Sophisticated Food at Grampa’s Pizzeria
The new Willy Street restaurant features top-notch, local ingredients
Barberini and finnochio pies; Gil Altschul and co-owner Marissa Johnson (right)
PHOTO BY NICOLE PEASLEE
Grampa’s Pizzeria might sound old-fashioned, but the Willy Street restaurant focuses on satisfying sophisticated palates with revamped Italian staples.
Smoked mozzarella, locally cured pepperoni and regional honey are just a few of the ingredients showcased on Grampa’s menu.
“I am in no way Italian,” jokes owner Gil Altschul. “So I didn’t want to do a margherita pizza. I don’t even think I pronounce it correctly!”
Altschul’s interpretation of a margherita includes mixing his own pesto and tomato sauces with the house mozzarella.
He also offers a more grown-up version of pepperoni pizza, using Underground Food Collective’s peperone sausage, castelvetrano olives and leeks. The Barberini pizza is a fan favorite with Calabrian chiles, watercress, ricotta and honey.
“What you get here is kind of the collision of a Midwestern pizzeria and fine dining,” says Altschul, who comes from a fine dining background. “I don’t ever think I thought I was going to open a pizzeria. I’m glad I did, and I think it’s a fun place.”
The namesake is also fun for those who follow local history. Grampa’s Pizzeria is housed in the old Grampa’s Gun Shop, where, for three decades, customers bought weapons like AK-47s.
Altschul isn’t a fan of firearms, but he did buy a few antique guns for décor. He kept the name because he uses his grandfather’s pizza recipes.
“It is my mother’s father’s recipe—a recipe he taught to my dad and my dad taught to me,” he says. “It just felt right. We’re happy to have everyone here. I hope people find the space and they like it.”
1374 Willaimson St.