Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Grandpa's Brick Oven Pizza: "Two Thumbs Halfway Up"

I woke up really startled and sweaty in Union Square Park at 5:36 this afternoon because I had gotten a text message from Good Kid Paulie that succeeded at what the alarm going off for 6 minutes at that point had failed to do, probably much to the chagrin of everyone around me in the park. I was sleeping leaned up against a giant Staples box full of zine copies I had been making in preparation for the Big She-Bang IV coming up this weekend. After three and a half hours in Staples looking over my shoulder every time an employee walked by because I was scared they might notice that the copy count wasn't moving on the display and that my card value had read $0.25 since I'd gotten there, I packed everything up and went out to the park to read a little bit before heading up to Inwood to meet Sweet Tooth and begin the journey. It was definitely a good day for it, I had worked up quite an appetite by the time that I woke up and immediately hustled onto the train.

I got out of the 207th St A train Station onto the corner of 207th and Broadway at exactly 6:31, one minute after I was supposed to meet Sweet T. I sat around and read and smoked a cigarette for a while, because no one actually shows up on time, waiting for him, and eventually I had to piss so bad I was like, 'Fuck This,' and walked over to the pizza place I could see from the corner, Pizza Haven. I had been staring at it's crappy old looking sign and tri-color awning salivating for like, half an hour. That is the awning of a proper pizzeria. A bus had been obscuring the front of the place, and I was really excited to see if it looked equally perfect inside. And I couldn't wait to try the damn slice. So you can imagine my surprise when I the idling bus left and I was confronted by this sad reality:

That's right. The place was closed. At 6:50. Which led me to wonder if it's ever open. I kind of hope not because later on when I finally did meet Tooth, he told me he'd eaten there before with Andy, Chris and DPG and it's really nothing special.

So I picked up my giant box of spuriously obtained copies and shlepped north on Broadway two blocks to 211th street, to go try out Grandpas Pizza, the northern-most pizzeria in Manhattan:

The place was decently crowded and that was good, but then again, it's right outside the 211th St. exit for the 207 stop, so who knows if those people are just spillover from our city's fine and moderately priced public transit system. But there were two stoned construction workers on line in front of me and they seemed excited, so I was excited, too. I paid my $2.50, got my slice, put my usual assortment of spices on it (black pepper, red pepper, oregano, garlic powder, all in moderation, and a touch of parmigiana, if available), and walked it over to a table in the ample seating area.

Good looking slice, huh? Well, it was perfect, taste-wise. The dough and crust were incredible, just salty enough, the cheese was gooey but firm, the sauce was perfect-slightly sweet, slightly tangy. And it had that smell. The smell that used to make me and my dad stop and split a slice of pizza walking down the street, despite the fact that we were full of the giant cheeseburgers we'd just consumed moments before, because we couldn't resist the aroma. The problem with this slice was that it was totally unsubstantial. The ratios of everything were perfect in context, but all told, there just wasn't enough of any of it. The dough was so thin it couldn't hold the weight of all that delicious cheese and grease, so it flopped over flaccidly when I folded the slice in half. I ended up accidentally stuffing almost half the slice in my mouth trying to take my first bite, and my mouth wasn't even terribly full of food. I'd have to eat three of these slices to get anywhere near full, and at $2.50 each, that is not suitable for a broke asshole like me.

Grandpas Pizza
4973 Broadway
New York, NY 10034-1651
(212) 304-1185


  1. Hating on a thin-crust Pizza for being thin is like hating on the Yankees for wearing pinstripes.

  2. me and my friend's like pizza haven better, i think grandpa's is fine for random specialty slices and shit but my boy hates on it more now because every schmuck white yuppie eats there instead of pizza haven and he takes it personally for some reason ( i didn't mean anything btw we have a lot of white friends). He basically just chalks this place up as some draw for new residents. It's been around a while though not bad.

  3. grandpa's pizza joint has decent atmosphere ie, clean, typically full, friendly staff, and yes annoying white people who are drawn to this place bc of the aforementioned. However, grandpa's is a farce. You walk in the joint thinking you are going to get the most delicious pizza slice and you are sorely disappointed with the lack of flavor in the dough, sauce AND cheese. bad, bad, bad...where are the good pizza places in Inwood??? Def trying Pizza Haven...that's if I can get past the nasty-ass grime...

  4. I don't know why Pizza Haven was closed that early when you went, but it definitely isn't supposed to close that early. It really isn't the best pizza I've had, but I suppose it's worth a try if you're ever back in the neighborhood. Oh and Grandpa's...I actually quite like their slice. Maybe not the best in Inwood, but they make a pretty damn good brick oven slice. I've also had their Penne Alla Vodka on numerous occasions, which I find to be pretty delicious.