Chow Bella

New Grandma-Style Pizza Spot from a NYC Pizzaiolo Opens in Old Town

Grandma-style pie from Crisp Premium Pizza.
Grandma-style pie from Crisp Premium Pizza. Courtesy of Adrian Langu
Last weekend, a New Yorker named Adrian Langu opened a pizza shop in Old Town Scottsdale. His shop, Crisp Premium Pizza, will serve grandma-style pies. These pies get their cues from New York. Langu has lived in Brooklyn and Manhattan. He started making pies at family-style pizzerias when he was a young teen.

"Grandma pie" is a pizza style that gets little love in the Valley. Here, Neapolitan is king. But pizza culture varies far and wide beyond Naples, the birthplace of the world's greatest flatbread.

"It's grandma-style pizza," he says. "It's not Sicilian or New York style. It's in between both."

click to enlarge The interior. - COURTESY OF ADRIAN LANGU
The interior.
Courtesy of Adrian Langu
Grandma pies are square. Their thickness is somewhere between Neapolitan and Sicilian, generally closer to the thick, doughy pies of Sicily. Langu bakes his pizza in pans slicked with olive oil, aiming for crispness on the underside and softness within. Grandma pie (also called square pie and, in some parts, tomato pie) resembles the kind of pizza you can make in a home oven.

Langu uses Caputo 00 flour, a finely milled Italian flour often used for pizza and pasta. "We're focusing on good products, a simple ingredient list," he says. "We're not trying to be all over the place."

Toppings are classic. Meat-wise, Langu topps pizzas with the likes of pepperoni, sausage, and chicken. Fresh mushrooms, olives, spinach, cherry tomatoes, and garlic are among the vegetable toppings. He hits pizza with both mozzarella and Pecorino cheese. He makes the tomato sauce himself.
click to enlarge The toppings. - COURTESY OF ADRIAN LANGU
The toppings.
Courtesy of Adrian Langu
He plans to introduce specials once Crisp Premium Pizza has been open for a little longer. For now, Langu is focused on cranking out pies for the hungry folks that can fit into his tiny Old Town space. The spot is small and simple, with no alcohol and not much other than pizza on the menu. (There are two salads for now.) A red pie costs $24, a white $27. Slices start at $3.25.

Metro Phoenix's pizza culture just got more interesting.

Crisp Premium Pizza. 7111 East Fifth Avenue Suite F, Scottsdale; 480-874-2747.
Wednesday to Monday 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. (for now); closed Tuesday
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Chris Malloy, former food editor and current food critic at Phoenix New Times, has written for various local and national outlets. He has scrubbed pots in a restaurant kitchen, earned graduate credit for a class about cheese, harvested garlic in Le Marche, and rolled pastas like cappellacci stuffed with chicken liver. He writes reviews but also narrative stories on the food world's margins.
Contact: Chris Malloy