GRIMALDI’S PIZZERIA Opens First West Coast Location and Pulls in Crowds for Killer Pizza!

When I got the release that a new pizza chain was opening up in LA, that definitely got my attention. However this is not just any pizza chain/joint or restaurant! Grimaldi’s is well-known in the states where it has stores (Arizona, Colorado,Idaho, Nevada,Texas, Florida, and South Carolina. A BFF told me to definitely try it since she went to one in Brooklyn. There are 4 of them in NYC area: Brooklyn, Manhattan (Limelight), Manhattan (2nd Ave) and Queens.

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Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, known for its long lines of patient, pizza-loving fans at its original location in Brooklyn, New York and others across the United States, announced today that it will open its first west coast location on January 27. The new location, just south of LAX in El Segundo, Calif., will be one of the popular brand’s largest restaurants and kicks off Grimaldi’s California expansion plans.

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The nearly 7,200 sq. ft. Grimaldi’s Pizzeria in El Segundo is located at 2121 Rosecrans Avenue and features award-winning, hand-tossed, coal-fired brick oven pizzas and calzones, fresh salads and delicious desserts.

In the world of pizza, Grimaldi’s is an institution that has garnered more awards than any other pizzeria in the country with more celebrity sightings than most 5-star restaurants. Using only the freshest ingredients, a “secret recipe” pizza sauce, and handmade mozzarella cheese and dough, Grimaldi’s serves traditional pizza (as it began in Naples, Italy) in an upscale yet casual family-oriented pizzeria.

Designed and built by hand, the coal-fired ovens at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria deliver a unique flavor and consistency that is just not possible from wood or gas ovens. Weighing in at 25 tons and heated by 100 pounds of coal per day (cleanest burning fuel available and environmentally tested), the oven heats up to 1,200 degrees. The intense heat of the oven evenly bakes the pies to create Grimaldi’s famous crispy and smoky thin crust that Zagat has voted best pizza year after year.

It has been said that the secret to true New York-style pizza is the water. Grimaldi’s believes that too, going to great lengths to keep the integrity of the water used in the Brooklyn pizzeria by hiring a chemist to analyze and recreate the mineral content and exact composition of the water to ensure the dough tastes the same in California.

This large establishment is beautifully done- very much an upscale grill with a distinctive clubby feel. I love the large fairly spacious patio but I wanted to skip the sun on this very warm day.

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Coal pizza oven!

First Visit:
I met up with my friend Jennifer for a great lunch at Grimaldi’s. The wine list beckoned (and I rarely drink) We shared a caprese salad with super yummy fresh mozzarella and fresh tomatoes and a drizzle of dressing. We split a medium (AKA SMALL) pizza 50/50 sundried tomato + mushroom pesto pizza. The crust was amazingly crisp and light. The sauce and cheese were not overshadowing the toppings. Overall a terrific pizza- one of the best I have eaten in years!

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Tiramisu and cheesecake.

We wound up getting dessert too– tiramisu and cheesecake. The desserts were exceptionally light and that made the cheesecake do-able for me since I am not a huge cheesecake fan.

The server (I forgot his name) was awesome. He didn’t even know I was press so he gave me his A game because that’s who he is! We were impressed. I took home the remainder of my 50/50 split on the pizza (50% mushrooms, 50% sundried tomatoes) and it was still a lot of pizza!

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Pesto pizza with 50% mushrooms and 50% sundried tomatoes

Let’s end visit #1 (my press preview) with a very happy ending. It was AWESOME! The restaurant was packed. People were happy and eating – it was clear they all enjoyed being there (and most weren’t press). As I was wrapping things up regarding the bill, the server didn’t know I was press (He got a great tip for his fine efforts) and the manager came over to ask how everything went. Wow. VERY friendly and I loved Grimaldi’s!!

So it wasn’t hard for me to say I was up to going again. I had a lunch date with my friend Justine who is also a fellow blogger (http://www.mommyoftheyear.net/). Turns out Justine was as much a pizza junkie as Jennifer is- enough that they would eat pizza daily! This gave me the opportunity to see if the food was consistent from visit to visit without any forewarning.

Second Visit
Eight days later and not much changed other than I knew what to expect. Justine was originally from the east coast and had heard about Grimaldi’s but had not been there-yet! We split a small house salad –which we didn’t come close to finishing. It was a tasty salad that was perfect for 2 people or 3 if they wanted to just have a small nibble. Justine liked Conundrum’s Blended White as well (high five) and we each had a glass of that for a catch-up session. The small pizza we ordered was a true mix of Italian sausage and mushrooms. Crispy and tasty– I could really learn to make this place my default pizza place, (the only problem with doing that is that it’s 40 minutes away but worth the drive.) Great meal and the regular red sauce pizza was fabulous with it’s super crispy crust. We passed on dessert. I certainly didn’t need it.

The server was really on game -perhaps a bit too much “on game”. I got there a few minutes early and while I hadn’t been waiting even 15 minutes, he was asking me if I wanted to order an antipasto while I waited. No thanks, that’s a pass. I waited for Justine who walked in 5 minutes later!

The menu is not inexpensive and if you are looking at this for a very affordable and quick meal, (average cost on 2 topping small -16 inch pizza– is Grimaldi’s does validate for 2 hours only– so my arriving a bit early cost me $6 when I exited (which is 50% of the 12 per hour rate! YIKES). Plan wise and manage your time carefully.

However despite the parking limitations and the bill, this is a great place for lunch or dinner because it offers you lots of options. If you wanted to do a personal pizza to pair with wine or beer for a light meal, it’s a great place to go and the patio would be an awesome spot to spend a Friday happy hour or a Sunday afternoon.
Grimaldi’s food is impeccable and the service is very good to excellent. If you find yourself in El Segundo or Manhattan Beach or near LAX Airport, do head down Sepulveda to Rosecrans and you can find Grimaldi’s between Aviation and Sepulveda.

For more information, please check out the social platforms listed here for Grimaldi’s Pizzeria!
http://www.grimaldispizzeria.com/

https://twitter.com/GrimaldisPizza

https://www.facebook.com/GrimaldisPizzeria

http://instagram.com/grimaldispizzeria

I am a Yelp Elite member and you would find pretty much this exact review on my Yelp account.

In the spirit of transparency, the PR firm for Grimaldi’s offered me a press preview for me plus a guest – and that was what I did with Jennifer. Thank you to Grimaldi’s for the spoiling us so. Grimaldi’s showed us such great service!
However free meal or not, that doesn’t change how I review restaurants and service. What it afforded me was the opportunity to share this restaurant with all of you vicariously through my review and also with 2 of my friends.

Stevie Wilson,
LA-Story.com

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Author: Stevie Wilson

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