Cheese-less Pizza: The Phenomenal Crust at Nino’s

Nino's Pizza Without Cheese
Photo by Hey Ridge

It’s all about the crust here.

One of the benefits of coming out recently as a cheeseless-pizza eater is that friends and colleagues have started generously ordering cheeseless pizzas at social events for me and my girlfriend without our having to have that difficult conversation. Most recently was a dinner with friends, at which we tried the Gran Mama pie, with spinach and onions, from Nino’s (9110 Third Avenue).

Nino’s takes credit for making the first grandma pie, or at least the first of what it considers a real grandma pie, and like a typical version, it’s a thin-crust square, and the sauce (for which it’s known) and toppings alone make it a contender: the former has just a hint of sweetness, light yet flavorful, while the latter is just the way I like it: clumpy, in the frozen style, which works so well for a pizza; you don’t want toppings to cover the pie (as arugula tends to do, for better and worse) but to burst from little flavor-pockets like slices of pepperoni. The onions are copious and cooked—oily and curled, not diced and raw.

But what makes this pie stand apart is the crust: well-done without needing to be ordered as such, crispy but also chewy. At the same time. The spinach proved overkill, as the thin crust could barely handle it—and it didn’t even need it. I have a feeling the same would be true of mozzarella. At Nino’s, it’s all about fundamentals: sauce and dough, done to perfection.

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