Please don’t ever tell my mother this, but the thing I missed the most when I moved from New York to Arizona was the pizza.
I missed the moments of cheesy deliciousness when I would finish a workout, grab a slice, fold it in half and walk down the street with orange grease dribbling through the crack of the crust, down my forearm and off my elbow. To me, that was home and every bit as comforting as a grandmother’s hug. I missed that when I moved to Arizona. Thankfully, I discovered Grimaldi’s.
With more that 100 years of coal fired brick-oven pizza-making traditions, the creators of Grimaldi’s have taken generations to perfect a very distinctive and truly authentic pizza. And they have nailed it. The crust is thin, but not too thin, crunchy and always cooked perfectly. The red sauce is perfect complement to any topping. Grimaldi’s handmade mozzarella exceeds the cheesy deliciousness of the pizza I grew up eating.
By now, I’ve been to Grimaldi’s dozens of times and this is what I would recommend:
• Build your own pizza by choosing the size, sauce and your favorite toppings. One warning: Grimaldi’s defines the words “personal” and “small” unlike any other restaurant. The small pizza would be considered a large at any pizza chain. The same is true if you opt for the calzone. A personal calzone at 12 inches is enough for two people to share and possibly take some home for the next day.
• As for toppings, some personal favorites of mine are the roasted red bell peppers, which are cooked fresh daily and the vibrant taste complements any other topping you choose, and meatballs, which are sliced thin, cooked perfectly and have an authentic Italian flavor that reminded me of my Italian grandmother’s homemade meatballs.
• If you want to opt for a specialty pizza, my taste buds were treated to Grimaldi’s Diavolo Pizza, which is topped with soppressata salami, cherry peppers and kalamata olives and had the perfect amount of kick.
• If you opt for a calzone, don’t expect the chewy calzones that are common in the typical Arizona pizza joint. Grimaldi’s brick ovens give the calzones a crisp, thin texture and every variety of calzone I’ve tried at Grimaldi’s has been excellent.
• If you want to try a salad, I cannot stress enough that Grimaldi’s makes their own mozzarella, so you will never go wrong with the mouthwatering Caprese Salad.
• If it’s possible that you have room left for dessert, Grimaldi’s cheesecakes are made in-house daily. Grimaldi’s seasonal cheesecakes for fall are the Caramel Apple Cheesecake, a rich caramel and green apple delight topped with caramel syrup and whipped cream. And for the chocolate lovers, Grimaldi’s is bringing out their Chocolate Cheesecake, a decadent dessert served with chocolate syrup and topped with whipped cream. But for me, the perfectly creamy Blueberry Cheesecake comes with my highest recommendation.
Here is what makes eating pizza in Arizona better than eating pizza in New York: We can eat our favorite Grimaldi’s pizza while we soak up the beautiful Arizona fall weather because each of Grimaldi’s seven Arizona locations has a distinct patio. Now, that’s as comforting as a hug from Grandma.
• 7131 W. Ray Rd, #23, Chandler
• 2168 E. Williams Field Rd., #502, Gilbert
• 9788 W. Northern Ave., #1440, Peoria
• 4000 N. Scottsdale Rd., #105, Scottsdale
• 20715 N. Pima Rd., #F-115, Scottsdale
• 15147 N. Scottsdale Rd., H-135, Scottsdale
• 446 N. Campbell Ave., #100, Tucson