Crustless Pizza At Umberto’s The Inventors Of The Grandma Slice — Cult Following


(guitar strumming) – [Serena] The Grandma Pie, a staple when it comes to New York pizza. And there’s one spot on Long Island that claims to have invented it. Their fans don’t disagree and have brought their obsession
nation-wide over the years. – This is the Grandma’s Pizza. Wow, oh yeah. Mmmm. Wow, wow this is great. Oh yeah. Mmmmmm mmmm. That was good. – Umberto’s had a police
escort to bring their pizzas to the airport to get on
a flight to Indianapolis. – [Reporter] Chopper 4 was
overhead while a car carrying the Giants favorite pizza from a shop in New Hyde Park headed
to LaGuardia airport. – [Serena] Now it has a ton of imitators, but Umberto’s still boasts title of first, and some say it is still the best. I’ve brought along Melissa McCart who loves Grandma Pie and also used to be a food critic here on Long Island. – This is an old-school pizza
parlor with beer and wine, it’s almost as if
everybody knows each other, but they don’t and they’re
sort of talking across tables, and there’s opera
playing or Frank Sinatra. – That is Park Slope, 1964. Me on the left, my brother and the guy that sold me the pizza place. – That was your first pizza place, in Park Slope?
– My first pizza place, yeah. – And how old were you there? – I was ’bout 21. We sent the pizzas to the
Giants in Indianapolis. – Was that the Super Bowl? – Yeah. – [Melissa] How many pies did you have to send to feed the Giants? – About 35. – I heard that this is where
the Grandma Pie was even born. – You bet. – Is that true? – You bet, and whoever
says ‘no’ (mumbles). – [Serena] Umberto’s opened in 1965. The restaurant first started making the Grandmas early as
the 70’s for the staff, but they didn’t start
selling it until later. A Grandma Pie is a pizza
with a thin layer of dough in a square Sicilian-style pan. The bottom is crisp and the top only has shredded mozzarella, crushed tomatoes, garlic and olive oil. It’s called Grandma because it’s like what grandma used to make back in Naples. – This is a Grandma pizza we
scratch about an hour ago. And we put this bit on the top, this way it doesn’t get dried out, and fix a little like this,
very thin take the air out, we’ll put the cheese on,
and now we put the sauce on. And we’re gonna put a little more oil on the corner, it’ll be nice and crispy. (electronic music) – [Serena] How long you been
comin’ to Umberto’s here? You a regular? – I’ve been here when this was a one-window establishment
with three stools. – [Serena] How often do you come in? – Sometimes four times a week. – I’ve been coming here 40 years. – [Serena] Why, did you
grow up in the neighborhood? – No, I used to play softball near here. And the only reason I played softball was because after the game we came here. – This is the kind of restaurant that has a tons of really obsessive fans, and you were like ‘yeah, totally.’ – I am certainly obsessive about it. Not only the food, but the people that serve the food are really nice. – You’ve gotten to know them a little bit? – Oh come on! They’re like family. – [Serena] So what is your order? What do you gotta get? – You know I love the
Grandma pizza, it’s the best. – It’s the Grandma’s pizza though that brings me back to this place. That’s my favorite. – Oh, this looks amazing. – It looks so good. – See even eyeing this slice there’s like the burnt cheese on the edge– – [Melissa] I know. – [Serena] It looks amazing. – So I’m psyched for these
little crispy bits here, I like the fact that the
mozzarella is made every day, but I also want like a varying texture so you have like the softer
cheese in the middle, and then these like almost black sections. – I know you got it right, super crispy. Nice and brown. – The combination of the
toppings and the olive oil is really what brings it together and also what makes it
messier and crispier is that olive oil ends up
being a seasoning of sorts, and it shapes the texture of
the pizza and how it tastes. – This really feels like a party pizza, like you order a ton of
these for your family and just go at it cause
they’re not super heavy, so you can really eat a bunch
of ’em and just kinda relax. – Definitely, there
aren’t that many places that make the Grandma
slices well as they do here, and that’s probably because
they invented it here. (rock music) – [Umberto] Homemade
sausage and broccoli rabe. – I saw it and honestly,
how can we not eat this. – I know. – It looks amazing. – You can see the fennel, and the sausage, and you can see the pork in there, and you can definitely
tell that it’s homemade and this is not an industrial product. – [Serena] You should go for it! – [Melissa] I’m doin’ it. So good, between the broccoli rabe, and then the irregular-shaped sausage, it’s like, it’s awesome. – The broccoli rabe just
has the right amount of bitterness to it
that adds to the flavor, which is really fun. What do you think makes
Umberto’s so special, why do people like it? – The owner is amazing and
he’s a total character, and I think that people like to feel like they’re taken care of
and it’s allowed them to grow. So it used to be a little pizzeria, and now it’s like this vast restaurant that has multiple rooms because they have to accommodate all these regulars. (electronic music) – If you liked this
episode of Cult Following click here to watch more. The first location in North America and it does seem like a lot of people are coming here as a destination to try out this new thing. From Japan, there’s so so many– (guitar chord)

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