After about a year of thinking about visiting New York City, I finally went with my family the day after Christmas.
Now, I’ve been to to Big Apple plenty of times before but those visits were mainly for sporting events. This time, my reason for visiting was different. I was on a quest to finally get a slice of famous New York City pizza.
My Aunt works in Brooklyn and for years had told me about two great pizza places near where she worked.
In fact, in a bit of irony, Grimaldi’s has no association with the Grimaldi family. The family owns… Juliana’s? Yes,It’s a strange, but true history which you can read more about here.
When Grimaldi’s moved to their current shop, the owner even had to leave the oven behind in the old building.
When we arrived in Brooklyn, it was after six and there was a long line out the door at Grimaldi’s which was our intended stop. Yet there was no line outside of Juliana’s.
Being cold, tired and hungry, I decided it didn’t really matter which spot we went to so we waited at Juliana’s which had less of a line. Plus, it’s pretty much the original pizza joint when you think about it.
[It’s like choosing Geno’s over Pat’s or Pat’s over Geno’s. Whatever you cheesteak lovers feel is more of a bigger name.]
After ten minutes, we got seated at a table right at the front window of the shop.
The atmosphere was warm and inviting. Definitely had that old-timey pizza parlor feel. We were greeted by a friendly older man, who had to be either the owner or the manger.
The guy knew what he was doing, because as I overheard someone else say while waiting, “this guy’s good, he gets you in and out.”
And that turned out to be true, because he was able to mix and match the incoming customers with the newly opened tables frequently while we were there. The whole place consists of one room and probably can’t sit more than 70 people at the tables.
Multiple times while waiting I thought to myself “How is he gonna get the six of us at a table?” but he got it done. He even took time to ask us where we were from, which was pretty friendly of him.
*There is also a countertop area where guests can sit. It’s directly in front of the kitchen too, so you can watch them make your pizza right in front of you.
As for our pizzas we settled on two margarita-style pies. One with sausage and one half plain, half mushroom.
They were sensational.
The crust was magnificent. Wasn’t flaky, nor crunchy. It was perfectly soft. You could taste the freshness of the mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been able to detect the freshness of my ingredients of my food more than that pizza.
I don’t like to use hyperbole very often, but I’m pretty sure this was the best pizza I’ve ever had.
I washed it all down with a refreshing Brooklyn lager. When in Rome, drink what the Romans drink right?
The pizzas were about $19 each, which I would normally consider expensive except for the fact they were so damn good. In other words, price is a non-issue when ordering great food. I could’ve paid $40 for one of their pies.
For meeting and exceeding my expectations of what great pizza (and service) can b,e I’ll give Juliana’s a 9 on a scale of 1-10.
But my quest is far from over. Now I just need to cross off Grimaldi’s and cross-city rival Lombardi’s to see which pizza is the best in town. Maybe I’ll even do both in one day.
In other words, I’ll be back soon NYC.