Upscale yet casual, Grimaldi’s is a family-oriented pizzeria with terrific cocktails, wine and beer for the adults, while kids can play with their own slice of pizza dough at the table. Originally opened in Brooklyn, Grimaldi’s now boasts 16 locations across Texas, including Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Dallas, Houston and El Paso.
It’s the signature coal brick oven that is responsible for Grimaldi’s crispy and smoky thin crust. The intense heat of the oven evenly bakes the pies to create a crust that Zagat has voted best pizza year after year. And the open kitchen design means you can watch as your own pizza is lovingly placed in the brick oven.
That crust is paired with only the freshest ingredients, including a homemade mozzarella cheese and dough with a secret recipe pizza sauce. In the world of pizza, Grimaldi’s is an institution that has earned more awards than any other pizzeria in the country with more celebrity sightings than most 5-star restaurants.
Once you see the size of the portions, you’ll understand why it fits so well in Texas: everything is huge. The menu features three pizza sizes, 12”, 16” and 18”. The 12” and 16” options are cut into six slices, the 18” is cut into eight. Don’t be fooled: each of the slices is the size of two regular slices you might find somewhere else. We listened to slice count versus size and were shocked when our table was overflowing with pizza. Mind you, I’m not complaining. We could have fed a small army with our pizza bounty.
Before diving into the pizza, the starters include terrific salads (also well portioned), a terrific antipasto platter (available in two sizes so your eyes don’t have to be bigger than your stomach) and a bruschetta option where you can customize your platter. Choose from marinated mushrooms and roasted red pepper, the classic tomato and basil, marinated artichoke, or an olive medley. But of course, save room for the star of the show—pizza, or calzones, also big enough to satisfy any appetite.
This pizza joint doesn’t just sling the standards: Grimaldi’s offers seasonal menu options. Don’t scoff: while many pizza aficionados have their favorites, others like to explore new flavors and why should be pizza toppings be limited? The Barbecue Chicken Pizza, a food lover’s favorite with Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce with chicken, smoky bacon, red onion, and garnished with cilantro, is definitely a fresh take.
The pizza menu features a few chef’s selections, with a classic Margherita, a Quattro Formaggi with four cheeses and an all vegetable option, “The Garden.” Another option is “The Don”, with meatballs, Italian sausage and pepperoni, and “Brooklyn Bridge”, a nod to New York pizza with oven roasted red peppers, creamy ricotta cheese and hand-pinched Italian sausage. All of them can be customized with additional toppings and even better, the menu includes wine pairing suggestions. Pizza and wine? Yes, please!
Adult beverages are definitely not afterthoughts at Grimaldi’s. The restaurant even has its own exclusive Tuscan red wine, Mille Gradi. Signature cocktails include nods to the Rat Pack and the Brat Pack, although cocktail choices can vary by location.
It’s hard to stop eating the pizza, but if you manage to leave room, Grimaldi’s also features great desserts to finish your meal on a sweet note. The Oreo Cookie Cheesecake was a hands-down favorite for us, with the Cannoli on deck for our next visit. And based on how much we enjoyed everything at Grimaldi’s, there will definitely be a next visit.
Dawn Robinette is an award-winning writer and communications expert based in San Antonio who enjoys finding new discoveries, revisiting old favorites and telling stories. She regularly writes for San Antonio Woman and Rio Magazine. You can read more of her work at Alamo City Moms Blog