Thursday, September 11, 2014

Review: Grotto Pizza, Dewey Beach DE

Grotto Pizza is a regional small chain, with 16 locations in tiny Delaware, 3 in Pennsylvania, and 2 in Maryland. It's pretty much unknown outside the area, but it's the pizza of choice for many residents of the First State.  On a recent visit to lovely Dewey Beach, I had my first chance to try it.
A 12" pie from Grotto

In general, I avoid chain pizza.  Most of it is made with inferior mass-sourced ingredients, both to allow a low price and to appeal to the palates of children and ravenous drunks.  
Click on any pic for full size image

Having said that, some chains execute at a very high level, especially the smaller ones like Bertucci's, Anthony's Coal-Fired Pizza, Jules Thin Crust, and Monical's.  Even California Pizza Kitchen is pretty good. Click on any of those for a full review.  

With that in mind, I was open to Grotto pie, given the love it gets from locals.

We didn't try the Gelato

We were on the beach on a beautiful sunny day, and this Grotto location (Route 1 at Read Street) was just a one block walk.  I chose a 12" pie with pepperoni, and to my surprise it took 15 minutes to get it. This tells me that they made the pie fresh when ordered - none of this pre-cooked or pre-assembled slop. I forget the exact price, but it came to over $15 for this small pie; I presume this was "beach pricing."

The strength of this pie was its crust, which was sturdy, with both good crunch and chewiness, and a nice interior hole structure.  All that, despite having been baked on a screen.  The sauce and cheese were suitably bland (but salty), and applied in about an ideal proportion.  The pepperoni was surprisingly spicy.
Damn good crust!

Cooked on a screen, but still well-executed

This pizza passes our "does it beat DiGiorno" pizza test. It's not destination pizza, but it beats 90% of the mom-n-pop stuff, and it is miles ahead of Domino's, Papa John's, and Pizza Hut. 
Pizza at the beach?  No complaints here

The crust gets a 7, the sauce a 6, the cheese and pepperoni 5. Overall, 6.5 pizza. Chain pizza can be just fine, but mostly when it is a regional, smaller one. Still wise to avoid the giant national chains.

Grotto Pizza - Dewey Beach Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


  1. This is a very fair review for their pepperoni, but the real magic of Grotto's comes through with their classic cheese pizza and its delicious interleaved swirls of sauce and cheese.

  2. Thanks, Gabe. The swirl is a classic "boardwalk" style and no one does that better than Norma's Pizza in Manheim, PA. See the review on this blog!