172 Myrtle Ave.
Beer selection: Standard blue-collar dive bar offerings.
Food: Pizza from heaven.
Pizza, beer, and baseball at 11pm on a weeknight?!
Unless you have a travel schedule like me, you will never know how good that sounds.
Like the words, “Play ball!” “You’ve been upgraded.” “Scarlett Johansson is here to see you.”
It just brings a smile to my face.
The last 40 hours before opening the front door of the Colony Grill, I had crossed the entire continent twice, folded my 6’3” body into five coach seats (so much for travel awards), hiked through seven different airports, stood in three rental car lines (so much for “Fast Break”), gotten four hours of sleep, and eaten one meal that consisted of an In-And-Out burger being consumed while steering a rental car with my knees driving down I-10 at 75 MPH. I had laid my eyes on the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, and the Atlantic Ocean again.
By the time I landed at JFK, I was not a happy traveler. It was already 9:30 at night. I was tired, hungry, and thirsty, and still had a one hour drive through New York traffic to get to my hotel.
Under normal circumstances, that would spell gas station hot dogs and a 40oz of Miller Lite on the hotel bedspread.
But that’s one of the silver linings in a dark cloud of Yankee territory.
Say what you will about their socialist politics, nasty attitudes, crappy weather and gridlocked traffic, but those Yankees understand the need to eat and drink after most Southerners have long since gone to bed.
And that’s something you really appreciate after enduring 16 hours in a metal tube with nothing to eat.
Three other things Yankees understand is baseball, beer, and pizza.
Happily, the Colony Grill had all three.
After a quick change into a fresh pair of clothes, I arrived at the Colony Grill at 11pm on a Wednesday to find a bar full of guys watching the Yankees, drinking beer, and eating some darn good pizza.
If heaven ain’t a lot like the Colony Grill, I’d just as soon stay home. (To paraphrase the great Hank, Jr.)
I’m not sure why it’s called the Colony Grill though. There wasn’t much grilling going on as far as I could tell.
When I asked for a menu, the bartender handed me a crinkled piece of paper. The very top listed their pizza and toppings. The rest of this piece of paper listed all their alcohol.
The Colony Grill is basically a dive bar that’s been run by Irishmen since the 1930s.
But it’s definitely not one of those manufactured “authentic” Irish bars you find in touristy spots in Chicago or Boston.
The Colony Grill doesn’t have an Irish sounding name. There are no Notre Dame pennants on the wall. They don’t even have Guinness on tap.
What it does have is real Irish guys serving the beer, and real Irish guys drinking the beer – as is evidenced by the dozens of Irish police and fire fraternity patches decorating the bar.
The other thing the Colony Grill has is really good pizza. It’s a recipe they’ve been using for decades.
Super thin, yet firm, crispy crust. This isn’t that fold-over, floppy, greasy mess you get down the road in New York.
Colony pizza is famous for their “hot oil” topping, which is basically a mixture of olive oil and spices drizzled onto the entire pizza, adding a touch of zest to each bite.
The Colony also adds a “stinger” to the center of the pie — a very hot pepper with seeds and heat fully intact. One bite and you’ll be begging the bar-keep for another draft!
My hot oil pizza (which I ordered with freshly-made Italian sausage and onions) was one of the top ten pizzas I’ve ever had.
I was especially proud of myself for the astute choice of onions, which had soaked up the zesty flavor of the hot oil and caramelized under the blaze of the pizza oven.
Each and every bite was an oniony, peppery, cheesy, crispy delight.
The only bone I had to pick was with the sausage.
Don’t get me wrong – that gourmet Italian sausage made across the street at Deyulio’s Sausage Company was absolutely delicious.
There just wasn’t enough of it.
I’m a meat-in-every-bite kind of guy. When I bring a slice of pizza to my mouth, I want to see some spicy, dead pig. Each and every bite.
But that’s a minor quibble. One that can easily be fixed by adding Colony’s big pepperoni slices.
By the time the clock rang midnight, the Irishman tending bar was cleaning up, I had run through half a tree worth of napkins, and I was ready to get some sleep (I had 6am wake-up call).
And although whether or not I survive the week remains to be seen, I do know that heaven can wait. Cuz I’ve already been there.
Rating: Bought The Shirt!