread then you don't get a second chance to make a first impression. That is why 75%-80% of restaurants chose a soft crusted bread/rolls.

                                                Also with response to people trucking water in from Brooklyn or other area's for their baking etc......I do find that highly unlikely however what I know places do is this....the dough water/flour mixture is done and portioned into individual loaves and trucked to the location in Jersey or where ever to be baked!! Remember "Baked on Premises" doesn't mean the dough was prepared on premises.....that is much more common a practice.

                                                1. re: jrvedivici

                                                  I know of at least one place who does really bring in the water from Brooklyn. In 5 gallon containers. I guess it really depends on the volume of pizza dough being made daily, but it wasn't really a big deal for the place I know of. I used to work for a place that did the same thing, and he was pretty high volume and it didn't seem to be an issue for him either. He had family who would make a weekly trip and bring the water.

                                                  Whether the water makes it better or not, I'm not qualified to tell you. But, I do know that the Food Network did a test on this on the show Food Detectives with Ted Allen. They had a NYC pizza chef cook two identical pies with the only difference being the water, with the containers labeled 1 and 2 if i recall correctly. Only the producers knew which water was from where. Then they had a few celebrity judges pick which pizza they liked better, and they all picked the pizza made with NYC water.

                                                  Whether or not it makes it better, i dont know, but I'm pretty convinced it makes a difference.

                                                  1. re: coldsolderjoint

                                                    Doesn't Newark and perhaps surrounding towns such as Harrison, etc. still get their water from the Pequannock Watershed? That water, coming from Clinton, Cannistear and Charlottesburg reservoirs, should have the same ph and mineral/nutrients as the Catskill watersheds supplying NYC.

                                                    1. re: coldsolderjoint

                                                      Lets get a bit technical on this for a minute.. a quick google search shows that most pizza dough recipies call for 1 cup of water per pie. There are 16 cups in a gallon, and 80 cups in a 5 gallon container. 80 pies is a lot of pizza. so even if a place is selling 300 pies a night, they would only require around 19 gallons, or (4) 5 gallon containers.. That can easily fit into the trunk of a large car. The poland spring office water dispenser jugs are usually 5 gallons.

                                                      There probably isn't a need for installing a water tank for holding trucked in Brooklyn water at a pizzeria in NJ.

                                                      1. re: coldsolderjoint

                                                        Let's look at it this way based on you figures.......the tolls and gas cost a $50, 30/20 respectively. Minimum 2 hours travel time, labor assessed at $15/hr, for an extension of $30. Based on those simple expenses...not including wear and tear on the vehicle, overtime and the actual cost of the water.....the total is $80 for the 19 gallons of water. While that's only about a quarter to add to the food cost,....It make no sense to incur the time and effort to do it on a daily basis for an extension of only bringing in $3000 on an operation that probably needs to double that figure, at minimum to survive.

                                                        1. re: fourunder

                                                          There is an intangible value that a consumer may be willing to pay based simply upon perception. People pay a premium for sh*t all the time because they believe it's "special."

                                                          1. re: MGZ

                                                            This is very true, but there is a difference between a claim and what is actually done....e.g. a seafood or Italian restaurant claiming they fly is their fish from all over the world especially for them.

                                                            .....currently the pizza price at Grimaldi's is down right cheap....especially for a sit down restaurant. Other Brick Oven joints are charging $18-20 for smaller pies. The Grimaldi name has the famed history and reputation...but the pizza had it's original recipe beginnings in Harlem, if not mistaken. I believe they are going more so for the name in this case, not the dough made with Brooklyn water.

                                                            Personally, I have considered the bread served in restaurants ....maybe not for picking it as the place to go to....but definitely in deciding to say yes, rather than no..

                                                            1. re: fourunder

                                                              Their website, which isn't very easy to find, doesn't specify this whole brooklyn water nonsense. That was noted in a Bergen Record article. So, I have to wonder if it was just lip service.

                                                              Related, is this a franchise at this point? Various family members doing their own thing? Every website for each of their locations is different, and they're all a mess. It's unbelievable. And whose idea was it to open Grimaldi's as a pizza/steakhouse, in a former Charlie Browns location, and call it Grimaldi's/CB Steakhouse? It's just a mess on so many levels, I can't stop looking.

                                                              1. re: tommy

                                                                I cannot recall the principles that purchased Charlie Brown's from bankruptcy, but I can only surmise they sold off the Green Brook and Clifton locations to the principles of Grimaldi's, who are operating those specific location.

                                                                As I noted in the original post...the place needs polishing. The parking lot could use some maintenance, especially a good sweep....They also have two old banquette seating sofas outside....presumable for waiting. They advertise *outdoor seating*, but i did not notice it, but then again, I was not looking for it either.

