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The pizza shop (24th St., Mission) [San Francisco]

Decent NY style pizza finally hits the mission. Well, technically NJ according to this article, http://sf.eater.com/archives/2014/02/...

There were a few pre-made pizzas with a combination of toppings, and none looked so overloaded that it would compromise the crust. Crusts ranged from very blonde to light brown, presumably to prevent slices from getting burnt upon reheating. I got the $3 cheese slice to go.

The crust survived re-heating better than Gioia's slices do. The slice felt a bit rigid when I folded it in half, but the crunch was perfect, shattering right at the bite with no flaking elsewhere. The top part of the crust had a good elasticity too, which alone makes it much better than what I've had at Rustic on 24th @ Mission. The one fault was the outer rim, which didn't have enough flavor. But that's forgivable--- the cheese and sauce were delicious and had the right taste--- no extra condiments were needed.

The slice didn't strike me as oily, but there was a good amount of drippage, pictured below, on the plate. I'll take that as a good sign and note that it's still less oil than you'd get from the Cheeseboard.

Very impressive for a place that's been open less than a week, and better in every respect except maybe gross unladen weight to the other NY-style competitor in the Mission, Arinell's.

Not sure what their hours will be, but someone with dough slinging skills was making a whole pie just before 10pm.

 
 
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  1. This place is totally legit. The cheese slice is perfect.

    1. I read this late last night and then saw the picture and got really hungry. Need to try this place!

      1. Dissing Arinell just shows you don't know NYC pizza.
        But if this pizza is truly good, theres definitely room for more good slice places in this city where you need to have money to burn or own the real estate to be able to sell something so cheap. I'll have to reserve judgement until I try it since people are always raving about pizza that doesn't fit the bill (much like BBQ).

        2 Replies
        1. re: sfchris

          It may very well match your prototype for the ideal NYC pizza. You should try it out.

          Especially for a place that's been open less than a week, they hit the key points for me. It doesn't perfectly match my idealized slice, but enough that I stand behind my recommendation. The Pizza Shop would not be out of place in NY, but as per personal preference: the slices could be larger and allow for a touch more bubbling on the outer rim. They could also use a bit more charring. Not sure what it signifies, but the drippage didn't look orange enough. I didn't look at any mushroom slices, but I'd hope they're marinated rather than fresh.

          Aside from the squareness, which I do at home because I'm lousy at shaping dough, I have no beef with Arinelli's authenticity. Just like SF has places with great burritos and ones better suited to plugging up potholes, NY has good and bad pizza in the local style, and in a style difficult to find outside the northeast.

          I would eat at cheap and greasy places like Arinell's as a teenager on Long Island. Just like the superior pizzerias my parents took me to, they'd have the requisite thin and dark crust, whole-milk low moisture mozzarella, not too sweet sauce, and oregano in the sauce and/or on each table. But these lower-tier places would often have overcooked and mealy cheese and a dry crust. Some of the worst slices would snap like matzoh when you folded them, and have no elasticity to hold the molten cheese and orange oil in place. This latter experience has happened to me more than once at Arinells.

          1. re: hyperbowler

            Had a cheese and a pepperoni/mushroom slice yesterday.

            The mushrooms are not marinated, but are sliced paper-thin. Likewise the pepperoni, and toppings in general are sparse.

            Drippings seemed plenty orange to me, and the slices survive folding without cracking, but barely.

            Great sauce, flavorful cheese. Wow. I'm no NY pizza expert -- last slice I had in Manhattan was a good 15 years ago -- but this is simply yummy stuff and more satisfying than Arinell.

            My house sits about equidistant between Pizza Shop and Pizzahacker. LIfe is suddenly very sweet!

        2. I went to the Pizza Shop tonight with tempered expectations. It exceeded them. When I walked in, I assume it was the owners hanging out and chatting (I was in pretty late on a Tuesday night, around 9pm). Immediately their attention was mine when I walked through the door. I didn't see cheese in their offering, but upon asking they had a whole cheese pie waiting in the wings. They were super friendly about getting my slices ready while I hit the head.

          My slices looked about what I expected, twice baked thin new york slices. They were decent size, but perfectly heated. The sauce and cheese were perfect for each other, neither overwhelming the other, but both very contributing to the overall slice. The crust was pretty typical for a twice baked pizza, maybe a bit less charred than the slices I have bought at gioia as hyperbowler mentioned. The cheese/sauce balance made the slice though.

          If the owners keep the attention to detail this is a pretty hard pizza slice to beat. Every other east coast style slice place I have been I feel that the attention to detail is lacking, either an underwarmed slice or an overdone one. The slices I got here were perfect. I would recommend it to anyone if the same attention to detail is paid for all slices. I would like to go back and try some of their other offerings, they all looked pretty tasty. I hope this place gains traction.

