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What is Grandma Pizza?


Washington Squares Grandma Pizza
Washington Squares Grandma Pizza

Mmm…pizza. Nothing hits quite like a hot and fresh slice straight out of the oven. 

You’ve likely heard of regional pizza styles like Chicago, Detroit, and New York, but did you know that New York has several pizza styles? One of the most popular slices is Grandma pizza. It’s a uniquely New York take on pizza that is unlike any other slice you have ever had.

At first glance, you might think Grandma pizza is a Sicilian slice. After all, both are “squares” — rectangular-shaped pieces — but Grandma pizza is thinner than Sicilian. It has a distinct, crisp golden brown-bottomed crust that is topped with melty mozzarella and chunky tomatoes. It’s the hippest Grandma we’ve ever met!

Pizza is a universal crowd pleaser. It’s no wonder kids look forward to pizza day at school, families love to host pizza parties, and we look for every excuse to make tonight a pizza night.

What is a Grandma Pizza?

Grandma pizza is a sheet-pan, thin crust pizza. It was invented in Long Island, New York. Umberto’s Pizzeria in New Hyde Park invented this easy-to-make Pizza alla Nonna (Italian for Grandma pizza).

This NYC pizza has a distinctly crispy-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside crust because it is baked in a pan coated in olive oil. The dough is topped with sliced mozzarella and then chunky plum tomatoes. It’s baked and finished off with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkling of oregano and Pecorino Romano.

This homespun pizza is just one style of New York pizza. New York-style pizzas include:

  • Grandma pizza: thin and crispy square pizza
  • New York pizza: round, thin crust cheese pizza that has slices so big, they are often folded when eaten.
  • New York Sicilian pizza: thick, dense, focaccia-like chewy crust with tomato sauce and, sometimes, cheese that is cut into rectangles.

Read More: Grandma vs. Sicilian Pizza: What’s the Difference?

What is the Difference Between New York and Grandma Pizza?

There are several differences between New York-style pizza and Grandma pizza, which include:

  • The History: New York pizza was created in 1905 at the first pizzeria in the U.S., Lombardi’s Pizza in New York City. Grandma pizza was invented by Italian immigrant Umberto Corteo in Long Island, New York. It became popular in the 1990s.
  • The Crust: New York pizza is made with proofed dough that is stretched and, usually, tossed in the air before baking. The result is a crust on the thin side that is crispy on the bottom but sturdy enough to hold its toppings and not crumble when folded. The outer crust ring is slightly puffy. Grandma pizza is made with unproofed dough that is stretched directly onto a heavy steel pan that is coated in olive oil. The crust is golden and crispy on the bottom.
  • The Shape: New York pizza is round and sliced into triangles. Grandma pizza is rectangular and sliced into rectangles or squares.
  • The Cheese & Sauce Order: New York pizza dough is first ladled with tomato sauce and then sprinkled with shredded mozzarella. The result is the perfect amount of cheese to sauce ratio. Grandma pizza dough is first topped with slices of mozzarella. Then, spoonfuls of chunky tomato sauce are dolloped strategically on the dough. The dough is not covered in sauce, so this pizza has a distinct look once baked.

Read More: What Is New York-Style Pizza?

Joe & Pats Pizzeria New York Cheese
Joe & Pats Pizzeria | Original Cheese New York
Loring Place’s Grandma Pizza
Washington Squares | “OG” Cheese Grandma Pizza

Most Iconic Grandma Pizzas

It’s hip to be square. No matter how you slice it or top it, Goldbelly has the most iconic Grandma pizzas shipping nationwide!

Washington Squares

James Beard Award-winning Chef Dan Kluger loves pizza so much, he opened a New York City restaurant devoted to it. Washington Squares bakes its rectangular pizzas in oil-slicked pans, creating a thin, fluffy crust with a crispy exterior.

This wheat dough is noticeably nutty and comes with a variety of toppings like: 

  • “OG” Cheese: topped with basil, chilies, mozzarella, parmesan, ricotta, and tomato
  • Mushroom Pizza: topped with fontina, mozzarella, ricotta, a mix of mushrooms, and spicy chili crisp
  • Meat Lover’s Pizza: topped with mozzarella, ricotta, parmesan, soppressata, and house-made sausage
  • Vegan Pizza: topped with basic, garlic oil, oregano, and crushed tomatoes
Loring Place’s Grandma Pizza 2
Loring Place Plain Jane Grandma Pizza

Traze Pizza Lab

Founded by Natalie DeSabato in 2015, Traze Pizza Lab started out selling small batch vegetarian pizzas at punk shoes and art spaces in Queens and Brooklyn. It wasn’t long before  these pizzas with twice-baked sourdough crusts were being baked at a dedicated brick-and-mortar shop in Long Island City, Queens.

Traze Pizza Lab bakes the most flavorful vegetarian pizzas in fantastic flavors like:

  • Margherita: twice-baked pizza with classic chunky California tomato sauce & mozzarella
  • Signature Falafel: topped with Egyptian-style fava bean falafel, smoked gouda, extra sharp cheddar cheese, Halal cart-style white sauce, and sesame seeds
  • Vegan Margherita: vegan-base topped with tomato sauce, nutritional yeast, and vegan mozzarella that is drizzled with olive oil and garnished with fresh basil leaves
Traze Pizza Lab
Traze Pizza Lab Grandma Pizza

Umberto’s Pizzeria

Founded in 1965 by Umberto Corteo, Umberto’s Pizzeria is a legendary spot for pizza aficionados. The New Hyde Park, New York, pizzeria put Grandma pizza, a uniquely New York-style pizza, on the map. Corteo invented it based on the pizzas his mother made for his family in Italy. 

The Long Island Italian restaurant added the once-secret pizza to the menu in the 1980s. Each rectangular pizza has a signature thin crust. Each is topped with shredded mozzarella cheese, fresh basil leaves, marinara sauce, garlic, and oregano. This is the OG Grandma pizza you must try.

Umberto's Pizzeria Grandma Pizza Choose Your Own
Umberto's Pizzeria Grandma Pizza

Grandma’s got a pizza our hearts. America’s greatest Grandma pizzas are shipping nationwide on Goldbelly!

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Read More: The Best NYC Pizza Joints That Ship Nationwide