Downtown pizzas topped with history
Though uniquely American, pizza is like most regional foods: Everybody is convinced that their favorite is the best. Downtown Rehoboth dishes up a variety of pies, so let’s check ‘em out!
A locals’ favorite is Louie’s. Since ’74, a thin and yeasty crust has yielded an appetizing “pull” with every bite. Louie’s sons are known for pilin’ on the pepperoni, and somehow their pizza tastes even better when reheated and consumed while scanning the surf from the Boardwalk.
The two Big Boys of Pie, Grotto and Nicola, defiantly face-off on Rehoboth Avenue – Grotto to the south, Nicola to the north. Each cheesy dynasty enjoys an army of militant enthusiasts. It all started with Grotto. In 1960, Dominick Pulieri introduced a thin-crust pie where the sauce is applied on top of the secret blend of cheeses. The delicate crunch when it’s well-done lends credence to what Grotto calls “that legendary taste.” Another trademark is the spiral design when the sauce is swirled onto the pizzas. In the early ‘60s, Dominick and his family stood out on the sidewalk, dispensing slices to clueless beachgoers. Now there are three separate locations in downtown Rehoboth.
In 1971, Nick and Joan Caggiano opened Nicola Pizza. Nicola’s crust is smooth and softer than Grotto, and their slightly sweeter sauce is topped with the cheese. But wait! Take a whole pizza, fold it over like a big hot turnover, and you have Nicola’s signature Nic-O-Boli! Initially available only to Nick’s employees, it’s now part of big hot turnover history and has earned Nicola Pizza a loyal following. So, is it the pizzas or the ‘Bolis that elicit so much dedication? Does it matter? The Caggianos have no intention of messing with success.
Rehoboth Avenue extended hosts Casa DiLeo. Owner John DiLeo’s gigantic two-hander lunch slice is served thin and New York style. The whole pie is bigger than a Cadillac hubcap and several times as heavy. These cheesy circles can be found at the Rehoboth Avenue location and Casa DiLeo North in the Midway Galleria.
So when the salty breeze brings on that empty feeling, a slice might be just what you need. Top it with a twilight view of the surf, and you’ve got the perfect taste of summer.