It was a nice cool day in Brooklyn and we were on our way to Grimaldi’s, a pizzeria under Brooklyn Bridge that is famous for its pizzas baked in a brick oven using coal fire. This traditional method gives the pizza a unique smoky flavour that is popular with many New Yorkers.
An Interesting History
While researching for this article, I found out that this pizza joint has a very interesting history. Grimaldi’s was originally founded by Patsy Grimaldi in 1990 at 19 Old Fulton Street in Brooklyn. In 1998, Patsy sold his business to restaurateur Frank Ciolli, who stayed at the original space until 2011 when he moved the restaurant to the adjacent building due to lease issues. The following year, Patsy Grimaldi decided to open a new pizza joint named Juliana’s Pizza at the original 19 Old Fulton Street space, where the brick oven was still intact. Therefore, today the two pizza joints are located almost side by side, giving rise to one of the most famous pizza feuds in New York City.
To make things slightly more confusing, Frank Ciolli also owns a huge chain of Grimaldi’s Pizzeria restaurants across many states in USA.
Finally, there is also another Grimaldi’s pizza joint located at Washington Street in Hoboken, New Jersey. This is because Patsy Grimaldi did not sell the rights for this restaurant in 1998. Today, it is operated by former Patsy Grimaldi partner Sean McHugh.
Ok now that we’ve gotten a glimpse of this pizzeria’s interesting history, let’s get on to the review of the restaurant! Grimaldi’s exudes a classic New York vibe with its vintage ceiling fans and kitschy photos lining the brick walls, complete with full length arch windows. Our pizza came pretty quickly after ordering, but the staff seemed slightly aloof and nonchalant.
Small Pizza ($14)
We ordered the Small Pizza ($14), which has six slices and serves one to two persons. This is basically a margherita pizza with tantalizing sliced mozzarella and basil that is covered with a thin layer of tangy tomato sauce and savoury virgin olive oil. I eagerly took my first bite.
I loved the crisp crust which had just the right amount of bite, along with a unique smoky flavour that is distinctive of coal-fired brick oven pizzas. The crust was complimented nicely by the unami flavour of the white mozzarella. However, the tomato sauce didn’t really impress. On the whole, this was definitely a decent pizza but could do with a more scrumptious tomato sauce which would bring it to the next level.
Menu (Click to enlarge)
Lucky for us, we arrived early in the morning and so did not have to queue. However, when we left the restaurant, we saw that there was already a long queue of customers waiting outside the pizzeria. We recommend checking out Grimaldi’s for its unique coal-fired brick oven pizza if the queue isn’t too long. If not, Juliana’s Pizza next door is a good choice too. Better still, try both so you can decide for yourself which is the better pizzeria in this famous feud. After getting our pizza fix, we walked for a short distance to the East River to take some nice photos of the scenic Brooklyn Bridge.
Address: 1 Front Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201 (Under the Brooklyn Bridge)
Phone Number: 718-858-4300