          1. At my second visit, this time during lunchtime, I had another excellent slice. It was fresh enough that it did not need to be reheated and the crust, especially around the rim, had a more developed flavor than it did last time.

            The owner said he is capable of making a lot more pizzas that he currently is, so don't be shy about getting a slice. The hours are 11 AM through 9:30 PM, when he makes the last pies to order.

            I'm not sure what else I would put on this but The pizza shop, in combination with wise son's deli a few blocks away, could form the foundation of a New York food crawl.

            2 Replies
            1. re: hyperbowler

              I was there for lunch today myself, and yes, this is excellent NY style pizza. The crust could have been cooked a little longer, but the sauce/cheese/crust balance was exactly right.

              We might have been there at the same time today--I had cheese slices fresh from baking.

              1. re: ernie in berkeley

                Yeah, I agree the crust could've been cooked a little bit longer. It didn't have as much crunch as my last slice, but I chalked that up to slightly under cooking to allow for reheating later. Someone please order an entire pie!

                Here are two pictures. Let me know if you see yourself in the background, Ernie :-)

                 
                 
            2. Chiming in on a few points:

              --yes, i agree crust was good, i would personally have been ok with a little more crisp. but i too had the same reaction that the crust kinda ran out of flavor at the edges ... one of those cases you ask yourself "it is worth the calories?"

              --i recently had some terrible, terrible pizza, so i was happy these guys seem to have good quality control. yes, it is a bit smaller than some of the larger, messier slice places, but perhaps the trade off for consistency is reasonable.

              --i think SLICER is OAK are better than these guys. i have to think about it (i.e. "eat more pizza") to compare to ROTTEN CITY, but i think aspirationally, they are not unlike RC (nd maybe that NY place in Sunnyvale/Stevens Creek ... I haven been to SPEEDERIA in a long time so cant compare).

              --this does not feel like an ARINELL substitute to me ... yeah, its closer to ARINELL when you consider everything from CHEESEBOARD to DELFINA, but among slice places, ARINELL is kind of unique around here ... what's unfortunate is ARINELL's terrible quality control so you cant reliable get a ARINELL ideal slice even at ARINELL.

              HYPERBOWLER: have you tried SLICER? Strong recommend if you are in the area.

              I wonder if T.P.S.is going to start taking credit cards ... while I was there several people cancelled their orders because they had no cash ... although it was nice of the "pizzaiolo" to offer one guy honor-system credit. Something like that makes you feel good about dealing with a local business.

              I think the are still feeling around about how late to stay open in the evenings.

              46 Replies
              1. re: psb

                I'll have to try Slicer next time I'm in Oakland. I've liked Rotten City in the past, but their awesome meatball sandwich stands out for me more than the pizza.

                Heh, not having enough cash has stopped my twice from getting more than a regular slice :-)

                An article yesterday about finding good NYC slices from J. Kenji López-Alt is a good read. The $1 slices they briefly mention there, and which are discussed in the NY times piece below, aren't something I've taken a part of. It's possible slice joints in NY are getting worse, which would mean Arinell is better than I'm giving it credit for. It's certainly better than anything I've had at a "Ray's" pizza.

                http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives...

                http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/16/nyr...

                1. re: hyperbowler

                  Oh, so I was winding up working at HAUS after slice #1 and got hungry reading your SERIOUSEATS link so I went back for a CHEESE SLICE.

                  As written above, this is "totally legit"/"the real deal' ... the plain slice is close to ARINELL/old school NY slice ... also, this one was cooked a little bit better than the first slice ... a bit more crispy crust, cheese hot enough to burn the top of my mouth (I was being gluttonous) ... enough grease from the cheese to give the edge-crust some flavor.

                  More or less all the tables we're taken at ~9pm, so they seem to be doing well. Unfortunately the barbaric practice of capturing the chili flake/cheese shakers rather than leaving them at the central repository continues here ... exacerbated by the fact they seem to only have singleton shakers. The also need to put water cups next to the water pitcher. They also need to have a napkin dispenser somewhere other than the tables (who wants to ask table patrons for napkins?).

                  1. re: psb

                    Update:

                    I had switched to the Cheese (Plain) slice as my default at PIZZA SHOP, as I liked the crust/cheese/sauce melding better than on the slices with toppings. Today there was a wait for cheese so I got a pep+mushroom slice and ... it was the best slice I have had in recent memory (A grandma slice I had in BKLYN may have been better).

                    This guy was good on day one but I think maybe he's figured something out to make some 5-10% adjustment and now the crust/sauce/cheese/topping matrix meld perfectly ... not only does the crust have the right crisp on the botton but it *breaks* not tears. And the crust bubbles on top break with a high frequency sound when they bite down and crack them ... the break and crack are rare to find.