                                                                1. re: tommy

                                                                  one of the worst websites ever. 1st time I clicked on it it was in Albanian. I work around the block and have not seen more than a half dozen cars in a parking lot that probably has 200 spaces. I think they have a tough road in Clifton. There's already top notch pizza(different styles) and inexpensive ethnic food of every stripe. Montclair is also minutes away.

                                                            2. re: fourunder

                                                              No, I get what your saying and your numbers make sense.. but having worked in the restaurant industry. It isn't always as cut and dry as that.

                                                              I'm not sure your $15 per hour figure is right, most line cooks aren't even getting paid that much.. so I doubt a delivery boy who would make the run is getting that.. but that's not the point of my post.

                                                              The owner of one place I know of has a friend who has family in Brooklyn, and is going over there every week or every two weeks as it is. So a few 5 gallon containers in the trunk is really $0 out of pocket.

                                                              And if the restaurant got so busy to need 19 gallons of water a day for just dough.. they wouldn't do it on a daily basis, they'd get a van or small truck, and load up on it. So the Gas and Tolls figure is spread out among many more gallons of water. Water is heavy around 8 lbs a gallon, but for the amount we are talking here, I could fit over 100 gallons in the back of my small pick-up no problem, which using our theoretical numbers is enough for a week.

                                                              We could go back and forth all day on numbers without knowing the real facts, but the point of my post is to just say that there are restaurants who DO actually bring in the water from Brooklyn. I've seen it with my own eyes.

                                                          2. re: coldsolderjoint

                                                            First, the thread discussing the Food Network experiment referenced:


                                                            Next, a link to a more scientifc exploration of the issue of the effect of the water on pizza:


                                                          3. re: jrvedivici

                                                            Hahahaha ok then can we all agree I was right the water can play a part in it!?!?!?!

                                                            I do believe the water makes a difference......however, I do not believe the water from Brooklyn, or the Bronx...... is better than the water available in Northern new Jersey. Over the years in running parties at the Country Club, special orders for bread and cakes were ordered from many prominent bakeries from the NY/NJ Metropolitan area......I also made many a purchase from various bakeries personally from recommendations whenever i was in any particular area at the time. If there was a competition putting these highly regarded NY bakeries against NJ ones.....there's more than a few NJ bakeries that would beat their NY it bread, cake or pastries.

                                                            1. re: jrvedivici

                                                              "Hahahaha ok then can we all agree I was right the water can play a part in it!?!?!?!"


                                                              1. re: tommy

                                                                @ Fourunder to answer an earlier question of yours the parent company that bought Charlie Browns out of Bk is Praesidian Capital. Charlie Browns did not own the majority of their locations so most likely they just closed the locations in Green Brook and Clifton and discharged the back rent in the Bk hearings. Grimaldi's just had to sign a new lease and take the place over......Charlie Browns never gave prior notice to the locations they were closing so most of them were still fully stocked....stores received phone calls the day of closure telling the managers to send the employees home and lock the door that location was no longer operating.

                                                                Side question Fourunder did you ever have a fourunder on a par 5?

                                                                @ Tommy.......not being sarcastic or antagonistic but did you see the links provided somewhere above about the research/studies regarding varying water's? Even I was surprised to see the results. If not check it out....interesting stuff. Again I have no formal opinion or experience but I do know people who do and they do swear that water makes a difference...that’s all I can say.

                                                                1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                  Which links are you referring to?

                                                                  This one?

                                                                  Where they conclude: "As far as pizza goes, use whatever water you want. Mathieu uses Lower East Side tap water. Clearly, the small differences that arise naturally in the course of making a good pizza by hand far outweigh the minor differences that water could make."

                                                                  I was not surprised to see the results.

                                                                  1. re: tommy

                                                           actually I was just speaking about the top link they/he provided which brought you to a prior Chow Thread.

                                                                    The second one which you copy pasted above was strictly about bottled water which I don't think really apply's to this conversation at all since we or the discussion here was about Brooklyn, Bronx, N. Jersey tap water. I'm not surprised with those results either.

                                                                    1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                      A handful of people discussing the results of an extremely poorly executed and unscientific taste test on a TV show hardly qualifies to my mind as "research" or "studies." The taste test was for entertainment and flawed and should be dismissed as such.

                                                                      1. re: tommy

                                                                        True poor selection of words on my behalf as I'm reading this and posting while between more pressing tasks at work. My bad. Anyway point say water doesn't matter......I believe it does and with that we agree to disagree...enough said...this probably deserved it's own bread....hahah thread that is!!

                                                                        1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                          Next we can discuss how searing "seals in the juices."

