Posted By: Pizza Expert on July 11th, 2010
Ed note: Make sure to check out our updated review of Grande Pizza here.
A new pizza place recently opened up in Boca Raton on 18th street, where Times Square Pizza once lay. I knew it was a matter of time for Times Square Pizza to close. For some strange reason, the previous owner sunk a ton of money into the place, expanded it, and decorated it with modern 1980’s booths.
We had heard several times it was for sale, as many prospective buyers would email us to see why we didn’t like the pie there. None seemed to pull the trigger, which led me to believe the place was way overpriced. Recently someone actually bought the store and renamed it Grande Pizza Co. Grande apparently has 4 other locations around Florida, some with different names though.
Upon walking in, I wasn’t too impressed with what they did to the place. As you pass through the narrow entry, the pizza counter is to the right, leading to the cash register. As you veer to the left, all you can notice is this huge bar that they custom built, which takes up plenty of space. I was a bit perplexed….is this a pizza place or a sports bar? Will they be serving bar pies as well as their regular pies? Why else have this bar in the center?
While walking past the counter, I noticed that the regular slices were very thick, and the crust did not look appetizing to me. When we sat down, it was mutually agreed that we would order their Sicilian pizza since:
1. The waitress told me it was the best she had ever had
2. The regular looked so thick that it didn’t appear to be something I would like
3. They advertise Grande Cheese being used, and it tastes great on Sicilian
After waiting a short amount of time for the pie to get cooked, and listening to some of the annoying customers complain about their slice taking too long to come and that they should have it for free (I think restaurants should be allowed to have age limits on their patrons, since past 80, everything seems to be worth arguing over), our smoking pie came to the table. Immediately I mentioned to Andy that this pie was undercooked. He wasn’t certain since the crust was pretty well done. After both trying a slice we sent it back to go into the over for a few minutes more. The crust was in fact, almost burnt, but the cheese hardly melted and the sauce was still cool. Something tells me that Grande hasn’t learned to cook a pie with their ovens at this location yet. Grande Cheese cooks differently then your average Sysco brand. They should lower their temperature and let the pie cook longer. It is also recommended that they spin the pie around to cook evenly since even upon the second try of our pie, half was burnt and the other cooked regularly.
The cheese was great, like Grande always is, but it tasted like I was eating cheesy bread at some points. The inner crust tasted like bread, and the outer part was too light. I normally enjoy airy Sicilian inside the crust, but this wasn’t at all what it should have been. The sauce had very little taste to it, and what I did taste, did not blow me away.
Grande, instead of focusing on remodeling the place, and spending tons of money on the interior of this location, I think you would be better off spending time and efforts on perfecting your pie and how it cooks. It would be a shame to see another place fail in this location, and you have some stiff competition from Cilluffo’s Pizza across the street which makes a great slice. We listened to what other patrons were saying about the pizza to us, and all seemed to think the best part of this pizza is the cheese. We are happy to help you perfect your recipe in hopes of seeing you survive!
Grande Pizza Co. gets 4 out of 8 slices.