                    So to mitigate the hyperbolic comments:
                    --i dont allocate as much brain storage for food as some of you, so when i mean "it's the best i can remember", it's not quite "this is the best i have ever had"

                    --i also really like this type of NY street slice and am not necessarily looking for high end speck or calabrian peppers on my slice. the touchstone for this around here used to be Arinells-on-a-good-day ... these guys are doing better and doing so consistently. Hence they are now ahead of Rotten city and Slicer for me.

                    Oh I guess I was at Difara I think last April but I cant remember that well enough to compare ... it might have been better ... I just remember the basil being extraordinarily flavorful.

                    I spoke to the owner for a bit:
                    --it was kinda funny he had the same reaction to Arinell as I did ... "they occasionally put out a good pie but what you get depends on what drug the dood is on ... 'consistency is everything in the restaurant business'"
                    --he is from NJ but had never heard of the GRANDMA SLICE. this is interesting because i had not heard of it until last year but everyone i discussed them with seemed to imply they had been around NYC forever ["with a name like that"] ... then again I was also told it was anchovies in the sauce that made a grandma slice a grandma slice.

                    1. re: psb

                      The grandma pie / slice originated on Long Island in the late 80s and caught on elsewhere in the late 90s.

                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/252359

                      http://long-island.newsday.com/restau...

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        Are grandma slices supposed to be kind of sweet? The one I got at the new Presidio Pizza was sweet and I didn't enjoy it. It may have been the pesto.

                      2. re: psb

                        "Grandma slice" was a term you heard a lot in Staten Island, Long Island, some of Queens, and certainly parts of Jersey. Now it's a pretty standard term anyone credible from the region working in the pizza business has to know. It would be like saying you don't know what a white pie is. They're usually fresh mozzarella slices with fresh basil and maybe a vodka sauce.

                        The pictures in this thread appear to be perfect replicas of a decent crappy NY slice.

                        1. re: sugartoof

                          >It would be like saying you don't know what a white pie is.
                          >
                          that is why i was trying to figure out if the "grandma slice" went back 100/50/30/20/10/5years" ... I assumed it went back >30yrs and I just missed it on my various visits to NYC in say the 80s (I'm a west coast person, so this doesnt mean much). But it sounds like it didnt become mainstream ... like the white pie ... until somewhat more recently ... so plausible someone "from Jersey" who might have moved away 20yrs ago might not know it ... eventhough a pizza obsessive.

                          So yes, I am getting more at "when did it become 'standard'" rather than "when was it created".

                          BTW, is putting BLACK PEPPER on pizza a NY/East Coast thing? I believe more or less the only people I know who do that are NY/EC.

                          1. re: psb

                            The Long Island Newsday article I linked to explains the short history of "grandma pie / slice" in great detail.

                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                              The phrase was originally used to differentiate between kids that liked junk food slices as opposed to the old style of a Denino's and Joe & Pats.

                            2. re: psb

                              Standardized ....well, they come in slices and squares with different style sauces, and I'm certain there are purists who would say it has to be a square like what we call a Sicilian.

                              I couldn't tell you when it was created - It's essentially what the original Patsy's sells in East Harlem, but I can say for certain it was the later 90's it became standardized, and by early 2000's the generic slice places started using the name all over. I'd say 1997'ish, around the same time Lombardi's, and Grimaldi's were at their height but before people talked about Difara's, or Totono's had lines.

                              Golden Boy has a different cheese, and a richer thicker sauce than any Grandma slice would, but it's the closest thing to a really good East Coast square. I don't know why it's overlooked for nostalgia for Ray's. These places don't even aspire to become Joe's, which has an LA location.

                              1. re: sugartoof

                                Long story short, the grandma pie is based on what Umberto and Carlo Corteo's mother made at home in Italy. In the 70s they made it for themselves at Umberto's but never sold it to customers. In 1976, two of their employees bought King Umberto's and started selling the pizza to customers. In the late 80s, one of their customers, Tippy Nocella, dubbed it the "grandma pie."

                                http://long-island.newsday.com/restau...

                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                  I don't buy it.

                                  Nothing was introduced in the 70's. It's a style of pizza that had been sold for 40+ years by then. Some guy is just taking credit for the slang.

                                  1. re: sugartoof

                                    It's similar to Sicilian in that it's cooked in a sheet pan but it's not the same thing. Manhattan pizzerias that offered only regular and Neapolitan added grandma as a third choice in the early 2000s, baffling local hounds who had never heard of it before.

                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/252359

                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                      Are you under the impression a pizza by the slice joint is selling regular, grandma, and Neapolitan as three different types of slices? It doesn't typically happen, because it would be redundant.

                                      A Grandma slice is just a fresh Mozzarella slice but it would be redundant if the place already made a Neapolitan.

