(May 22, 2015) Grotto Pizza is now operating its first location on the Ocean City Boardwalk at 14th Street inside the Commander Hotel.
Vinnie DiNatale, the director of marketing, said the combination of Grotto Pizza, the ocean view and Boardwalk is a perfect atmosphere for families enjoying their vacation in Ocean City.
The 6,000-square-foot structure seats 160 people and contains an indoor dining room, sports bar, patio outdoor seating overlooking the ocean and a take-out counter downstairs.
During the summer, Grotto Pizza will also serve the Commander Hotel pool bar, DiNatale said.
The former home of Skipjack Grille went through a couple cosmetic changes including adding a pizza line and take-out area. Grotto Pizza officially took over the location in January, and construction started during March. It opened for the season last week.
“[Grotto Pizza’s owner Dominick Pulieri’s] mantra has always been about the customers and to take care of guests and his employees,” DiNatale said. “The pizza is a great product. It’s unique and we are really excited to be on the Boardwalk in Ocean City. It’s going to be a great 2015.”
The Ocean City Boardwalk Grotto Pizza is the company’s 21st and the second location in Ocean City. Grotto opened its first Maryland location in Ocean City on 125th Street during the summer of 2012.
Pulieri had been looking for a number of years to expand his Grotto Pizza brand onto the Ocean City Boardwalk and was waiting for the right location and size to come along.
“The Commander Hotel is a good fit with the family-oriented atmosphere and the beach. We provide the quality hotel and dining experience on an affordable family budget,” DiNatale said.
Grotto Pizza was founded by Pulieri in 1960 when he was 17.
Born in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., he decided to open a pizza restaurant with his sister and her husband in Rehoboth Beach, Del.
It’s hard to believe now, but at the time Sussex County residents were not aware of pizza and Pulieri was tasked with introducing his product by handing out free samples.
On his 18th birthday, the pizza shop broke $100 in sales for the first time. At the time, pizza slices sold for 20 cents each and a whole pie was $1.60, DiNatale said.
Grotto Pizza was put on the map by its loyal Sussex County guests and tourists visiting the beach town.
By 1963, Grotto Pizza opened a second location on the Boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach.
Grotto Pizza on 14th Street and the Boardwalk is open seven days a week, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner from 8 a.m. until about 11 p.m. with extended hours in the summer.
It will stay open until mid-October, following the hours of operation at the Commander Hotel.
For more information, visit GrottoPizza.com.