Grandma-style pizza is not the typical type of pizza you would normally consume, unless you are from the Long Island/New York area (where it originated and is currently sold). As I’m in my first year going to school in Long Island, I wasn’t exactly familiar with the unique foods, and non-circular pizza, this part of New York has to offer.

Certainly, I was taken aback when I heard the name “grandma-style” for a type of pizza. I found it odd that I had never heard of it, considering I come from a family of pizza lovers back in Connecticut. We literally go out for pizza every Friday night so you can imagine my confusion when this new style of pizza (well new to me) pops up on a menu. 

The next logical step was to go and give it a try. I chose to travel to the restaurant that seemed to keep popping up when grandma-style pizza was mentioned, Umberto’s Pizzeria and Restaurant, in New Hyde Park, NY. 

The History of Grandma-Style Pizza

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Kristin Soltis

Prior to trying it, I decided to research what exactly “grandma-style pizza” was. There are specifically two major characteristics that set this pizza apart from the rest. First and foremost, the crust is not given time to rise between being stretched out onto the oil-coated pan and being thrown into the oven. This is to produce a crispier crust than that of Sicilian style pizza (which many get it confused with).

Also looking back to its roots, and including how it got its name, the dough was not given time to rise because the grandmas who made this type of pizza needed to get it done ASAP before their hungry grandchildren ran inside, starving from a long day of play. Secondly, the cheese is often distributed on the dough before the sauce is poured onto it. Interesting concepts, right?

Everyone's Favorite Part: The Food

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Kristin Soltis

I walked into Umberto's and was instantly struck with its super friendly, relaxed atmosphere. They're clearly serious about their pizza, as they separated their restaurant with one whole side dedicated to being the pizzeria. It had an open kitchen concept, so the customers can look over and see the pizzas being placed in and taken out of the brick ovens.

When I order the grandma-style pizza, the waiter glowingly informed me that it is his favorite pizza on the menu. After a very short wait, the pizza arrived and was sitting before me in all its glory. I decide to start off with the corner piece closest to me and slowly bite down into the thin crust. My taste buds are immediately hit with the delicious flavor of the herbs and dollops of tomato sauce all over it. Bite after bite, it kept getting better. 

Notice how they decided to place the tomato sauce on the pizza randomly, rather than spreading it all around? This grabbed my tastebuds so much more this way. In other pizza styles, the tomato sauce can be overlooked with cheese being the star of the show. This technique finally gave the tomato sauce its turn to be noticed. This way also seemed to make the pizza less greasy than regular pies, which is another plus. 

Luckily for me, my eyes were larger than my stomach and I was able to take leftovers back with me to my dorm. However, rather than placing it in the fridge, I was already compelled to open the box to grab another slice, which further proved to me I chose the right place and style of pizza to investigate.