Bites Nearby: Grimaldi's Brick-Oven Pizzeria

That smoky flavor and crispy crust you knew in Brooklyn can now be found in Highlands Borough, about 15 miles away.

Overview: For those who have waited for hours under the Brooklyn Bridge at the original Grimaldi’s, you no longer have to make the drive or wait on line for a slice of Grimaldi’s world famous pizza. Grimaldi’s recently opened a short drive away in The Highlands. The only difference between the Highlands and Brooklyn locations is the location itself. Grimaldi’s prides itself in using the same ingredients right down to the custom water pumping system that duplicates the water from Brooklyn.

Decor:  The first thing I noticed about Grimaldi’s is that you can walk up and watch as their homemade pizzas are made in the large brick oven. A large bar sits with several flat panel TVs. In the dining room, the tables have traditional red-and-white checkered table cloths. On the wall is a large mural of the Brooklyn Bridge with Grimaldi’s original location painted right under the bridge. 

The Drinks:   Grimaldi’s has a full beer and wine menu with a bottle of wine starting at $30 and going up to $90 for a Gaja Ca Maranda Promis, a merlot blend from Tuscany. Beers range from American classics such as Coors Light to Italian favorites Meretti and Peroni. Beers are reasonably priced at $3 for domestic and $4 for imported.

Appetizers: Grimaldi’s appetizer menu is fairly small with only a few dishes ranging from Antipasto ($12) to Meatballs in Red Sauce ($5).  We opted to split the Fried Calamari ($12) which my dining companion said rivaled his Italian mother’s.  The Calamari was lightly battered with a slight lemony flavor and the sauce was tangy. 

Entrees:  Grimaldi’s is famous for their coal oven pizza. There are six varieties of main pizzas – ranging from $9 for a personal pizza to $16 for a large white pizza.  Then you can add as many of the toppings as you want.  The coal oven is so hot that it only takes 90 seconds to make each pie. Grimaldi’s has traditional Italian entrees such as Ravioli ($10) and Sausage with Broccoli Rabe ($15).  Every night, the chef has an extensive Specials menu, and our night was no exception. 
The Shrimp Parmigiana with Rigatoni ($24) had real slices of mozzarella and extra large shrimp. And the Chicken Franchese over Rigatoni ($15) was three large chicken breasts in a lemony butter sauce. 

Sides:  Sides at Grimaldi’s are not an option, as the entrée portions are large enough bring home half for lunch the next day!

Desserts:  Traditional Italian desserts are the fare here, with Homemade Tiramisu ($5) and Homemade Cannoli ($3.50) as the specialty.  Topped off with a Cappuccino ($4) it makes the perfect ending to the meal.

Service: The service at Grimaldi’s was great.  Our waitress, Debbie, checked on us frequently and our food came out of the kitchen quickly.

Signature Dish:  Any of Grimaldi’s Coal Brick Oven pizzas (starting at $9).

Grimaldi’s Coal Brick Oven Pizzeria

123 Bay Avenue (take Route 36)

Highlands, NJ



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