                                      1. re: sugartoof

                                        I meant Sicilian. Lots of slice places in NY added grandma to regular and Sicilian in the early 2000s. In the 90s it was a Long Island thing.

                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                          You had a journalist for a Long Island press consult the CH board for the Tri-State, NY State areas. It was not a Long Island thing, it wasn't even really a thing. It's a nickname for goodness sakes.

                                          As for Sicilian slices, I don't know where you got that idea you couldn't find a square slice until after 2000?

                                          1. re: sugartoof

                                            You could find a rectangular Sicilian slice all over Manhattan in the 70s and I don't know how long before 2000, when they started making Grandma pies.

                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                              I'll simply it for you - the only thing new - be it 2000 or a few years earlier, or in the 70's, no matter where it originated, was the terminology.

                                              1. re: sugartoof

                                                The new thing was that in the early 2000s many Manhattan slice places that had previously offered a choice of regular and Sicilian started offering a third choice, grandma.

                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                  Like who? Name the places.

                                                  There were places offering fresh mozz slices before that, they just started calling them that name...and it was a little earlier than early 2000's.

                                    2. re: sugartoof

                                      Are you from the NY area, sugartoof? I grew up on Long Island, and there were only two styles of pizza, "neapolitan" thin-crust and "sicilian", thick-crust. I didn't see or hear of grandma slices until well into the '80s, possibly the '90s, in the mid-Island area. The Newsday article is accurate.

                                      1. re: ernie in berkeley

                                        If you grew up in Long Island and never heard of them well into the 90's, that debunks the article's claims of it's Long Island birth in the 70's.

                                        Also, you forgot the bar pies with cracker crusts popular in LI. You can expect Tony's pizza to feature a secret menu of these next week, if he hasn't already.

                                        1. re: sugartoof

                                          No, the article says they existed in the '70s but weren't sold to the public until the '80s. I said well into the '80s, not well into the '90s. From the article:

                                          >Umberto’s, that was the domain of another Corteo brother, Joe. In 1976, after Joe moved to Florida, the restaurant was sold to two Umberto’s employees, brothers Rosario and Sal Fuschetto. During the ‘80s, they in turn hired two other pizza makers - first Ciro Cesarano, then Angelo Giangrande - who got their start at Umberto’s.
                                          “Umberto still wasn’t selling [grandma pie] to customers,” Rosario said, “but Ciro and Angelo saw its potential.” So when they arrived in Elmont, they put the still-nameless pizza on the menu.
                                          Some time between 1986 and 1989, a conversation occurred at King Umberto’s that would change the course of this very narrow slice of pizza history. Cesarano and Giangrande were chatting with a customer, Anthony “Tippy” Nocella, about what to call the pie. Cesarano recalled that the word “grandpa” came up, “but Tippy said ‘No, it’s really more grandma. You want to call it grandma.’”

                                          1. re: ernie in berkeley

                                            You said "possibly the 90's".

                                            What do you think the difference is between a Totonno's or Denino's and an Umberto's "Grandma slice"?

                                          2. re: sugartoof

                                            My former sister in law grew up in Utica, NY and ate grandma pies (she also called it tomato pie) all her life, so that article isn't right. The grandma pies she loved were square, thin, covered with a sweet tomato sauce and a sprinkling of parmesan. I also grew up on Long Island (out East) and it wasn't what I called pizza, but she loved it.

                                            EDIT: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomato_pie gives more info on Tomato Pie but what they describe isn't what's being served as grandma pie in the metro NY area. However, she definitely called it that, and I suspect someone downstate swiped the name for their version.

                                            1. re: Chris VR

                                              Interesting! Was it powdered parmesan?

                                              1. re: sugartoof

                                                From reading the Wikipedia article, it was actually grated Romano, and dates back to the late 19th/early 20th century.

                                                1. re: Chris VR

                                                  I've definitely seen those slices around NY.

                                          3. re: ernie in berkeley

                                            I grew up on the end of Long Island in the 70/80s and lived in Manhattan from the late 1980s-1996 and don't recall ever seeing the term Grandma Slice used during those periods. If it came about during that time it certainly wasn't ubiquitous. As Ernie notes, I only recall regular or Sicilian, with regular being the thin crust and Sicilian being the thick squares.

                                            1. re: sunnyside

                                              You're right, because when the term Grandma Slice hit Long Island, it also hit the rest of NY around 1997, after people started to revisit the old places and favor fresh mozzarella sometimes around 1994 when slice places needed to compete.

                                              When did Joe's begin offering fresh mozzarella as an option? Before 2000, and it wasn't because of a trend in Long Island.

