Restaurant Reviews

Old Greg's Pizza Opens in Miami's Design District

A slice of an Old Greg's Pizza "O.G. Roni" pie
A slice of an Old Greg's Pizza "O.G. Roni" pie Photo by Nicole Danna
It's 2:57 on a chilly Saturday afternoon in Miami, and already there are ten people in line outside Old Greg's Pizza, which is set to open at 3 p.m.

By 3:15, the count has swelled to just over 20, with a line that extends north along NE Second Avenue. Pedestrians walk past, pausing to glance perplexedly at the string of people gathering along the sidewalk at the outermost edge of Miami's Design District.

At 3:20, someone from the back of the line approaches the Old Greg's entrance. The peppy sounds of '90s R&B croon from the speakers outside the restaurant as she asks the question that must be on everyone's mind:

"Have they opened yet?" she asks.

"They said it'll be a few more minutes today," a front-liner responds.

Just before 3:30, hope arrives in the form of paper menus. They're taped outside the entrance and along the wall where eager customers await. It lists the day's offerings: a porchetta and polenta special, chicken wings, salad, breadsticks, meatballs, dessert, and — most important of all — pizza.

Regulars have come to expect the wait for Old Greg's, the pandemic-born pizza spot launched as a pop-up and named after the sourdough starter newly minted restaurateur Greg Tetzner and his girlfriend, Jackie Richie, affectionately dubbed "Old Greg."

With places like Ghee Indian Kitchen, Michael's Genuine, and El Bagel on his resume, Tetzner has shared that he originally aimed to start selling pizzas in March 2020, but lockdowns derailed those plans. To bide time, he and Richie took to Instagram — posting pictures of pies gifted to friends, family, foodie influencers, and restaurant industry folks — in hopes of building momentum.

In July 2020, the duo connected with Miami chef Brad Kilgore, who'd found Old Greg's via Twitter. A notorious pizza lover, Kilgore loaned the couple kitchen space in his Japanese speakeasy, Kaido, allowing them to share their pies with a ravenously growing audience.

From there, the menu expanded to offer additional options that today stand firmly on their own rather than take a back seat to Tetzner's famous pies. A handful of items includes breadsticks with garlic-Hollandaise dipping sauce, meatballs, and breaded chicken wings that are all not only done well but a notch above exceptional.
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Old Greg's wings
Photo by Nicole Danna
The wings ($14 for five) aren't greasy and deep-fried but have that finger-food allure just the same. Covered in a thick, polenta-studded breading, it's almost a mini fried chicken meal. They marry perfectly with the provided sides of herb-flecked blue cheese dressing and Calabrian chili pepper paste-based Buffalo sauce, both with the potential to become so addictive they could go the way of cottage industry if bottled and sold.

A daily special often rounds out the non-pizza savory offerings. But truth be told, it's desserts like the olive oil-based lemon poppyseed tres leches ($10), gussied up with Sicilian pistachio, fennel pollen, and stracciatella-rich cream, that make this more than your average pizza pit stop.

Still, customers continue to clamor for the pizza, initially available solely via online preorder on a first-come, first-serve basis. The hard-to-come-by nature only fueled Old Greg's social-media feeding frenzy until early fall 2020, when Tetzner ceased taking orders.

In October 2021, after months of hiatus, Tetzner broke his pizza-slinging silence with an Instagram post teasing his new location. Two months later, on December 25, he announced Old Greg's would begin operating in "test mode" that night from their new Miami home. For the next few weeks, they opened a few weekdays and almost every weekend, announcing dates and times to loyal subscribers via Instagram and email.

Five weeks in, and the crowd this past Saturday is a mix of the pop-up veterans and a handful of eager newbies, the latter eager to shed the title of "Old Greg's virgin." And the line, the wait, the making-it-here-before-they-sell-out still feels like part of the mystique — and subsequent bragging rights — that come with being an Old Greg's patron.

In the world of pizza, loyalty may fall to the classic New York slice, the doughy Neapolitan, the oil-slicked Detroit — even the Chicago deep dish or its alter ego, thin-and-crispy "pub" pizza. No matter the predilection, the people in this line have come to Old Greg's for a taste of sourdough pies priced at $24 to $31 apiece.

Tetzner has been quick to quip his pies aren't Detroit-style (i.e., marked by a crisp, cheese-fried crust). Instead, you'll get dough rife with ellipsoid bubbles — like the interior of a fresh-baked baguette that's less dry and more chew.

While it's always a good idea to start with the baseline plain pie, don't make the mistake of missing the "O.G. Roni." For a crust almost an inch thick, it's notably light. A well-toasted bottom gives way to an airy bite, the top covered with a slick of tomato and cheese that ooze over the edge, caramelizing into those extra-crisp patches that beg to be eaten first.

You can truly appreciate the bright tang of the house tomato sauce, the even smothering of melted mozzarella, the fragrance of whole-leaf basil, the sweet heat of the hot honey drizzle, and, most crucial, a ton of pepperoni. And not just a random sprinkling, but rather a blanket of the cured meat, each slice baked into crisp-edged cups, pools of meat fat glistening at their centers.
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Old Greg's also makes round pies.
Photo by Nicole Danna
While the square is what Old Greg's is best known for, the round is a more recent offering. Commercial ovens allow Tetzner's crew to render his dough into 18-inch round pies that, on this day, include the "Lokal Tatsoi & Tomato." A pricey pick at $31, it's a verdant combination of pickled onion, a pesto-like garden-herb crema, whole-roasted cherry tomatoes, and cave-aged cheddar slathered so thick you'd think the weight of it would flop into a messy topping catastrophe.

But that doesn't happen. The doughy slice seems to defy the law of gravity with a one-hand hold test, supporting a deluge of toppings without even a hint of bottoming out.

Both pies offer a taste of what can only be considered incredibly good pizza with just one very obvious problem: It's such a pain to acquire.

After nearly an hour from line to box-in-hand, is it worth the wait? Most will agree "yes" at least once —especially if they order the wings, at least consider the day's special, and leave with a to-go container of tres leches.

On this particular Saturday, it's 6:30 p.m., and Old Greg's has taken to Instagram yet again, posting a statement followers are hoping to see more often: "Not sold out. No more lines." For those late to the game, today there's still hope.

That may all be about to change. In his most recent Sunday post, Tetzner alluded to establishing official operating hours, somewhat cryptically addressing NBC6's Kelly Blanco:

"@kellyblancotv call me tomorrow so we can plan our weird opening announcement. i think we ready."

Either way, it's safe to say lines — and the hype — will persist at Old Greg's. Whether you decide to brave them is up to you.

(New Times made several attempts to reach the partners for this story but received no reply.)

Old Greg's Pizza. 3620 NE Second Ave., Miami; 866-653-4734; Hours vary.
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Nicole Danna is a Palm Beach County-based reporter who began covering the South Florida food scene for New Times in 2011. She also loves drinking beer and writing about the area's growing craft beer community.
Contact: Nicole Danna

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