Daily Grillmaldi's

After months of waiting, El Segundo's newest pizza restaurant, Grimaldi's finally opened today. The location is at the former location of Daily Grill, the intersection of Rosecrans and Apollo. Apparently there is a grand opening event on Wednesday, but we decided to be there on opening evening.

We weren't alone. There was no wait, but the restaurant was nearly at capacity, with some folks even enduring the biting ~60 F outdoor cold of a Los Angeles evening. Brrrr!

Having visited a Grimaldi's in the Las Vegas suburbs, we knew what to expect: a premium pizzeria with a very small menu (pizzas and salads). Just what we wanted.

So how is El Segundo's location on opening night?

Bite-size review

  • The food is very good. But the quality was not quite as high as what we had enjoyed at the Las Vegas location. I chalk that up to opening day mayhem. I expect quality to improve as this new location's kitchen staff has had time to acclimatize to working together.
  • The employees are great. As a chain, they clearly brought in some veterans from other locations so they would have no wait-staff clumsiness, as is the unfortunate routine for a new independent restaurant. They correctly anticipated opening-night madness and were prepared with a full battery of wait-staff, all clearly happy and excited to finally be doing business.
  • Parking is adequate but awkward, as has always been the case for that location, through its previous tenants of Wolfgang Puck Cafe and Daily Grill. You need to park on the first or basement floors of the nearby structure and get a ticket validated. It's the kind of routine you'd expect from the snooty Los Angeles west side, but it doesn't really fit El Segundo, where we are used to just parking without theatrics. Oh, there's also an option to valet park, but haha, no.
  • The location is within walking distance of our home, which is awesome. So if I find the parking validation routine too silly to stomach—and I want to leave my stomach ready for stuffing full of pizza—then I don't need to deal with it.
  • The interior treatment of the restaurant, while classy and comfortable, is essentially unchanegd from The Daily Grill. This is on one hand great since the Daily Grill spent lavishly (for El Segundo) decorating the interior with nice dark wood and leather. On the other, Grimaldi's was apparently under construction for half a year. Clearly something else was taking time. Was it just the kitchen? I have no idea.

I recommend visiting if you like salad and pizza. Don't worry about the food quality nit I mentioned. Even a little off the mark, it's still delicious, and I am confident it will improve in time. We will be back for more, possibly quite often.
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