                                        2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                          >Long story short, the grandma pie is
                                          >based on what Umberto and Carlo
                                          >Corteo's mother made at home in
                                          >Italy.
                                          >
                                          Arent you the one who claimed the Grandma slice came out of Detroit

                                          1. re: psb

                                            Having never heard of a "grandma slice" before the topic here about Artichoke Basile's (which is apparently atypical) I assumed it was something they came up with, so said that it sounded like it was inspired by Detroit-style, and was quickly corrected:

                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/921071

                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                              Artichoke's was a Sicilian people were comparing to a knock off Difara's when they first opened. It reminded me of Golden Boy, with less cheese. They're just making it thinner/crispier, and less heavy handed with the oil, sauce, cheese, now.

                                2. re: psb

                                  To bring this back to psb's post, I agree that The Pizza Shop's mushroom and pepperoni pizza is top notch. He cuts the mushrooms in a way that they don't dry out, despite not being canned/marinated. Definitely wait a few minutes for it to cool down :-)

                                  No idea about whether black pepper usage is a regional thing.

                                  Whatever disparate meanings the terms "grandma pizza" might have held 25 years ago, if any, "grandma pizza" now refers to a style of pizza that only became publicly available in late 1980s and which hit big time in the 2000s.

                                  The "grandma pizza" you can now purchase around NY is made in a square greased pan, and, unlike Sicilian slices, has a thin crust.

                                  For pictures and a fuller description, see: http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives...

                                  Or use google:
                                  https://www.google.com/search?q=%22gr...

                                  If you don't believe that places simultaneously offer Grandma, Neopolitan, and Sicilian, I offer you a random sample of menus from the last three places where I ate pizza on Long Island. None have coal ovens and they only use fresh mozzarella as a specialty item. My non-foodie family brought me there for what are commonly called Neopolitan slices, or as Sugartoof prefers "crappy NY slices," but all had Grandma and Sicilian varieties as well.

                                  http://www.mammalombardis.com/mammalo...

                                  http://www.allmenus.com/ny/smithtown/...

                                  http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/coloss...

                                  1. re: hyperbowler

                                    "The "grandma pizza" you can now purchase around NY is made in a square greased pan"

                                    Not always.

                                    Also to clarify, I didn't call a Neapolitan slice a "crappy NY slice" I'm calling the stuff this Pizza Shop is tryingg to emulate "crappy". It's not a Neapolitan slice, or trying to be.

                                    I think there's a basic misunderstanding here - "Grandma slice" does not have a universal meaning. It just doesn't. The basic commonality is it fresh mozzarella. THAT IS IT. It's not made in a pan, it's not a certain shape, it's just not one thing from store to store. It's a nickname for a style of pie often based off a Margherita. It can be thin crust, in can be thick crust. It can be crushed tomatoes, it can be vodka sauce. It can be square, it can be round. This is not an opinion, this is simply a fact. There are variations.

                                    What's relevant here is that someone from Jersey that owns a pizza place should have some idea of what the term means.

                                    1. re: sugartoof

                                      >What's relevant here is that someone from Jersey
                                      >that owns a pizza place should have some idea of
                                      >what the term means.
                                      >
                                      yeah, clearly he must be one of those Russian Sleeper agents whose purported Jersey cover story is falling apart. he seemed strangely knowledgeable about Pushkin and hates Credit Cards.

                                      sheesh, i hardly think this is any kind of disqualification.

                                      and as to it's plausibility, it's silly to speculate since we dont know if he left jersey 25 yrs ago etc.

                                      1. re: psb

                                        "sheesh, i hardly think this is any kind of disqualification."

                                        Say what? Who is trying to disqualify him? If the pizza is good, it's good. That said, if he's claiming he's NY style pizza then he should have taken a trip to NY in the last 15 years so he's knows what a request for a Grandma slice, pink slice, white slice, rollini, stromboni, etc. means.

                                      2. re: sugartoof

                                        The only defining characteristic you've provided for what you're calling grandma pizza is fresh mozzarella. None or the menus I've linked have fresh mozzarella on their grandma slices.

                                        Neither them, the articles Robert linked, or anything else I've personally encountered or read confirm fresh mozzarella as a defining feature.

                                        What you state is "fact" has yet to be supported by anything but personal anecdote, and it contradicts all the evidence others have provided.

                                        1. re: hyperbowler

                                          I am almost certain the first place i encountered a Grandma slice (next to the 7th Ave B/Q statio in BK) in did not have fresh mozz ... their fresh mozz+basil slice was a different option.

                                          the only two things which seem consistent are:
                                          1. it is between neopolitan and sicilian in thickness
                                          2. "the sauce is different" ... but i have heard many different explanations of how it is diff, from "it has anchovies" to "the tomato ingredient is different"

                                          i believe most of the time it is a little smaller and rectangular, but this can vary.

