Desperately needing another pandemic break, Mrs. Pie and I took the chance on a November trip to the beach. Again, visiting our beloved 30A on the Florida Gulf Coast, we were truly blessed with a beautiful week with the weather forecasters being about as wrong as they possibly could be. This time though we stayed at our quiet secret spot of Inlet Beach at the far eastern end of 30A which put us in closer proximity to the less quiet Panama City Beach further east.
PCB is quite the commercial beach town and reminds me somewhat of the beaches in my home state of New Jersey. That said, I did come across quite a few pizza places to explore, however there was nothing screaming at me anywhere that got me the least bit excited. COVID also made things a little less accessible with a few not open indoors and some having shorter hours. (The latter made the one recommendation I had impossible for me to time.)
But, on the one day where the weatherman knew which way the wind was gonna blow, we took a daytrip to PCB to do some shopping and I targeted a place with the seductive name of New York Pizza & Grill.
My destination was in the large and lovely outdoor Pier Park shopping center. It’s a place with a few of the box stores, many smaller shops and a dining area reminiscent of the food court at the mall. Driving back west to Pier Park to end our day, I did spot that NY P&G had a second location on the northern end of PCBs main highway across town.
After Mrs. Pie made a few shopping stops and I took care of a personal requirement, we headed over to the food area on the southern side of Pier Park. I spotted the joint near the Ferris wheel in the food area. With close parking quite scarce, Mrs. Pie dropped me off and circled the block, knowing that I can finish a slice of pizza in just a few seconds.
It was quiet inside and much to my delight, off to the left I spotted a full wall mural of one of my most favorite places on Earth, Yankee Stadium. The room was full of tables and chairs and on the side in the rear was a counter from which to order. Behind the glass were two dry looking pies, one plain and one with pepperoni, that had a sad lonely look about them. Although the word “pizza” came before “grill,” these slices, albeit thankfully thin, seemed like an afterthought to the gyros and burgers on the menu.
It cost me $5 to get into the game and get a plain cheese slice. While I waited, my server spent most of his time standing in front of the oven while it reheated. He looked like he had a plan for its release with a clock counting in his head. I got it and took it to a table outside in the fresh air to check it out.
Wow! I thought he had left my slice in the oven for longer than need be, and man, was my slice piping hot. But it was kind of hot in a good way and surprisingly, I found the slice somewhat satisfying. However, the cheese was disappointing. Likely not the highest grade of Mozzarella, it just didn’t have much taste and spewed off a bit too much oil. Thinking about it, the tomato sauce wasn’t memorable either. Fortunately, being crisp and hot kept this from being a sub-standard specimen.
This is not a slice you need to necessarily need to seek out. But if you get stuck shopping at Pier Park, why not?
PIZZA SNOB RATING *** Better Than Dominos
New York Pizza & Grill
600 Pier Park Drive
Panama City Beach, FL 32413