                                                                          1. re: tommy

                                                                            I would prefer to discuss the many advantages and benefits of wet aging vs. dry aging steaks. (joke)

                                                                  2. re: jrvedivici

                                                                    Never a one or two on a five, but many 3's and 4's........and 6's and 7's.....but never a snowman

                                                                    Thanks for the information on the history....Pc mad a great deal......however, I think it was more than just taking over any lease, due to the fact liquor licenses were involved, which have to be purchased and transferred to new owners with township approval for any specific location....the new owners must also past background checks as well.

                                                                    1. re: fourunder

                                                                      It’s funny I kept reading your name as Four-Runder took me a while to get the four under. Not to get too off topic but after 30+ years of golf I have never had a hole in one however I do have an eagle. I consider it the best of both worlds since my second shot went in was from about 175 yards away similar to a tee shot on a par 3 and the green was slightly elevated so I assumed my ball went off the back of the green when I lost sight of it.

                                                                      The deal for Charlie Browns was ridiculously good if memory serves me correct PC wound up paying about 500k per open location. I think it was about 8million for 16 locations or something close to that. The closure/bk thinned the chain to about half its size and closed the under performing stores so PC really got the cream of the crop. The chain itself wasn't in "trouble" if it weren't for the scandal with D’anton the former CEO. Because of his kickbacks with the GC’s he intentionally over expanded the brand to line his own pockets diluting the franchise.

                                                                      Regarding the liquor licenses there are more ways to “skirt” the laws regarding the holding and use of licenses then there are new self serve yogurt stores opening up in NJ. CB’s structure of handling the transfers was on the more legit side of things but like anything else if scrutinized who knows what faults could be found.

                                                                  3. re: tommy

                                                                    Having baked bagels for many years in NY and NJ the water issue is crap. I find that except for a few places I worked in LI in the 60's and 70's the bagels are beter here (in NJ) than NY. The places that were comparable were because the bagels were handmade (not a guarantee) not made by bagel machines.

                            3. I finally made my second visit here after three months from my first visit and this original post. The short review would be a fair visit at best.....undercooked pizza and overcooked Calamari & pasta. Also, as I suspected, the price of the large pizza increased to $14. from $10.....however, they did not charge me $5 for bread when requested. I do not know if this was due to a policy change, or due to the fact we had ordered two entrees. No Olive oil or butter was offered with the bread.

                              I do not know the true reason why, but there was no Draught Beer available in the restaurant.. The waitress explained to us that it was due to the fact they were out and expecting a delivery ....but then later, I overheard the bartender explaining to a couple that they were in the process of changing the lines. If this is important to your experience, I suggest a call to confirm when and if available.

                              For dinner, we settled on ordering the following:

                              Large Pizza......made with fresh mozzarella, sauce and basil. The pizza looked good, but oddly it wasn't piping hot and the crust was not crisp. I would not expect this from a hot, or coal fired oven.

                              Large Salad. .....fresh and crisp. No complaints with quality, but I don't like the use of plastic souffle cups to serve dressing.

                              Fried Calamari...... Cut into very small pieces and a little over-cooked for my tastes.

                              Chicken Parmesan......Nice portion of Chicken, tender with a pleasant sauce and melted fresh mozzarella.....served over pasta

                              Sausage and Broccoli Rabe....Nice portion and balance of Sweet Sausage and Broccoli Rabe served over pasta in a garlic infused light sauce.

                              It should be noted that Grimaldi's offers different types of pasta for you to choose when part of your entree. We chose Rigatoni, but unfortunately, for both dishes it was over-cooked to the point the Rigatoni was flat and did not hold their tubular shape. Also, the prices for the entrees have increased $2-3 per entree since my original post, starting @ $14, instead of $12.

                              Since I made a point of noting the issue of bread in my original post and here.....I should make a point of mentioning after we were finished with dinner, I asked the server to pack up the leftover dinner and leftover bread as well. She whisked away the dinner plates, but left the bread on the table. When she returned with the wrapped package, she was kind enough to tell us she included fresh bread for us in the package.

                              With three bottled beers and two soft drinks......all in for $80 before tip.

                              14 Replies
                              1. re: fourunder

                                So it could be said that perhaps your original post was incorrect, bread is free but butter or oil costs $5.00! I find the beer story to be interesting, if your changing the lines your changing the lines no big deal. So why isn't the waitress on the same page? Sound more like the lines haven't been cleaned in awhile and was providing a little extra funk to the beer which no establishment wants to admit. Just a guess of course!

                                1. re: jrvedivici

                                  With regards to the bread.....on my first visit, when I requested some bread for the Antipasto, the waitress went off, only to return and tell me there would be a $5 I was not incorrect about that. She said bread only came with entrees....but I will add in today's world, some owners will charge you for anything....including water. The worst charge I have ever encountered was at 410 Bank Street in Cape May.....$5 for ice in an old 5# sour cream bucket that sat on the floor to keep a bottle on Non-Alcoholic wine cold. This was back in the late 80s.

