The experience

Grimaldi'sI had another early evening admission tonight which meant a late dinner for the family.  I came home and immediately suggested Grimaldi’s so we could get moving.  Earlier today, Mina wanted to eat at California Pizza Kitchen, but we nixed that because we did not want to interact with the Black Friday Shoppers.  Dusty decided that he would come along for dinner as well.  He lived in NYC for awhile, so his input on this particular meal would be very helpful.

We drove around McKinney for awhile before I called and realized that we were not in the general vicinity of the restaurant.  Ogre had mentioned on our way there that it was weird that the address said Allen, but the directions online said something about just south of El Dorado Parkway.  Even when I checked it out again on Blackberry, the map made it look like it was located near the Texas Roadhouse in McKinney.  I called and they directed us to the right area near the Market Street Supermarket.

We arrived and were able to find a parking spot right away; we were a little skeptical about the parking meters, but then decided we liked them because all the money received is donated to charity.  We walked in to find a 35 minute wait.  Well, it was after 8 oclock and we did not want to mess with trying to find something else, so we decided we’d wait.  It was very cramped as there is not much waiting room inside and it was pretty chilly outside.  Lucky for me, I had to make some phone calls and it was way too loud in the restaurant, so I headed back to the car.  I left the kids with Ogre and Dusty.  When I came back in 15 minutes later, I found a very annoyed Ogre.

He told me that when they tried to sit on a couple of the barstools with the kids, the hostess immediately told them they couldn’t do that because the bartender would get a ticket.  Ogre did not really buy that explanation, but got up anyway and was now annoyed at the waiting area space and the fact that Mina was not allowed to sit down.  He says that we should be thankful that the kids were in a good mood because otherwise it would’ve been a disaster to wait that long in that little space and I agree. 

We really did have to wait a good 35-40 minutes.  One of the hostesses told us that we’d be getting a large table near the door when they left. That table got up to leave and the hostesses were just standing there chatting so Dusty let them know the table was ready.  There was another table also being set up just a little bit further down -but really only seats four.  They took us to that table.   I pointed out that there was five of us and they said they’d just put a high chair on the end.  I explained to them that we did not want that set up because Benji could grab the hot pizza platters and asked why we couldn’t just sit at the other table.  The hostess said it was “reserved” for another group. I basically said it was unacceptable as the waitress said that “they do this all the time.”  The hostess muttered, “What do you want me to do about it.”  She was very lucky that one of the managers stepped in because I was about to raise an eyebrow and explain to her what she could do about it in a not so nice manner.  The manager asked me what the issue was and I re-explained the situation and pointed out that we’d prefer to sit at the other table and she easily resolved the situation by showing us to that table.  Jeez.

We all got settled in and I was clearly annoyed now.  Our waitress was extra chipper now; Ogre says that the manager told her to be extra nice to us because we were pissed.  Well, I wouldn’t say pissed, but definitely irritated.  She explained the menu to us and how to build a pizza and we ordered our drinks.  She also offered some pizza dough for Mina to play with.

Fun with dough


Mina declared that she was “going potty.”  This caused Dusty to startle.  He told her to “Wait, don’t go potty.”  He was obviously concerned that she was going potty right there in her chair.  She gave him a look and said, “No, I’m going to go TO the potty.”  Ogre helped her to the bathroom -for which there is only one bathroom for each gender.  While they were gone, our waitress brought our drinks…everyone’s except Ogre’s iced tea.  Apparently, they ran out so they were making more. 

When Ogre and Mina returned, we all started seriously looking at the menu to build our pizzas.  That’s when we realized that these were going to be some pricey pizzas!  It doesn’t matter if you put the topping on half or whole or whatever size, it’s 2-4 bucks a topping. I decided that the kids and I would share a pizza.  Ogre asked Mina what she’d want on her pizza and Ogre continued to wonder where his iced tea was.  He looked over to see other tables getting iced teas, but just before he could complain to me about it, I got paged and went out to call the number back.  While I was outside discussing my patient, Ogre came out to ask me what I wanted on my pizza, I tried to discretely tell him while I was listening to the person on the other line, but ended up shooing him back in to the restaurant.  I was able to make it back in just as the waitress came to take our order anyway. 



Ogre was able to fill me on the fact that he watched at least two other tables get their iced tea including our watiress getting iced tea for another table and there he sat just then getting his iced tea when the waitress came to take our order.  Another item added to “What annoys Ogre at Grimaldi’s”.

Our moods were improved by our (thankfully!) well-behaved and in good moods children! 


Princess Mina was performing a magic trick for Dusty.  Here’s how it worked:

Mina put the dog under the napkin.  See, Dusty?  Then she told Dusty to close his eyes.Mina the magician

Then, she told Dusty to open his eyes.  Tah-Dah! The dog is gone!!

