Before I begin with my weekly pizza feature, I would like to thank those of you who are taking the time to read this. As a fairly seasoned blogger with my main site, Eat, Drink & Be Tracy, this is a new site that is still in the works. I have lots of fun stuff coming and hope you will check back often to see my progress. This week’s feature is Grimaldi’s Pizzeria and my visit was hosted. About a month ago I was invited to a media lunch to try their new seasonal menu items and was unable to attend due to traveling. I reached out to them regarding my pizza feature and they graciously invited me to come and have lunch. While my meal was complimentary, all opinions are my own. I do not feature anything if I do not like it. Period.
Not a day goes by that I do not think about pizza. To say I am obsessed would be putting it lightly. Pizza is all I need to be happy. It is always there for me, does not disappoint and always puts a huge smile on my face. Back in January I decided to get a pizza tattoo to show my love for this wonderful, cheesy comfort food.
As I take on this culinary journey to find the best pizza in the greater Tampa Bay area, I am meeting so many wonderful people and for that, I am extremely grateful. This past week I had the pleasure of dining at Grimaldi’s in Tampa which is located at Westshore Plaza. This was my second visit to this location and they did not disappoint. From the moment I walked in until the moment I left, the staff was just fantastic. Dining out is such an intimate experience and they really made me feel at home. As someone who works in hospitality, I really pay attention to the small details.
Can I just say how much I love the interior decor at Grimaldi’s? If you have never been, the best way to describe it is like walking into a cozy, old school Italian restaurant. With wine bottles as light fixtures, brick, red and whte checkered table cloths and lots of black and white art work, it is easy to get nice and relaxed while noshing on incredible pizza.
I brought my foodie partner in crime along with me. You might know him. He is well known in Tampa for his love of food and chats about all things food and sports related on his radio show on 102.5 The Bone. I’ll introduce him shortly but first, look at this beautiful Kale Chopped Salad that we enjoyed. Since I eat a lot of pizza, I have to be sure to eat my greens and this salad is a beautiful medley of kale, romaine lettuce, artichokes, cucumber, red onion, shaved Italian cheese, sun dried tomatoes and Kalamata olives tossed in lemon vinaigrette. We both enjoyed it and I wouldn’t mind going back and having it again.
Ok, now let’s get to the star of the show……the pizza. I have been to Grimaldi’s a few times and plan on going many more times to try as many flavor combinations as possible. My absolute favorite is the classic Margherita Pizza. Nothing beats their famous sauce made with San Marzano tomatoes and the generous amounts of fresh mozzarella and basil.
Oh, so here is my friend I was talking about. His name is Ian and you can follow him on Instagram @ian_beckles. I am actually trying to get ahead of him with followers so he should thank me for letting him win. Seriously, give him a follow as he is always showcasing great food and local products in Tampa Bay.
After enjoying several slices of heaven, I got to enjoy some doughlicious entertainment. If I tried that, there would be pizza dough on the ceiling and in my hair.
Not wanting to leave, I sat down and chatted with Grimald’s General Manager, Derek. He was so kind to take the time to chat with me about all things pizza. I learned that each location has a 25 ton brick oven that is the first thing built during construction. All pizzas are hand stretched and hand tossed to order and take from 3-4 minutes to bake at 500-550 degrees. As we continued to chat, I was offered dessert and although I was full, they had me at house-made cheesecake. As someone who has worked in restaurants most of her life, I know that house-made anything is a treat and I could not resist their blueberry cheesecake. All I can say is that it was worth every calorie.
My visit to Grimaldi’s was exquisite and I am ready to return. They are currently in my top ten for pizza in Tampa Bay.