                                          1. re: psb

                                            I don't doubt you've seen "Grandma slices" like you described. Every slice joint is it's own world, and we're talking about more a nickname than a specific kind of pizza. It's a general idea of a type of slice, but every place approaches them differently.

                                          2. re: hyperbowler

                                            Hyperbowler, your Seriouseats link and Google image search show mostly fresh Mozzarella. Perhaps you didn't recognize it? Here's the hyperlink inside the article you linked to in case you're confused: http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives...

                                            Did you also miss that your google image search turned up both square and round pies?

                                            1. re: sugartoof

                                              Suffolk county is on Long Island. (Edit: comment made to something deleted)

                                              I didn't say fresh mozzarella couldn't be on a grandma slide, i said it wasn't required.

                                              The serious eats article talks about Umbertos. Umberto's only lists fresh mozzarella as being on their Margarita (sic) pie. It's not on their grandma pie. See clip of them making it. That looks like low moisture mozzarella to me:

                                              http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=e64q1QB1nvc

                                              The google image search also shows a man wearing a pizza hat.

                                              1. re: hyperbowler

                                                " i said it wasn't required. "

                                                Nothing is required. I keep saying that.

                                                Because it's not a real pie with defined characteristics.

                                                I can see how people hear the phrase and figure it has more meaning than it does and they're trying to make it happen now.

                                                It's a nickname, typically for the slice with fresher ingredients, fresh mozz, and more minimal toppings, sometimes more rustic looking made in an older less fussy style, and sold at a *premium* to the junky Rays/Dollar type slice...that's what it usually means at a slice place. Fresher ingredients. At other places it might mean they don't proof their dough as long, but at some it might mean it's their pink slice, or they use crushed tomatoes, or it's cheeseless, or simply what they call their Sicilian for some reason, or who knows? They are typically thinner, but not always.

                                                It is different from one place to another.

                                                Sometimes they don't even call it a "Grandma slice".

                                                The majority of Grandma pies of NY are not referencing, or copying or even made with any awareness of Umberto's, nor do they look like Umberto's, so the fascination with the place is purely academic. They didn't create anything. What you're seeing at Umberto's was just how some places made their pies.

                                        2. re: hyperbowler

                                          >He cuts the mushrooms
                                          >in a way that they don't dry out
                                          >
                                          that is a good observation.

                                          you can tell this guy has done some kind of "iterative refinement" of his "craft".

                                          Do you miss the "Ranch Dressing" genre of pizza? Isnt that a horror that swam its way up the L.I.E. ?

                                           
                                    2. re: psb

                                      With regards to credit cards, when I was there a couple weeks ago I overheard the owner tell somebody else that his place would always be cash only.

                                      1. re: splonk

                                        Yes, his reply to me on "do you plan to take CCs/Square?" was "I plan to train my customers".

                                    3. went here last night. this place is indeed legit.

                                      that being said, going here last night (and i think robert has made this point on this board before, could be wrong), it reminded me that even the best new-york style pizza is not going to be mind-blowing.

                                      part of the appeal of this pizza in new york is the price point, the numerous $1/slice shops that do it better than almost any of the places here that charge more.

                                      but at $6 for two cheese slices (or $7/$8 if getting one or two slices with toppings), there's far better ways i'd rather spend that money in SF, especially in the mission. a huge super carne asada burrito from taqueria cancun costs about the same and is immensely more satisfying. or an entree at yamo. or splitting an $18 deep dish pizza at little star with two friends. or two bahn mis in little saigon. or 3 tacos at vallarta.

                                      alas, i digress. if i'm craving NY-style pizza, as i do from time to time, i will certainly go here. but i just can't imagine this becoming a go-to place with so many more satisfying cheap eats.

                                      9 Replies
                                      1. re: vulber

                                        It's true that it's not the best deal compared to other places (though I'm not sure a small 9" pizza at Little Star for $18 will feed 3). But what other non-disgusting pizza joint in SF serves slices for any less? Escape from New York and Marcello's are likely more expensive, especially once toppings start getting added.

                                        1. re: bigwheel042

                                          It's a bit steep when you consider what a really good SF pizza runs, but if you ignore the $1 slice wars, they're in line with the average NY slices, $2.50-$3

                                          Based on pictures, I think I'd pay a little more and go for The Pizza Place on Noriega.

                                          1. re: bigwheel042

                                            The pricing issue for THE PIZZA SHOP is as follows:

                                            I believe a lot of places have a 50-75cent delta between the entry level cheese slice and the "level 1" toppings, like the pep slice, or only mushroom, or a veg slice.

                                            Here, there are only two pricing tiers so the pricing is not smooth [I believe say Rotten City has more pricing granularity]. Also, the cheese slices here are incredibly strong; it's not a poor substitute to a +toppings slice. The first thing I tried here was the "meat-o" and the cheese slice I had after was better and $1 cheaper.

