"OMG! Want!" is what I said almost a year ago when I saw a photo of a pepperoni pizza from the Colony Grill in Stamford, Connecticut.
Over the weekend I finally made it to Colony and all I can say is OMG! AWESOME!
The Colony Grill occupies an area somewhere between a pizzeria and a tavern. I would hesitate to call it a tavern tavern because you would never, ever go there solely to drink. If you did, you'd have to be either lactose intolerant or a drunk. No, it's basically a pizzeria-tavern hybrid.
As such it serves bar-style pizza — small, ultra-thin, crisp-crusted pies that probably haven't changed in the 75 years the place has been in business.
They are greasy, perfectly round, little 12-inch pies that a hearty eater could conquer in one sitting. I'd suggest getting one for each person at the table.
If you're looking for all the crust-analysis BS we usually get into here on Slice (hole structure, char, etc.), this isn't the place for you. This is old-school "pizza parlor" type stuff. Mid-twentieth century greasy American pizza goodness.
In fact, and I mean absolutely no disrespect by this, Colony Grill's pizzas taste like the best Chef Boyardee Pizza Kit pizza you've ever had.
OK. Stop throwing those tomatoes at me. That's not an insult! I happen to love those pizza-kit pies, which are geared toward thinness, crispness, and, if augmented by your own mozzarella, cheesiness. Now imagine a really, really good version of that, and you've got Colony.
Girl Slice and I ordered three pies between us — a mushroom pizza, a sausage pizza, and a hot oil pie, which is the signature "topping" at Colony. If you leave here without getting hot oil (chile-pepper-infused oil) on your pizza, you may as well not have visited at all.
Pies topped with hot oil are marked with the presence of a single "stinger pepper."
I have to hand it to our waiter. He was a master salesman. When he guessed it was our first time there, he mentioned that the sausage is made just across the street at De Yulio's Sausage Co. Yessir, we'll have one of those!
I'm sort of on a nostalgia kick recently, and it seems like the pizzas really throttling my mind are those from old-timer, been-in-business-since-before-you-were-born-sonny kinda places.
I'm totally sold on the Colony Grill. I love it and am planning my next trip back. If you are not a Neapolitanista and can enjoy a style of pizza that's crisp-veering-toward-crunchy (look how thin it is in the photo above), you will love this place, too.
But you MUST get the hot oil on a pie.
Next time I go—and it will be soon—I'm doing a hot oil and sausage pizza. And maybe a hot oil, sausage, and stinger pepper pie.
For the New York audience reading this and open to this style of pizza, I urge you to go. Stamford is only an hour by car, maybe an hour and a half by Metro North. It is well worth it.
172 Myrtle Avenue, Stamford CT 06902 (map)