Grimaldi’s Pizzeria

Houston, we have a problem.  Why is the best pizza around outside of the city?  22.1 miles from the heart of downtown to be exact.  That may not seem far to you, but in traffic we’re talking about a 50 minute drive.  I could stab myself in the head out of frustration before reaching pizza perfection.

Where is this pizza perfection?  Grimaldi’s Pizzeria in Sugar Land.  Rivaled only by Dolce Vita, which isn’t fair because we’re talking about two completely different styles of pizza.

The Houston Press recently put out their “Best Of” issue and while I may not have agreed with some of the winners (Best Vegetarian-Friendly was given to Hobbit Cafe … see previous post), I whole-heartedly agree with the Best Pizza Winner.  Grimaldi’s rules this category like no other pizza can.

We’re talking coal-fired, brick oven, thin crust pizza.  I’ve wanted to eat there since they opened, but the location is awful.  It’s in the First Colony Mall parking lot, next to the likes of Cheesecake Factory and Kona Grill.  Suburban Hell is what I call it.

So why did I finally make the drive?

To go to the Houston Hot Sauce Festival, of course!  We had spent an hour trying to think of somewhere to eat before burning our insides with hot sauce when it suddenly clicked … Grimaldi’s!  It is just a little bit farther down 59 than the Stafford Center exit and we would finally get the chance to check it out.

We sat outside at the open-air bar, which is a terrific place to enjoy good wine and even better pizza.  Grimaldi’s has done a nice job of decorating (I like that you can see the coal-fired oven) and it has a super-relaxed atmosphere.  For a moment I didn’t think I was in the suburbs anymore.

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We ordered some wine and sipped on it while deciding what to order.  Grimaldi’s pizzas are all create your own, which I love.  There will be no staring at the special creations on the menu trying to pick the best one.  You start with a choice of sauce (Tomato, White with Garlic or Pesto) and then add anything you want from Anchovies to Grilled Chicken to Ricotta.

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Mmm, I can still taste my first bite.   Amazingly crispy crust,  a nice hint of garlicky tomato sauce, chewy melted and browned cheese, slices of sweet tomatoes, some fresh basil and bit of spice from the jalapeno.  Yes, jalapenos.  Got to make my own, damnit.

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And the best part?  This is the kind of pizza that stands out straight when you pick it up.  There is no drooping, greasy, soggy crust.  I am a coal-fired pizza convert.

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And addict.  I nearly stabbed Lucas with a butter knife over the last piece.

Now, if Grimaldi’s would open a location inside the loop I could stop complaining about the lack of world-class pizza in the city.  Because in the city Sugar Land is not.

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