Sitting on a luxury tour bus with cushy seats, driving around some of the most beautiful city sights, occasionally disembarking to take in some sunshine and stuff my face with pizza… Is this the stuff of a “What do you think heaven is like?” fantasy? Yes. It is also the true-life reality of A Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour.
A Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour is all about getting up close and personal with the hottest New York clichés: Brooklyn and pizza.
Are you drooling yet?
Fuhgettaboud the jaded, hipster stereotype, A Slice of Brooklyn is happy to hold your hand if you might otherwise be afraid to explore Brooklyn. The tour bus even met us in Manhattan, then used the trip across the East River as the perfect intro to ease us into New York borough of that’s so hot it’s hotter than a pizza oven.
So the best part of this tour was the gluten-riddled food stuffs, smothered in melted cheese and sauce. I mean…duh. Don’t worry, I’m about to tell you all about the pizza, but first I gotta say our tour guide Marc is second only to pizza. High praise, right? A Slice of Brooklyn only hires native locals, which guarantees a love and respect for the area that can’t be beat.
Hey, it’s me with A Slice of Brooklyn tour guide Marc! His favorite Ninja Turtle is Michelangelo. (I know because I asked.)
You can’t help but make the comparison the minute he asks, “How you doin’?“: Marc’s got all the charm of Joey Tribbiani but none of the sleaze. He’s also a lot smarter too. Dude has more facts and stories about Brooklyn than Nathan’s has wieners.
Our bus took us from one end of Brooklyn to the other. Starting a stone’s throw from Manhattan and traveling all the way to the boardwalk of Coney Island.
The pizza landscape is similarly traversed! Starting with the traditional brick oven, thin crust slice and going to the other end of the pie spectrum of the thick, hearty Sicilian square. From one restaurant that’s so well-known by tourists, there’s always a giant line of them out the door, to an Italian joint so local that the minute you walk in you hear a New York accent yelling “Hey, Vinny!” (Seriously, that actually happened!)
Grimaldi’s Brick Oven Pizza
I wish I’d worn my jean jacket so me and this little girl standing outside Grimaldi’s could’ve matched! We both had the same idea: dressing to accommodate any tomato sauce spills!
Grimaldi’s is famous for its traditional thin crust classic margarita. It’s a fresh mozzarella classic with just marinara sauce, basil leaves, and olive oil. The crust is both crisp and chewy, with a slight saltiness just at the edge.
I could eat this every day of my life and not complain!
Grimaldi’s makes all their pies right at the front of the large restaurant. You can watch them toss the dough in the air, snoop on sauce application, and observe long-handled pizza peels bring pies into the red-hot brick oven. For a pizza die-hards, this is as good as front row seats for Hamilton.
The room where it happens:
After stuffing our faces with multiple slices (this tour is not for calorie counters!) we hopped back on the bus and sped off. Did I mention it was an absolutely glorious day? We waved good-bye to Grimaldi’s out the window (just kidding, we weren’t that touristy).
See it directly under the close tower of the Brooklyn Bridge? The white fancy looking building? It used to be a bank! But now it deals in the (arguably more valuable) currency of secret Italian recipes!
Somehow A Slice of Brooklyn manages the unthinkable: making bus travel in NYC down-right enjoyable. Movie clips play on the bus’ TV screen, perfectly synced with the sights outside the window. It’s a fun combination of sightseeing, movie trivia, and even some funny-because-it’s-true history lessons.
Like: did you know the Verrazano Bridge here is so long it has to be curved because of the curvature of the Earth?
No? Not blowing your mind? Well, that’s just because I’m not as good as Marc…
Let’s bring it back to pizza!
L & B Spumoni Gardens
I gotta admit, I’d never heard of this place! It’s in a neighborhood of Brooklyn I’d never heard of either- Gravesend! You know it’s super authentic when a New York Cliché blogger hasn’t heard of it, some might say…
You know it’s authentic when you walk in and feel like a tourist because you don’t have a Brooklyn accent. How you doin’? How am I doing? I’m overwhelmed! And the pizza?
This is without a doubt, the best Sicilian slice I’ve ever had. A Slice of Brooklyn really changed my life: before this tour I never really understood why Sicilian slices existed. They were bready, never worth the extra carbs, and just plain inferior to thin crust. Meh.
Then I ate an L & B slice of pizza. My world forever changed.
The crust was deliciously light and moist, with sauce perfectly permeating the top layer. Not only did I suddenly understand why Sicilian pizza exists, I understood why so many places call this style a “grandma” slice. This pizza loved my mouth unconditionally and gave my tastebuds the best hugs. It made me feel safe and warm and cozy. L & B’s Sicillian slice is so worth the trip over the river and through the woods to far out Brooklyn.
You have to get dessert, even if you don’t have room for it! Yet another thing I never knew before but learned on the A Slice of Brooklyn tour: what spumoni is!
Spumoni is a frozen Italian treat that’s like the love child of Italian ice and gelato! Not too sweet, they have a perfect tri-flavor combo of Chocolate, Vanilla, and Pistachio. You go to L & B Spumoni Gardens, ya gotta try the spumoni! That’s like the Brooklyn version of the cliché, “When in Rome…”.
So full of pizza love and spumoni sweetness, we headed to the last stop on A Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour:
waddled walked around the Boardwalk digesting our slices, learning awesome facts from Marc, and soaking up some springtime sun. A perfect trifecta. I think my favorite part was how many locals tagged on to the tour, listening to things they didn’t even know about the area. A little kid on a bike followed us around the entire time we were in Coney island. You would’ve thought he was a plant!
Guys, A Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour is so entertaining, it’ll make an 8 year-old boy stop popping wheelies and listen attentively. Can ya get a better endorsement than that? Fuhgettaboudit!
Bring your kids, bring your grandmother. Really, anyone who is not lactose intolerant or gluten-free will love A Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour.
As we slipped into food comas and headed on the bus back to Manhattan, one final moment of Brooklyn magic appeared out the window: the Tom Fruin Water Tower!!!
You might remember how in love I was with Tom Fruin’s Stained Glass House installation in 2015. Ever since then I’ve tried to get a good look at this water tower piece. But the best view of it is from the highway! So I was beyond thrilled that our awesome bus driver Edwin took us past it. The cherry on top of my spumoni!
Pizza Tours happen seven days a week! A Slice of Brooklyn also has a sa-weeeet Chocolate Tour which I also went on and highly recommend: read about it here. For pricing and to schedule your A Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour, visit their website here!