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Patsy Grimaldi’s Coal Brick-Oven Pizzeria

Where does one go for traditional, New York style pizza in the Phoenix – Scottsdale area? Head to Grimaldi’s!

In 1931, East Harlem, New York, Patsy Lancieri opened Patsy’s Pizzeria. Lancieri trained under the man who was credited with opening the first US pizzeria. Lancieri in turn trained his nephew, Patsy Grimaldi in the art of pizza making and the need to use a coal fire oven instead of gas. Grimaldi opened his own pizzeria in New York that was soon hailed by locals and celebrities alike.

In Old Town Scottsdale, on N. Scottsdale Rd, is one of four Grimaldi’s pizzerias located in the Phoenix – Scottsdale area. After visiting art galleries in Old Town Scottsdale my husband and I decided to have a light lunch. This was a good choice because the lunch menu is simple—-pizza, calzone, salads, and antipasto. This didn’t stop the customers from filling the small main dining room. There is also an outdoor courtyard and banquet not in use. The decor is classic red-checked table clothes, recalling traditional Italian-American restaurants.

For our lunch we shared an appealing and appetizing antipasto. The plate was just enough for two, with homemade mozzarella, oven roasted sweet red peppers, salami, green olives, and fresh bread. We were able to top the bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar from the cruets on the table.

After the antipasto we shared a “Personal Pizza” with mushrooms. This isn’t a tiny pizza, but a healthy 12 inches! It was closer in size, style, and flavor to a pizza that you would eat in Italy. The pizza was topped with the homemade mozzarella, a light tomato sauce, fresh basil, and fresh mushrooms. The pizza came out from the oven steaming hot and with the wonderful smoky aroma that is indicative of coal fire ovens.

Quality ingredients make all the difference in the flavor of a pizza. The tomato sauce was not slathered on the pizza and was obviously made with high quality tomatoes. The cheese was enchanting and I would have gladly eaten a simple cheese pizza. The marriage of these ingredients allowed us to taste each ingredient individually, yet they enhanced each other elevating the humble pizza to the work of art it can be.

When in Old Town Scottsdale pass by the over priced chi-chi places and opt instead for pizza made the way it is meant to be.

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