This is getting to be an old story. A simple brick storefront downtown on Bayonne’s Broadway continues to change hands—remarkably remaining its configuration as a pizza joint. Morphing from “long-standing” Mario’s Pizza to the “move uptown and then shut down” Lorenzo’s Pizza & Pasta, and after a blink of an eye as Pizza Bella, the spot is now home to Grandpa’s Kitchen.
And, in a somewhat strange full circle, the owner of the new place is named Mario! Although their website says he owned a restaurant outside of Rome, Italy for two decades, the new sign at the Bayonne location says “Since 1975.” Could this be the return of the original Mario?
Back in town for a few weeks taking care of some family matters, I had a short rope on my Pizza-Snobbing travels and needed to stay close to home. Thus, a pie and a big grilled chicken salad to bring home on this weeknight seemed in order. However, to test the chef, I requested a cheese slice ($1.50) while I waited and watched the rest get prepared from scratch right in front of my eyes.
Scoping the place out, the inside had not changed from its previous incarnations. I did notice the rather extensive menu of dishes which also surprisingly included breakfast options! Most notably my observations found the reason behind the joint’s new name. Starting some small talk, I got to meet Mario, his wife and their darling young grandson! Our chatter continued, and I found them to be some of the nicest people you will ever meet. And, what a great gig they have! Run a restaurant from 9am to 8pm (closed Sundays) while babysitting your pride and joy!
As to my slice on-site, Mario, or “Grandpa,” asked me if I wanted it “hot.” Replying in the affirmative, it came to me in what I would describe as a cautious-eating state. Looks wise, the slice was more triangular in shape than one finds in these parts. Also, the bottom crust looked pale, more perhaps from choice of flour than the lack of a char.
Taste wise, it was a little below my norm. Not enough of a pizzaologist, I was unable to pinpoint my mild dissatisfaction which seemed to point to an unfamiliar taste in the tomato sauce. All-in all though, it was quite enjoyable, tasty and not overdone with sauce or cheese. Despite the lack of char, it was crisp and made for a classic Fold & Rip finale.
This may not have been the best slice one can have in Bayonne, but this is a great place run by some genuinely lovely people. I wouldn’t hesitate going back and suggest you give them a try as well.
PIZZA SNOB RATING ***1/2 Working on a Good Thing
330 Broadway (between 15th and 16th Streets)
Bayonne, NJ 07002