                                            The actual consumer surplus maximization for me between 2 pep+mushroom slices for $8, 1pep+mushroom + 1 plain for $7, 2 plain for $6, 1 pep+mushroom for $4 or 1 plain for $3 is indeterminate once you factor in diminishing marginal returns and the extra calorie hit for two vs one slice. But basically the consumer surplus here is so high on those two options, you really cant go wrong.

                                            My life will become worse ... in a first world kind of way ... if he priced something like cheese = $3.25, pep = $3.75, fancy/multitopping = $4.25.

                                            I note in passing, Pi bar also uses weird pricing because their per-slice topping are priced at 25cents/topping, it's best to get at least two toppings once you've "anted up"

                                            1. re: psb

                                              Don't his prices include tax? If so, minus tax the prices are $2.76 and $3.68.

                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                yes, tax included.

                                                this was about deltas/granularity, so the tax issue is not relevant

                                                1. re: psb

                                                  It's relevant if you compare it with slice places that add tax.

                                                2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                  >It's relevant if you compare
                                                  >it with slice places that add tax.
                                                  >
                                                  No it isnt. I am saying 3 > 2.
                                                  Some places:
                                                  ~3 prices: plain/cheese < pep < "combo" (or even >3)

                                                  pizza shop:
                                                  2 prices: plain < with_toppings

                                                  This is an observation about *structure*. N slices are mapped to P prices. They have chosen an usual strategy. One cannot decide whether it is better or worse for oneself personally without deciding if what you prefer is under/overpriced ... in which case you can sort of from comparing the *order* of prices along across establishments, i.e. there is not a single place where a cheese slice costs more than a pep slice or a pep slice costs more than a "combo" slice.

                                                  We are mostly comparing Pizza Shop as it is with Pizza Shop as it might have been with a more traditional pricing structure. In that setting, including/not including tax on the advertized prices may have a psychological element, but otherwise doesnt matter to the utility analysis.

                                                3. re: psb

                                                  In a perfect world those would be $2 slices, and he'd do 3 times the business. Or at least a $5.50 special with 2 slices and a fountain soda.

                                            2. I think the Pizza Shop's pricing model makes sense. Plain cheese is $3 which is similar to other places. He makes pies with a variety of toppings and they're all $4. The round numbers mean he doesn't have to deal with change.

                                              At Arinell, a slice with two or three toppings would cost $4.25 or $5, and adding toppings to an already cooked cheese slice doesn't produce as good results.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                Well, I really like the sauteed mushrooms added to the Arinell slice. For me, that's the gold standard for mushroom NY slices in this city (although I have not yet tried the same at the Pizza Shop).

                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                  >I think the Pizza Shop's pricing model
                                                  >makes sense
                                                  >
                                                  so you are at the same time saying "everyone else is doing it wrong"?

                                                  or what is the unique factor to Pizza Shop which suggests this makes sense for them but not "everyone else"?

                                                  it's also an interesting problem for tipping. $1 is a pretty big tip for a $3 slice. i mention this as apparently that is one issue for a certain cafe to be unhappy with Square. i think what happened was people were paying with credit card more and when faced with a minimum tip larger than they would be happy with opted to round to zero more often than going ahead with the higher tip. although this also has "principal-agent" issues ... in some places maybe the owner gets part/all/none of the tip jar.

                                                  1. re: psb

                                                    Rotten City charges about the same.

                                                2. Finally tried this place too, and I really liked it. Easily the best NY-style slice I've had in SF.

                                                  I tried both the cheese ($3) and meat-lovers ($4) w/ sausage and pepperoni. I actually think I liked the meat one better, but possibly because it was fresher out of the oven so the cheese hadn't hardened quite as much. I really liked the sausage, in particular. The crust was good. Crispy enough to stay firm, but a nice amount of chew to it too. It reminded me of a better-than-average pizza place on the east coast.

                                                  I do agree with vulber though that this pizza isn't that mind-blowing or unique compared to other food items in that area. It's just a slice of NY-style pizza that is done well....this is newsworthy for SF, but I don't think this place would be particularly newsworthy in New York or really anywhere in the northeast.

                                                  13 Replies
                                                  1. re: Dave MP

                                                    Something this thread is making me think about is where in the Mission and surrounding regions you can get a non-meal sized portion of pizza as quick, cheap, and tasty as you can at Pizza Shop (regardless of style).

                                                    Escape from NY and Arinell aren't very good IMHO.

                                                    Pizzeria Delfina doesn't sell by the slice, but a $12-$13 take-out pie at Pizzeria Delfina takes 10-15 minutes

                                                    Little Star doesn't sell deep dish by the slice at dinnertime and takes 30+ minutes.

                                                    Pizzahacker doesn't sell to go yet to my knowledge and doesn't sell by the slice.

