What Exactly is a Grandma Slice Anyway?


Which one of these looks like your Grandma made it?

I have to say I was completely confused by the triangular slice of “grandma pizza” our Downtown Lunch correspondent Daniel Krieger posted about last Friday from Pizza Italia. Admittedly, I don’t know a ton about grandma pizza since my only exposure to it has been at the Jiannetto’s Pizza Truck on 47th btw. Park+Mad.¬† But I was under the impression that the one common quality shared by all Grandma style pizzas is that the slices are rectangular, right?¬† I checked in with Daniel, and he had this to say:

“Grandma slice has like a sweet/tangy sauce that I believe is slow stewed. I also just read somewhere its fresh tomatoes instead of canned but I don’t know if that’s accurate (someone said it on a board). It usually has fresh mozzarella on it and has the cheese on the bottom and then is covered with the sauce (as opposed to traditionally being vice versa). And is almost always a square baked pie like you said, not triangle. That’s why this one is a bit unique”

Wait- so what exactly makes this a grandma slice then? I decided to check in with the expert…

A quick search on Slice (America’s #1 Pizza Blog!)yielded this post, which quoted an article in Newsday:


“Variations abound, but the basic outlines are as follows: a thin layer of dough is stretched into an oiled, square “Sicilian” pan, topped sparingly with shredded mozzarella, crushed uncooked canned tomatoes, chopped garlic and olive oil, and baked until the top bubbles and the bottom is crisp.”

Ok, so now we’re getting closer. Cheese on the bottom, tangy/chunky sauce on the top (which would indicate that it’s just crushed tomatoes, or a very fresh sauce that hasn’t been boiled down into a uniform sludge), and that it’s cooked in a Sicilian style pie pan (rectangle). But grandma style is much thinner than Sicilian.

So if Grandma Style pizza is a thinner version of Sicilian pizza, where the cheese is under the sauce and cooked in a pan (i.e. can be made at home by your Grandma) that would certainly include Jiannetto’s. Garlic, mozzarella, and olive oil are probably¬† included or not included based on where you get it (Jiannetto’s uses parmesan instead.)

So I guess technically a grandma slice could be circular shaped, as long as it was thin, and cooked in a pan, and the cheese was under the sauce- right? Although Adam Kuban (the founder and editor of Slice) gets the last word: “I don’t think anyone just looking at that slice without context would ID that as ‘grandma style’!” Agreed.

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10 Comments

  • The square one is the Grandma Slice. No triangles allowed in this category.

  • The Sicilian, or like my favorite pizzeria by home calls it -the Grandpa slice, I think has the cheese on top.

    I prefer grandma over Sicilian, the Sicilian slices I’ve had didn’t have the garlicy/basil/tang that the grandma does. Plus I love the crispiness!

  • I’m not a fan of the grandma slice – only because I don’t like rectangular or square/sicilian slices. I like the triangualr ones/ Neapolitan pies more. Only times I like rectangular are when it’s those huge slabs of pizza out the brick oven with numerous toppings.

    http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2008/09/what-is-grandma-pizza-erica-marcus-explains-once-more.html

    I like Nonna Maria slice at Bleecker Strete Pizza – it’s the triangle version of the grandma slice.

  • the rectangle one looks like grannie made it.

  • Mamacita, Grandpa and Grandma slices are both thin. The Sicilian is something else.

  • Oh yeah, well nothing beats a gourmet english muffin pizza toasted up hot and fresh (circa middle school days). Could that be made in an easy-bake oven? hmmm… Could i hide that under my desk at work? more hmmm…

  • Oh I love these thin rectangular pizza. so simple and delicious.

  • Siciliain is maybe an inch thick and bready.

    Grandma is maybe 1/4 thick, much crispier and not doughy at all.

    No clue about location of cheese but I dont think it has anything to do with description. Jiannettos there is no mozzarella but at Pizza 33 there are squares of fresh mozzarella on top of the sauce.

  • the sicillian is called a grandpa slice at the place by me, maybe they’re retarded, but it’s a sicillian alright.I no expert but I know I LUVs me my grandma slice!

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