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Grimaldi's Brick Oven Pizza Hits Sea Cliff Friday

Sea Cliff family brings high-end pizzeria to the North Shore.

The pizzeria opening at 243 Glen Cove Ave. in Sea Cliff isn't what customers might be used to: no slices, no grated cheese and practically no wait for a pie.

It's pizza made more in the Italian tradition. The smallest denomination is a personal pie, and sizes go up from there. The pies bake in about three minutes, said owner Mike Napoli.

"Anyone can make pizza but not everyone can cook in this oven," he said. That's because it heats to between 2,000 and 3,000 degrees, coal-fired and using open flame. 

"It's a unique way of cooking," said Napoli.

It's the same oven used in the two other Grimaldi's. The popular bistro is located on Front Street under the Brooklyn Bridge and in Garden City. Those locations are owned by the Cioli family, friends of the Napoli's.

"People keep calling about Sea Cliff, asking when it's going to open," said a bartender at the Garden City location.

Napoli got involved with the Cioli's business after Frank Cioli's son, Russell, owner of the Garden City restaurant, passed away of a heart attack.

After a career on Wall Street, Mike Napoli yearned for the restaurant business he once knew and wanted something to give his two sons.

A former manager at Old Gerlich's and the Wayside Inn in Glen Head, Napoli developed a fondness for restaurant life.

"I grew up in the business and I loved it," he said. The restaurant is located in the building Napoli frequented when it was Dotty Baker's Deli more than 20 years ago.

His family has strong roots in Sea Cliff. Two days before the shop's opening, three generations of Napoli men bustled around inside getting things ready -- two generations, actually. John Napoli, who built his family's Sea Cliff home in 1958, watched the commotion from a seat by the front door. John, Mike and Mike's two sons are all graduates of North Shore High School.

Napoli's sons, Christopher and Casey, will manage the restaurant. The pies will be created with fresh ingredients made in-house, from the dough to the sauce to the mozzarella.

The Grimaldi's grand opening is Friday at 5 p.m. The restaurant will open regularly at 5 p.m. for dinner.

Editor's Note: The original version of this article stated that Frank Cioli owned both other Grimaldi's locations. Russell Cioli owned the Garden City restaurant, which is now owned by his wife.

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Rocky Monelli January 28, 2013 at 01:36 PM
Wanted to give it a try . Walked down Friday night in the snow. Was told as soon as we walked in that it would be an hour and fourty five minutes to get a take out pizza.We didn't wait . Maybe we will give them another try in a few months
Ernie January 28, 2013 at 02:03 PM
If I ever was crazy enough to open a restaurant (and I pray that never happens), I would live in fear of any kind of mention by the Patch. It just provides self appointed food critics the opportunity to critque my life's work before the creases are out of the tablecloths. I don't know much about Grimaldi's and I doubt I would go to Sea Cliff to try it, when there a couple of dozen pizzerias in the Glen Cove area (I wonder the per capita ration is to people to pizza joints on the North Shore) but I think any new business need at least two to three months before a judgment should be passed.
Jason Molinet January 28, 2013 at 02:39 PM
@Ernie Agree with giving a biz time to find itself. But criticism isn't a Patch issue, it is what defines the web. And I would hope people are smart enough to read between the lines on any comment.
Lisa K January 29, 2013 at 12:53 AM
Lisa Food and service was top notch!! The freshest ingredients in town !! Tried it the 2nd weekend .
Pazzo March 07, 2013 at 01:15 PM
I tried it the weekend it opened, but will give it another try on a slower night. It took an hour & a half to get a pizza, but I don't think the management was ready for such a bombardment of customers. The restaurant is more upscale than usual pizzerias & the staff was friendly. They use brown paper instead of a pizza box for takeout, which is easier to dispose of. In boca de lupo, Grimaldi's.

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