Name: Grande's Pizza
Location: 1250 Upper Front St., Binghamton, NY 13901
Phone: (607) 723-9011
Price: $20-$30 for a party of two to dine in, $15 take-out.
Grande's offers of an extensive menu of Italian cuisine--pasta, chicken, veal, etc.--but the real reason to make the trek up to Upper Front St. is for the pizza. In my opinion, the pizza at Grande's is not only the absolute best in the Binghamton area, but some of the best I've ever had anywhere. They have a pizza buffet four nights a week (Sunday through Wednesday) for customers who elect to dine in, or you can pick it up to-go. The only drawback to Grande's is that they don't deliver!
We went to Grande's for dinner last night and had a great experience. Despite walking in at dinnertime on a Friday night, we were seated quickly. The waitress was friendly and attentive throughout the meal. The atmosphere is a little more formal than your average pizzeria, but that's because many patrons are there for more than the pizza. I've gotten things other than pizza on the menu before, and they were adequate, but there are so many Italian dining options in the area. When I'm at Grande's, I want to focus on what they do best, which is clearly the pizza.
Each of us started with a house salad, and we ordered a large pizza with extra cheese this time around. At most pizza places I like to order pepperoni or sausage or something on the pizza to give it a little extra flavor, but Grande's pizza is excellent just with the plain cheese. The pizza came out promptly and done impeccably. One of the most amazing things about Grande's is the remarkable consistency of their pies. We've ordered their pizza dozens of times and have yet to be disappointed in the product. The pizza itself is standard New York style.
Definitely the fold-and-eat variety. It's hard to say why I consider this pizza in such high esteem, because there really isn't anything all that special about the contents. The crust is tasty and sufficiently crispy (not too doughy), the tomato sauce is very good, sweet but robust, and the cheese has a really nice flavor to it. It's well seasoned with a little oregano. Tastes great hot out of the oven, or cold out of the refrigerator (if you order a large like we did, you'll definitely have leftovers for the morning).
Pizza is a favorite food and, hence, a sensitive topic for many folks, myself included. Some people in the area swear by Consol's and their grilled pizza (which I do like, and will write about in a future update), others prefer the unique sweet dough of Brozzetti's in Johnson City. Still others clamor for Mario's out on the Parkway, which I think is pretty much crap, or Nick's in Endicott, or Tony's in Endwell, or the ubiquitous Nirchi's, or some other choice entirely. For my money, Grande's is the best of the bunch, and an option that many diners might overlook due to its location (an otherwise rundown shopping center). Check it out!