Grandad’s Pizza & Pub – Spiciest Dish in Columbus Series
Wings two weeks in a row? You’re killing us Fartley.
Yes, yes, we know. Two weeks in a row where we’ve done wings, but hey, when we’re driving right next to a location we’ve not yet tried, it jumps forward in the order. That’s how we stumbled across the Hilliard location for Grandad’s Pizza & Pub off Cemetery Road. It sits back behind a strip of other restaurants, just before a Target, and either has a playground in the back or it lives in front of a daycare center. We were new to Grandad’s Pizza & Pub, but were stoked they had small pizzas and over 12 wing sauce options.
Check out these pizzas. We all know the famous saying, “any pizza is a personal pizza if you believe in yourself,” but with Grandad’s Pizza & Pub you can get 7″ pizzas for roughly $7. Discussing with the Lady of the Farm, we found that these are, in fact, a perfect pizza size, especially with the toppings ratio stacked on top. Tater Tot Pie was new for us, though I wish there was a bit more beer cheese on there and the BBQ Chicken was a familiar face but done well. Grandad’s Pizza & Pub even has a Pizza Sampler where you can get 3 of their 7″ specialty pizzas for under $16. Pretty dope.
It’s been a while since we had some Nashville Hot Chicken and with the theme of the day being “small-sized eats” we got an order of the Hot Chicken Sliders, “Three juicy chicken sliders topped the fresh pickles, mayo and signature Nashville hot sauce on sweet Hawaiin rolls.” I passed one to the Lady of the Farm who took a big ol’ bite, chewed and immediately started flapping her hands. As she opened the fridge to grab something to drink I asked about the spice level. “You can have them” she said, the universal sign that it was too spicy for her to enjoy. Taking a bite I understood what she meant. The standard cayenne of the Nashville Hot style is heavy and hits hard, carrying it above Wendy’s spicy chicken sandwich levels and elevating the heat to take the #56 spot on our list, just after Yats and their Drunken Chicken. Lots of mayo on the sandwich, which for a spicy chicken sandwich I can get down with, but it defies a bit of the Nashville Hot style. Would still eat them again though, but be warned in case you’re a table-slamming hot chicken snob.
Onto the wings! Grandad’s Pizza & Pub has both boneless and traditional wings on their menu, but some wing purists will scoff that even the traditional wings are slightly breaded. Sauces for wings include: Sweet BBQ, Teriyaki, Garlic Parmesan, Carolina Gold, Sweet Chili, Sriracha Bourbon, Mild, Burnin’ BBQ, Spicy Garlic, Hot Buffalo, Tropical Habanero, Grandad’s Graveyard. 12 sauces strong, we ordered 6 of Grandad’s Graveyard to see where they stacked up with other spiciest wing sauces in Columbus.
Grandad’s Graveyard has the common hot wing smell. Heavy on the vinegar, ultra wet, with a hint of heat that hits your nostrils. The redness of the sauce was a bit scary and I started to wonder if the parking lot of the restaurant is the graveyard they speak of. Do they bury patrons that can’t eat all of the Grandad’s Graveyard wings? Would I turn into a skeleton right away and have my bones turned into roofing material? Pondering the aftermath of the wings I chomped into the first meaty boy. The breading had soaked the sauce in further and the sauce itself was slapped on extra wet. When you see wing eating competitions and how gross those folks look, that’s where I was at one wing in. Definitely a messy wing with a lot of sauce.
Mouth-wise I was doing alright. No major heat, but lots of vinegar taste. There was an unknown pepper in there as well, but it was hiding behind its liquid counterpart. Two wings in, my nose started to leak pretty heavily. Either my mouth receptors were on a tape delay, or the level of heat and vinegar was bypassing everything else and going straight to my mucus membranes in the middle of my face. As I finished the second wing the heat poked its head out, whispered something spooky, and vanished into the night. “Spirit, wait!” I yelled, seeing if I could conjure the Graveyard demon back, but it was gone. With four wings left, I stacked all my graveyard movie knowledge together to see how I could trap the heat monster that so far was eluding me.
Nose still dripping, I pursued wing three. The spicy specter poked its head out once again and I projected into the astral plane to have a sit-down chat. “Who are you?” I asked the blurred mass. “eEeeEeeEe,” it shrieked back as it slapped my tongue. The heat was picking up, but like all the ghosts before it, it faded into the darkness. Snapping back into my body, I was dumbfounded. My senses were confused. Was it the sheer volume of sauce that was triggering my nose leaks or was there truly a hidden heat that I’d yet to place my finger on.
I worked through the remainder of the wings, searching with each bite for the fiery phantom, desperate to track it down and determine it’s plans for me after finishing the wings, but to no avail. With each wing, the heat would build and then sneak off into the night. No linger, no aftermath, just a quick burn and then “poof.” As I sat in the darkness, I thought about where this dish ranked.
Still a bit dumbfounded by this sauce, we will make a judgment call on where we believe these wings land on our list. Based on similar experiences, we’re placing Grandad’s Pizza & Pub at #23, bumping Thai Grille Pad Kee Mao and sitting below Aangan India Bistro Level 6 Lamb Vindaloo. They’re worth another go to see if they truly land where we placed them, but for now we’ll keep Grandad’s Graveyard wings at #23. If nothing else it will give me another opportunity to eat some Tater Tot Pie.
You can find Grandad’s Pizza & Pub at:
Grandad’s Pizza & Pub (Hillard)
4093 Trueman Blvd.
Hilliard, OH 43026
Grandad’s Pizza (Grandview)
1254 W. 3rd Ave.
Columbus, OH 43212
Look below for more in our spiciest dish in Columbus series and hit us up if you have any suggestions that are not already on our list!
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