Grimaldi's Pizzeria opening at Casa Paloma - East Valley Tribune: Ahwatukee Foothills

Grimaldi's Pizzeria opening at Casa Paloma

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Posted: Wednesday, July 6, 2011 12:00 pm | Updated: 12:50 pm, Wed Jul 6, 2011.

A new pizzeria in Casa Paloma is hoping to bring tradition and an authentic taste to the Ahwatukee Foothills area.

Grimaldi's Pizzeria has been around since 1905. They started in New York but are now headquartered in Arizona.

Since their first opening they've used coal ovens to cook the pizza. The ovens weigh 25 tons and require cooks to slide pizza into the oven using a 7-foot pole. All this work for a smokey taste not found anywhere else.

"The key to our success is really quality," said Brittany Maroney, marketing director for Grimaldi's Pizzeria. "It's sticking to those roots that evolved in 1905. We still use the exact same coal-fired oven. Every morning we light the coal in every location across the U.S. and our coal actually never goes out. That fire is burning 24 hours. That's really how we get great flavor in our crust. We import the coal from Pennsylvania. It's a very unique hot burning coal, which is how we get our crispy crust."

Quality is a focal point of Grimaldi's. To get the same consistent taste they also duplicate New York water in every location across the U.S. It may seem crazy, but the commitment to consistency is fostering growth with the company.

There are nine openings across the country scheduled for 2011. The location at Casa Paloma opens July 11 just for dinner service. The coal oven has already been burning for weeks in preparation for what Grimaldi's hoped would be a quiet opening. Maroney says it may not be so quiet.

"The feedback we're getting, I would assume that Monday is going to be a packed day where everyone is excited to come out for the new location," she said.

Grimaldi's hired employees for the new location weeks ago. Maroney said they were hiring for about a week-and-a-half and in that time they received hundreds of applications. From those they were able to pick out the best employees.

"These candidates had energy, exuberance and the passion for our pizza," she said. "That's what you'll get when you walk in the building. Our cooks actually have to train for four to five weeks in order to develop the skills involved in handling the ovens. Front of the house staff have to go through two to three weeks of training so we are sure they're prime candidates for serving our customers."

Maroney said Grimaldi's is also excited to announce another restaurant coming to Casa Paloma in July: Coal Burger, another brand by the same company, will be opening right next to Grimaldi's Pizzeria.

"Not only are we bringing one fantastic brand to the table we have that Coal Burger coming as well," she said.

For more information on Grimaldi's Pizzeria, visit www.grimaldispizzeria.com.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com

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