There are a number of classic New York pizza places that I’ve never written up on this blog. John’s, Lombardi’s, Patsy’s and others will eventually find their place on I Dream Of Pizza, but today I highlight a pizza place I that I’ve enjoyed going to more than any of those places: Grimaldi’s (19 Old Fulton Street). Nestled along an unassuming block under the Brooklyn Bridge, Grimaldi’s has seen its popularity grow in recent years, as it has become a mandatory stop for visitors to New York.
The guidebooks that have led tourists out to Grimaldi’s couldn’t have chosen a better pizza place. To me, there isn’t a more quintessential New York experience than walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and stopping in Grimaldi’s for some pizza. The lines? Well that’s also part of the New York experience. New Yorkers LOVE waiting in line.
Wait times aside — you’re left with scenic views and great food — what more could you want? It’s the first thing I do when I have an out of town guest visiting New York City for the first time. It’s also the first thing I do with locals when I find out that either (a) they’ve never walked across the Brooklyn Bridge or (b) they’ve never had Grimaldi’s. It’s something that every visitor to New York and every local New Yorker should do at least once.
Since my first visit to Grimaldi’s in 2003, I’d estimate I’ve been there 30 times. Other than an increasingly longer line out front, nothing has changed. The pizza has always been some of my favorite in the city. You can watch your pie made in the back of the pizzeria and once you’re seated, it always comes out quickly. The menu is simple, with just small and large pies listed (you can choose from regular or white). You can also customize your pie with whatever toppings you like. Unlike many places, Grimaldi’s doesn’t list pies with suggested topping combinations. The choice is all yours!
After Grimaldi’s, take a two minute stroll down Old Fulton Street where you’ll reach a promenade with some of my favorite views of Manhattan. To your left you can see Governors Island and the Statue of Liberty. The South Street Seaport and Financial District sit straight ahead. And to your right you can see the Empire State Building and the New York skyline along the backdrop of the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s truly a site to marvel at. Nearly every time I’m there, wedding photos are being taken. On a nice summer day, it’s not uncommon see a dozen couples there. Cliche? Nah. I think it’s just awesome.
These days you can grab a cone at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory (located on the promenade) and head over to the Brooklyn Bridge Park which just opened. A playground, walkway, benches, and green space will certainly become crowded come summer. As the park expands in coming years, this area will see more traffic from locals and tourists alike. And the lines at Grimaldi’s will continue to grow. But once you’re inside those doors, none of that matters. The smell of fresh pies coming out of the oven. The vintage photos surrounding you. The checkered table cloths. And those mouth watering pies. That’s what Grimaldi’s is all about.