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For “Juliana’s” and Her Extended Family Legacy

All throughout my childhood the kitchens of my Italian relatives had three primary colors: red, black, and white. These colors can also be found at Juliana’s.

My voyage to Juliana’s was inspired by a visit I took a couple of weeks ago to a pizza joint in Brooklyn known as Patsy’s Pizza. After a great lunch there I learned how these two restaurants were connected as I researched Patsy’s and thus Juliana’s for my blog. While Patsy’s had been on my 2016/2017 to do list, I felt a surge of desire to hit up Juliana’s before my new to do list premieres later this year. Thus plans were made and with the help of my fairy godmother Joleen at Juliana’s a magical night was in my immediate future.

Juliana’s is the brainchild of Patsy Grimaldi the nephew of the family with the surname that brought coal ovens for the purpose of pizza making to this great land of ours. Grimaldi’s, both the name and the chain, has since been sold but the love of pizza making was so strong in this man he came out of retirement and at the young age of eighty-two decided he again needed to share his talents with the world. He has been making pizza since he was seven and learned by watching his uncle so I suppose you can say its in his blood, and of course his name.

Ironically Juliana’s is in the same location as Grimaldi’s was the very first time I visited it. I have to say though I like this location much better now with the current renovations.

The room is medium sized but has an open yet intimate feel. The noise level is moderate and the service is unbelievable. Our server Paul was a doll and manager Jovan couldn’t have been friendlier. My party’s needs were met and then some. But good service means nothing without good food.

As I sat at my table, in a restaurant under the Brooklyn Bridge I enjoyed watching the men nearby flip, toss, and mold the dough that would become the thin crust pizza we were here to enjoy. The sights and smells around me were all consuming. I could not stop moving my head all around. Finally I just had to focus and order so others would want to check out my meal.

I started with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, which was a bit drier than the glass I had at Patsy’s but was still delicious. My mother, who was my partner in crime for this meal, had a vanilla egg cream, a childhood favorite of hers. I was surprised to see it on the menu but this is the kind of place where old meets new. What isn’t broken isn’t fixed and that’s why I believe it is so popular.

I was disappointed I didn’t see rice balls on the menu but now I realize that was a good thing. All I would have done was compare it to Patsy’s and that was not what this night was about. As the record stands those were the best rice balls of my life and I dare anyone to top them.

I was hungry and excited and that meant I would be trying more than one thing from the menu despite my inability to finish either at that time. We decided on a Margherita pizza with kalamata olives, which apparently I have an addiction for. Recently I rediscovered pictures of the same pizza from Pizzeria Paradiso in Georgetown, Washington D.C. that I had in 2010. I suppose I have a type.

The pizza was a circular site for sore eyes. It was just the right amount of sauce, cheese, and olives. It wasn’t too salty or over run with any one flavor. It was crisp piece of heaven that didn’t need one seasoning to be added to it. The handmade pizza had the taste originality although they are cranking these out by the hundreds. It hasn’t lost any art of the craft that started way back in 1933.

For our entrée part two we ordered a tradition calzone, or so I thought. This would be the thing to beat here! I am here to tell you this was the BEST calzone of my life!! And I am not really a calzone person although per usual I eat my fair share of them when my family orders dinner from one of our local pizzerias.

But the calzone here was unstoppable. Every week during those dinners my mother reheats the calzone she orders and then puts a ton of garlic but remains unsatisfied with the ordinary flavor of her final product. The calzone we had at this meal was the antithesis of all of those wasted calories when we thought we knew what we were eating.

Juliana’s calzone has so much seasoning both inside and out. You could actually see colors in the cheese mixture before you taste them. We would end of taking half of it home and reheating it the next day for company we had over, so they could sample how amazing it was. They too fell in love. While I was happy to share the wealth, a bigger part of me wished I had a whole one to hide in the corner with and eat all by my lonesome. Maybe another time.

It turns out my next calzone related journey will take me back to Brooklyn at the House of Pizza and Calzone, formerly known as Simone’s. This House is home to the deep fried calzone as opposed to the one Juliana’s made in a coal fired oven.

Luckily for me there was still more to come from Juliana’s. For dessert I had the pistachio ice cream, which is made down the block at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. It was quit yummy.

My mother had the strawberry ring ding, another blast from the past. There was a hard strawberry frosting overlaying vanilla cake and strawberry jam. It was the perfect size like those cakes in “Alice in Wonderland” that read: “Eat Me”. Both the cake and the jam was exceeding delicious. I would have liked the jam to have been available for purchase.

While dessert was sweet by far the sweetest part of my evening was getting to meet the man himself, Patsy Grimaldi! He was so kind to stop by my table and chat for a bit. He was even so gracious as to take a photo with us. It was the perfect ending to a perfect pizza experience.

I left this evening feeling as if I were part of Juliana’s extended family and now that’s just how I like to think of myself.

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