Last week, I was invited to try their menu at the Westshore location with the Tampa Bay Bloggers, and let me just say they prepared quite the spread for us to sample.
Before we were served, the General Manager, Randy Bartoe, discussed a little bit of Grimaldi's history with us. I wish I loved my job as much as Randy clearly does. You could tell he was passionate about pizza, which in my opinion is never a bad thing to be passionate about, really. He informed us that most everything was made in-house, or specially made for Grimaldi's. As an example, their pepperoni is distributed by Hormel, but specifically for Grimaldi's, only. He also explained that their coal ovens at each location were designed just for them. And my favorite little "tidbit from Randy" was a concept. He explained that rather than being a pizza joint with other menu items that were just so-so, they focus on what they know, so they can be the best at it. I loved that, and whole heartily agree. Also, I don't actually recall Randy saying, "pizza joint" -- I may be paraphrasing, but you get my point.
|House Salad: Romaine Lettuce, Red Onion, Cherry Tomatoes, Oven Roasted Sweet Red Peppers, Mushrooms, Sicilian Green Olives, Vinaigrette Dressing|
Have you been to an "Italian" restaurant and ordered an antipasto salad/platter, only to be disappointed with slices of what taste like pre-packaged deli lunch meat and cheese that could have been bought yourself at the grocery? I have, and it's a sad day for my palate when that occurs. Fortunately, Grimaldi's Antipasto Plate is spot on; Fresh Mozzarella, Oven Roasted Sweet Red Peppers, Genoa Salami, Olives and Fresh Baked Bread. Their Mozzarella is hand-sliced, and fresh, as well. Mozzarella makes my heart, and stomach very happy.
Added to the other half of our regular pie was a classic, pepperoni.
|White Pizza/White Pizza with Spinach and Tomato|
Are you keeping track of all the food?! After Regular, Regular with Pepperoni, and White, there were more varieties to try.
|Pesto/Pesto with Artichoke|
|Buffalo Chicken Pizza|
After all the food we consumed, I wanted to cry I was so full. But then someone mentioned cheesecake, and somehow, I dug deep and magically found a bit of room within me. Listen, there is always room for cheesecake! Generous in size, moist, and flavorful I do believe I have found a new place to get my cheesecake fix.
We were also served cannoli. In all honesty, I have never been a fan of this dessert, anywhere. The filling was good, but I was all about the cheesecake. Those who ate the cannoli raved, so you will just have to take their word for it.
I already can't wait to dine again, and bring Jason, and friends along!