February 20th, 2016 and February 10th, 2017
New Hyde Park, NY
Our first trip to Umberto’s last February was on a Saturday evening, and we drove there with Marg and Scott. As usual, Eric got us off the wrong exit in Long Island, but luckily it wasn’t too long of a detour this time. It is a little tricky to get to from the city because the subways don’t quite get out far enough, so we were glad to have driven there.
On this first trip, we ordered two pies to split between the four of us. The first was the traditional Grandma pie, which Umberto’s is famous for. It has been featured on the Food Network’s “Best Thing I Ever Ate”. Honestly, I don’t remember what the second pie we got was, because this one was just too good. We’ve had a couple of grandma slices around NYC, but we are in agreement that this is the best that we’ve had. The sauce definitely makes these slices stand out.
You may be wondering what the difference is between a Sicilian pie and a Grandma pie. We certainly didn’t know the difference before we started our pizza quest. A Grandma pie is similar to a Sicilian pie only because they are both stretched to fit into a square (or rectangular) pan. The crust is the main difference between the two, with a Grandma pie crust being much thinner and crispier. This is because the crust barely proofs or rises. It is hard to find a traditional Grandma slice outside of NYC. While we would generally go for a Sicilian slice if we had a choice (more bread, of course!), we’d make an exception for Umberto’s Grandma slice.
After our dinner last year, Margaret decided that this is the best pizza she’s ever had. She can’t believe that we ranked it at #34 (Barb) and #29 (Eric). To be fair, though, she still hasn’t been to most of the places in our top 20. In any case, she has been talking about this pizza all year and so we decided to go back this past weekend for a group birthday celebration. This time, we (Marg, Scott, Claire, Eric, and I) took the LIRR out to New Hyde Park from Penn Station.
We went with the Grandma pie again (of course) and also got a Veggie pie and one with sausage, peppers, mushrooms, and onions. These traditional pies were good, even with the crust being a little burnt on the sausage. We liked how the crust held up to all the toppings without sagging, although the veggie pie could have used some more sauce. Unusually for us, we had leftovers.
I think Marg will probably talk us into going out to Umberto’s again in the future, even though it is a hike to get there. Until then, maybe we will try our hand at making our own Grandma pie.
Marg, thank you for taking us out to Long Island for this pizza and reminding us how good it is. We will be happy to go again anytime, but we think you need to try some of the other pizzas on the list too 🙂
Claire, thanks for joining us and for providing us with some great photos. I didn’t post the one of the spinach in your teeth, but I’m happy to send it to you to include on a dating profile because it is a real winner.
633 Jericho Turnpike
New Hyde Park, NY 11040