Mina the magician


Benji was having fun making his funny facial expression and sounds and Mina was being creative with her pizza dough.  She and Dusty were engaged in a fierce game of I-Spy, also. 

Even the good can go bad, though, if it sits long enough.  Our downfall was when Mina came over to play with Benji and then went back under her table to get back in her seat.  Now, Benji wanted to crawl under the table, too, and I wouldn’t let him.  Ogre had to work very hard at snuggling him with his scratchy beard to reclaim Benji’s good mood. Then we let him play with Mina’s dough -this worked until he got frustrated with it.  Then he screamed at that, too. 

Just before Benji could have a complete melt down, the food arrived.  First mine and Mina’s, then Dusty’s.  They served up the first slices for us.  And Ogre’s pizza?  Yeah, nowhere to be found.  You can add this to “the list.”  It took another 5 minutes or so before Ogre got his pizza.

Benji loved the ham on our pizza and later when Ogre asked me what I thought about the ham on my pizza, I replied, “I wouldn’t know.”  Benji also liked the pizza crust and ate 1 1/2 slices of pizza crust and cheese.  He did not like the sundried tomatoes, which was fine with me, I took those back from him and piled it on my slice!

We were worried that Mina did not like her pizza, but realized that she was just too engrossed with her dough.  Once we had her put her pizza in front of her and the dough to the side, she ate much better.  I also gave Benji a slice of Mina’s pizza to which he ate down to the crust.


Dough Face


I told Ogre that I was a little concerned with the fact that Benji may think that he’s not supposed to eat the crust of the pizza because he has observed that neither Ogre nor I eat our pizza crust and we pile them to the side.  Benji now does the same thing.

Benji's plate

Once we had finished up our pizzas, we thought we’d prolong our dinner even more with dessert.  Dusty ordered Cheesecake (New York Style) and Ogre ordered a Cannoli.  Benji and Mina ate almost all of Papa’s cannoli and Benji declared, “Coo-Coo GOO!”



The food

So they call themselves New York Style Pizza and are proud to say that they are the most award winning pizzeria in the United States.  You pretty much build the pizza yourself, so you are partly to blame if you don’t like your pizza.  Unless, of course, you order the special like Ogre did.

I ordered 1/2 white pizza with sun dried tomatoes and ham and 1/2 red pizza with meatballs and ham (for Mina).  My initial thought was that it was too “herby.”  The sun dried tomatoes were excellent!  I actually enjoyed my pizza quite a bit and would happily order it again.  Benji and Mina liked their pizza also.  This pizza cost $17 to make.

The Monthly Special PizzaOgre ordered the special.  This pizza had Italian sausage, pepperocinis, and Kalamata olives.  He did not think that the Kalamata olives meshed well with the other ingredients.  And this from a gentleman who LIKES Kalamata olives.  Yup, his list gets longer.


Cheese PizzaDusty seemed to be pretty impressed with his Cheese Pizza.  He said this is the first time outside of New York that the sauce seemed to true to what he’d expect in New York.  He seemed a little annoyed that the service was so bad in a place with such good pizza.


CheesecakeI had a bite of the cheesecake and thought it was excellent.  The waitress commented that they make in house. 


CannonliI don’t like cannoli, but the rest of Team Phipps does!  They ate it all up!!


Everyone loves cannoli


No child menu here.


The service

Service here just was not good.   The hostesses were really the worst of the bunch.  Those attitudes need to be checked.  Particularly the woman who initially led us to our table -had I not been in a rush to call someone back after dinner, I would have discussed this with the manager.  I think that type of customer interaction needs to be addressed.  Our waitress was happy and chipper, but it was totally contrived.  And you can still be a bad waitress with a smile on your face.  There was the Ogre iced tea issue and she did not do a great job of keeping drinks refilled.

The tempo of the meal is on the slower side.  I think it’s great if you’re out with friend and chatting, but with kids, it’s not such a great thing.


 The kids

This is just barely a kid friendly restaurant.  Sure, it’s loud and they did offer the pizza dough and this kept Mina very busy, but there’s no kids menu and they weren’t very nice when Mina was seated near the bar.  Despite the fact that the chairs were empty, she couldn’t sit there.

I thought the pizza here was pretty good and, from the guy who lived in New York, these pizza are pretty “authentic.”  So, if you’re willing to endure the possibility of poor service and your kids are well behaved or it’s nice outside so you can wait outside the restaurant, they try it.  Team Phipps is probably going to stick to Campisi’s.

For me, it was more like 3 stars, but for Ogre it was a definite 2 stars.  I guess I can see his point, so I categorized it as 2 stars.

The total: $88.33 (3 glasses of wine (none of which were mine! and 3 adults)

What did Guidelive say?  They say that they are one of the Best in DFW.

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