Grotto Pizza – The Revival

GrottoSlices

A dear friend of mine had asked me I had written about Grotto Pizza, and specifically about the Columbia, MD location.  I never asked him why that one specifically?  I could envision him saying, ‘well why not?’  That’s exactly right.  And this is in celebration of National Pizza Month.

GrottoFront

I never explained to my pal that back in May of 2015, I was pretty harsh on the place.  But this was the Dewey Beach location. We’re talking Memorial Day Weekend, loads of people, lines for food and drinks everywhere, and a likely rush for the way anything is prepared.   I don’t often read my old posts but I can imagine I said something similar but still being really hard on their pizza.

I’m not usually one to be critical.  I discuss a place on how it presents or how I feel it tries to present itself.  It’s all in the intention.  If a place carries some weight and gives off the aura and energy that their pizza, their ambiance, their energy, and their everything is larger than life, then I’ll look at them in a different light than a more casual pizza place.  And if it thinks it’s a little too cool for school or a bit ostentatious, then I will factor that in.

Fortunately, Grotto carries itself in a quite laid back fashion.  Even as this chain grows into a full service bar and restaurant, with locations growing from the Maryland and Delaware beaches slowly into the DC area, it still maintains a welcoming and folksy vibe that I believe they’ve been presenting for the 57 years it’s been open. Yes since 1960!  Math is fun!

While I don’t do many repeats, I feel this was necessary.  And I love thoughtful requests and I love a good redux.

I will say that the Columbia location is among the many spots where there is new development, a new era in living (which is happening in many places), and a revival of sorts.  Whether that’s good or bad is all relative and all on how you think communities should look.

But in the end it’s still always about the pizza, and then some of those other details.

I came at a quieter time, before the lunch rush.  So I had the full and undivided of the kind folks behind the counter.  Yes they were so kind.

You have an easy to use to-go board for ordering, if you don’t feel like sitting at a bar or table.  Before I departed the tables were starting to fill, but I digress.

As an homage to my first recap, everything was to go, and of course I ordered a cheese and then a pepperoni slice.  As a bonus, and just to see how another pie tastes, I went with the Buffalo Chicken.

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The cheese and pepperoni were much better this time.  I love that the pepperoni is buried under the cheese. And the way the cheese is layered on top, in a charming and well thought out pattern is always a joy to see.

GrottoPepperoni

No, these are not to be the best pizzas of all time.   They’re fun.  The crust is a standard thin crust.  These are good slices for on the go and they do the job.  At around $6-$7 for two slices and a soda, that’s a solid deal.

GrottoBuffaloChicken

I can’t quite say the same about the Buffalo Chicken.  My main issue is the price.  At $18 for a medium, which presents itself more like a small, it’s a little pricier than I feel it should.

The sauce, chicken, cheese, and crust were fine but nothing special.  It’s a solid pizza, but not at the price.

You can see by the menu, that they have a plethora of pies, that you see in many pizzerias, with a few of their own creative takes thrown in…

…this is why I think another visit before the year is over is necessary.  So I’m thinking by the holidays, and I have a specific location in mind.

GrottoSlicesMenu

If you’re a fan of Grotto, my opinion is not going to sway you one way or another. People love the tradition and history behind the place.  I love tradition.  I love sentimentality.  It’s a place many of our parents and grandparents took us during Summer outings to the beach.  And now that it’s in a neighborhood or town near you, new traditions, homages, and memories can be made.

I look forward to creating another memory later this year.

For more on Grotto, here is their menu, locationscontact info, and their history.

Thank you so much.  Happy National Pizza Month.  And peace be with you…

Ideen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delaware’s Finest

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I didn’t know much about Wilmington, other than that it’s the largest city in Delaware. Maybe I didn’t know that and I just looked up that information moments ago.

Little did I know that this is a city that’s only going to keep on growing.  But every city says that and they should, as long as its for the better.

There’s a lot of character.  We got old buildings, we got run down ones, and everything in the middle.  Sounds like everywhere right?

No matter what, when you drive into a new town, it’s likely going to be exciting and  the feelings create a sense of curiosity.   For me, when I pass through town I want to park my car and start strolling.  I had no idea I would find myself here and get lost at the same time.

DiMeoFront

Within that curiosity leads me to naturally want to find some yummy pizza slices.  I wasn’t in the mood for a whole pie today.   Fortunately, DiMeo’s checked up so many boxes and more.  But I don’t have a checklist haha.   But the coziness and location already sounded like this was going to be a winner.  And of course it was.

DimeoSide

It’s got a great vibe yet feels like a newer pizzeria all at once.  If you’ve been there or been to a place similar, that will most likely make sense.

DimeoSign

I didn’t know at the time this was a family run business.   That always tugs at my heartstrings and hits a sentimental spot for me.   So my hope is that the food, ambiance, and vibe will all match what most independent restaurants tend to bring.  I’m happy to report that it did.

The place was starting to pick up as it was lunch hour so I grabbed my slices real fast.  I tend to love my alliteration so I deliberately ordered two slices that both started with the letter, ‘V’, for that reason alone and no other.

I went with the Vulcano and Venerdi.  Yes I originally thought the former was called ‘Volcano’, and that wasn’t as far off as dopey at first glimpse.  It’s a buffalo chicken with a much sexier name.  I like it.  I liked the pizza.  Even though the warm weather didn’t echo dining on a thicker and spicier slice, it was still tremendous.

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If I had to nitpick, the slices didn’t seem as thin as they may have advertised.  But they do Neapolitan Style which further explains the Vulcano name so their crust is going to be a bit different.  It’s freshly baked and delicious, but was a bit thicker for my taste at the the time.  But it was cooked perfectly.  The diced chicken mixed with shredded pieces was charming.  And the sauce, my goodness that sauce, was fantastic.  And just a little bleu cheese goes a long way. This is a great slice.

DimeoVenerdi1

The Venerdi was outstanding.  I love mushrooms and spinach.  These two veggies paired together was a treat.  I actually may have liked this slice more. That’s more of a personal choice than anything else. The tomatoes were a nice complement to the rest of the pie as well, if albeit understated.  Man this slice was good.  And the crust actually went better with this than the Vulcano.  But once again it’s a personal preference above all else.

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This was my first time in Wilmington and hopefully not the last.  It’s a little under an hour from me so I shouldn’t make any excuses.  It’s a different world and different is good.  It’s easy to get comfortable in your neighborhood or nearby city, so as to not leave. I imagine that many folks who live here would feel the same, unless they head 30 minutes to Philadelphia.

There’s a lot to like in the downtown area.  And for me I’m glad it all started DiMeo’s.  If you’re interested in hearing more, here is their contact information.

Enjoy Summer.  Yes it’s still Summer.

Ideen