                                                    1. re: hyperbowler

                                                      PizzaHacker does to-go orders. Took them three attempts to remember to not cut my pizza the first time I ordered, which I found mildly entertaining.

                                                      https://sites.google.com/site/pizzaha...

                                                      1. re: hyperbowler

                                                        During the day, there's Arizmendi at 24th and Valencia. But hours are somewhat limited.

                                                        I do think the Pizza Shop is filling a gap in the non-meal-sized-pizza-slice department, and since they are doing better than others (Arinell, Escape from NY), I think they are going to do well.

                                                        1. re: Dave MP

                                                          I wouldn't even include Escape from NY in this discussion; it is far removed from a typical NY slice. Truth be told, I don't hate their slice, but biting into one does nothing to diminish any homesickness I might feel.

                                                          1. re: absc

                                                            Have you actually gone into Pi Bar and asked for a (to-go?) slice and nothing else? Did they give you a cold stare or was that cool?

                                                            I would personally feel a little sheepish doing that but if it's commonly done, I might as well (well maybe not any more with The Pizza Shop in the vicinity). In fact I dont think I've even sat at the counter and just had a slice without having a beer ... I'd kinda feel like I went to a bar happy hour, just ordered the subsidized food and didnt have a drink, but again, maybe that's just me.

                                                            1. re: psb

                                                              Not only did I walk in and ask for a to-go slice, but I had my then 10-year-old with me. They seemed fine with it.

                                                          2. re: hyperbowler

                                                            Marcello's definitely serves that by-the-slice market. Its not great pizza, but I'd put it ahead of Arinell and Escape from NY.

                                                            Pi Bar is best, IMO, at by the slice orders with a beer at the bar -- even if they are not really set up for by the slice orders.

                                                            I'm curious to try Rustic Pizza just because it would be nice to have good pizza by the slice or with patio seating close to BART. Previous incarnations of pizza at that location leave me none to optimistic.

                                                            1. re: BernalKC

                                                              The availability of takeout at PizzaHacker is great news. I'll have to check out Pi Bar too.

                                                              BernalKC, we'll have to wait 4 weeks for the Bocce courts to open at Rustic

                                                            2. re: hyperbowler

                                                              The new Presidio Pizza (in the Frankie's Bohemian space) does NY slices all day, and they aren't bad at all. I am not sure I would make a special trip for them. During weekend dinner hour they have been running out of oven space and giving the slices a short shrift. You can place an order and then go watch the game and have a drink two doors down at the Fish Bowl, and when your slice is hot they will walk it into the bar for you.

                                                              1. re: sfchris

                                                                Whoa, it looks like Presidio Pizza has garlic knots. By any chance have you tried those? (it's an uninteresting enough food that I stopped eating them after college, but they're uncommon around here).

                                                                1. re: hyperbowler

                                                                  No, I have only had various slices, mostly cheese, and it is pretty good. The crust is nice and foldable. I tried the grandma slice but it was sweet (I think from the pesto) which I didn't like at all.

                                                                  They are open very late for this neighborhood (Su-Wed 11pm, 12am thursday, 2:30am Fri Sat) which is great.

                                                                  Menu:
                                                                  http://www.scribd.com/doc/192790917/P...

                                                                  1. re: hyperbowler

                                                                    Hyperbowler: Assume you are aware Slice of NY (Stevens Creek Blvd and Sunnyvale ECR), has garlic knots.

                                                            3. I tried The Pizza Shop today, two slices, 1 pepperoni/mushroom, 1 spinach/ricotta. I think the crust could have used a little more salt, but it wasn't bland. Just the right amount of toppings to cover the pie but not to weigh it down or make it soggy. The crust on both slices was definitely on the browner side of the spectrum once it had been reheated. If you want a soft slice due to your desire to fold it without it breaking, this wouldn't be the pizza for you. I'm a knife and fork gal so folding isn't an issue for me. And note that unlike a lot of NY style slices, these had very little grease, which made me really happy. Much, much better than Rustic or Arinell. And the guy working there was 10x nicer and happier than anyone at Arinell or Rustic ever could be.

                                                              1. If you're looking to replicate a NY slice here, I would stick to the pepperoni or maybe the white pies.

                                                                With all the diversity in slices, it's possible there are similar slices in NY, but I've never seen them, and it seems to me some of the details are outright wrong. In some cases, like the pesto pizza (didn't try it), they might be improved, but I couldn't send someone to this place for a NY slice in good conscious without disclaimers. Also, I'm not sure if the case is a refrigerated (might have had to by law?) but the pies looked like they had been sitting too long, and the crusts were too well done for going back into the oven. Minor differences, but still differences. In NY, you see half pies, and a variety of tricks to avoid whole pizzas sitting all day long.