                                  With regards to the beer....the bar had two brass towers...the standard ones you see with 4-6 tap per tower......all the handles were removed. i would agree that the lines were compromised.

                                  1. re: fourunder

                                    I was just joking about being incorrect with your original story. Sorry if that didn't come across.

                                    1. re: jrvedivici

                                      No apologies...I understood from your *exclamation point* follow-up was a prelude to bashing 410 Bank Street.....which i have been doing since that ill fated day 25 years ago......some things I just can't let go.

                                      1. re: fourunder

                                        Just out of curiosity is 410 Bank Street still in business? I can say I honestly don't ever recall being charged for bread or ice for that matter.....although I guess it could have happened if I wasn't paying attention.

                                        1. re: jrvedivici

                                          I believe 410 Bank Street is still in experience not withstanding, many of my friends have been very disappointed in the place and no longer go there, nor recommend them as a Cape May destination restaurant....based on their food and service.

                                          With regards to paying for wine glass or ice set-ups......the practice or policy is illegal in the State of New Jersey.

                                          As for bread, I have no problem paying for bread in general...especially if it's unique and or exceptional. The reason why I made mention of it with Grimaldi's was twofold.......first, it's served in most Italian restaurants as a cost of doing business and it enhances most everything on the menu. Second, the charge seemed unreasonable and extreme, especially when you consider the opening prices for pizza was $5-10 depending on size.

                                          1. re: fourunder

                                            I was unaware of the legal or illegal practice of charging for a glass or ice.....however that is just sheer stupidity on an establishments behalf because charging a "corking" fee is legal, correct?

                                            I undestand and agree completely with your stance regarding the bread charge I'm not doubting or questioning you in away about that.

                                            1. re: jrvedivici

                                              A corkage fee is not allowed at non-licensed restaurants. But some restaurants try to get around it, either by trying to charge a fee, or charging for ice or buckets or whatever.

                                              There's a BYOB Asian buffet in north jersey that makes you by a soda if you want a glass for wine. It's not a place I'll return to.

                                              1. re: tommy

                                                Ahhhh yes the clarification of non-licensed establishments. I have charged "corking" fees over the years with no problems however I have always had a license. Thank you for the clarification!

                                                1. re: jrvedivici

                                                  The answer has been provided by sir t, Only licensed premises can charge a corkage fee, and I believe if they allow an outside bottle in their premise, they are actually required to charge a corkage fee by statute. This may have changed over the years, but I do remember the statute existed., ......but the irony of BYOB, is that if a business chooses to do so, they basically lose on on any beverage sales unless the table chooses.....say bottled water or a soda here and there.

                                                  The State makes no money on (ABC) fees or sales taxes from the restaurant........the only one who makes any money are Municipalities who act as WHORES, such as Wall Township. I do not know the exact number, but I believe the town charges restaurants that allow BYOB to register with them either through the Health Department or Police Department.....I seem to recall the fee was $1000-1500. The reason given for the local ordinance is so the Police Department can know where alcohol is being consumed....which is a bunch of crap.

                                                  It's probably been a couple of years, but this matter was discussed here on the NJ board and I made a subsequent call to the town to confirm....

                                                  1. re: jrvedivici

                                                    I don't mean this in a confrontational way, but it comes more out of curiosity: how did you have a liquor license on NJ and not be aware of this basic part of it? I've actually seen this at a few places. One restaurant refused to let me leave with an unfinished bottle of wine, claiming it was against the law. I left with it and returned with a printout of the ABC laws. The manager was impressed that I could do that. I was not impressed that he was impressed. The restaurant went under a year later and the a chain moved in.

                                                    1. re: tommy

                                                      I was unaware it was illegal for a BYOB to charge a corking fee. How didn't I know this, I never actively managed a BYOB. I have owned and operated and held several liquor licenses and have charged people a corking fee when they have brought their own bottle.

                                                      1. re: jrvedivici

                                                        Got it. That makes more sense to me.

                                                        Although I'm still somewhat surprised that someone involved in purchasing or managing a liquor license isn't aware of the overall laws of the ABC. But I can understand it.

                                                        1. re: tommy

                                                          In case you are unaware but there is no ABC test or requirements to obtain a liquor license in NJ. Any clown with the money and a clear back ground check can obtain one with relative ease. I just happen to have a big red nose, oversized floppy shoes, a rainbow wig and a clear background check.

                                                          I know what I need to know to operate the businesses which I had an active hand in managing. The rest of details well that's why you have good attorneys and accountants.