If you're hungry for Brooklyn-style pizza but want something quicker and more casual than Paulie Gee's, head to Gramps. Inside one of Miami's most popular venues hides a bright-yellow-and-red Cuban-style ventanita. But instead of finding pan con bistec and guava pastelitos, you'll discover Pizza Tropical, developed by chef Frank Pinello of the Brooklyn spot Best Pizza.
Created in summer 2016 through a collaboration between Pinello and Gramps owner Adam Gersten, Pizza Tropical whips up pies, which are also available by the slice, with a Miami spin ($3.25 to $30). You might be familiar with Pinello's pizza on the Viceland series The Pizza Show, which was recently renewed for a second season.
"Merging the taste of Brooklyn’s finest with the eccentricity of Miami has been a smooth fit,” Gersten says. "Frank brings great, authentic Brooklyn-style pizza to Miami, and I bring a venue that houses unique artists and performers that wouldn't necessarily find a home in Miami otherwise.”
A few bestsellers on the menu are Abuelita's square pie, topped with homemade mozzarella, tomato sauce, and basil; La Hawaiiana, with char-grilled pineapple, chili oil, and cilantro; La Blanca, with ricotta, mozzarella, caramelized onions, and toasted sesame seeds; and more traditional flavors such as cheese and mushroom.
"Frank is a Brooklyn-born Sicilian," Gersten says. "Pizza is in his blood, and neighborhood Brooklyn pizzerias are his inspiration. When I went to his pizzeria and saw that he focuses on doing simple pizza perfectly, with great quality and intention, I knew that we had, at our cores, the same mission... his with pizza and mine with drinks.
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"Flash forward to us sifting through sweltering-hot restaurant-supply warehouses, searching for the perfect pizza oven in the dead of a Miami summer," he adds. "Look at us now... We have big plans for Pizza Tropical."
It wouldn't be a ventanita without coffee, which is why Pizza Tropical offers Cuban café too. If you're not in the mood for pizza, the spot also offers hot wings ($10.99) and warm garlic knots ($3).
Pizza Tropical will remain a permanent operation at Gramps. Gersten has left the door open for future food concepts but hasn't divulged details.
The window is open from at 11 a.m. until late, depending upon shows and performances happening at Gramps.