Dough can be seen flying in the air through the windows at 223 N Main Street in downtown Dayton. The familiar window sign, hustle and bustle is all part of “The Original Flying Pizza.”
The owners, the Graci family have been tossing pizzas downtown for 44 years, and they are still going strong. One slice at a time, they have stolen the hearts and stomachs of many Daytonians by serving their special New York Style Pizza recipe.
** YOU CAN WIN ONE OF THESE LARGE, 1 topping PIZZAS BY COMMENTING BELOW (winner chosen at random).**
How did a mom and pop from Sicily, make their American dream come true? Only Food Adventures has the scoop!
HERE’S THE SKINNY ON HOW FLYING PIZZA BECAME A DAYTON ICON:
FROM SICILY to THE USA :
In 1958, long before becoming icons in Dayton, John Graci and his wife Frances left Sicily for the United States. They settled in New York City. After getting a job at “Sam’s Pizza,” John honed his pizza making skills. In a twist of fate, that building would soon be torn down to build the World Trade Center.
FROM NEW YORK CITY to DAYTON, OHIO:
John and Frances decided to drive and visit John’s brother and his girlfriend who were in Middletown Ohio. As fate would have it, they got a flat tire in Dayton. John and Frances thought Dayton was a vibrant, fun city and full of life, with a lot going on. They thought it would be a great place to raise a family. The Graci family left the Big Apple for the Gem City. Before you know it, in 1971 they had their own pizza shop downtown. They had two sons, Tony and Frank. John and his pizza were becoming a favorite, and he was even appearing on TV on Clubhouse 22 with Duffy the Dog and Malcom, showing his pizza tossing skills.
That was the early 70’s and the pizza business continued to grow in the 80’s and 90’s with cousins opening stores in Columbus, Mason, Fairborn and Centerville.
PRESENT DAY – THE ORIGINAL FLYING PIZZA DOWNTOWN, 2015
Now, the next generation runs day to day operations downtown. Tony and Frank Graci can be found greeting customers and slicing pies daily. They still use that patented “Graci dough toss” every day.
— The Orginal Flying Pizza is located at 223 North Main Street in Downtown Dayton
— NY style pizza by the slice, or whole pies.
— Two types of pizza: (You can win a large one topping pizza free by commenting below)
1) Hand tossed NY style huge slices
2) Sicilian Squares – a thick, more bread like crust topped with special tomato sauce (old school)
— They have calzones and desserts too
— Hours are Mon – Sat 10:30am -7pm, closed Sundays
— They serve beer, as well as host private parties
— There is a parking garage and you get the first 30 minutes free if you ask the cashier for a parking validation
Now you know the story, so let’s dive into the food….
Ladies and gentlemen, we now present The Original Flying Pizza’s “Must Eats.”
— HAND TOSSED CHEESE PIZZA (SLICE or WHOLE PIE): This is it, the mainstay, the staple, the foundation of a Dayton icon. The mozzarella cheese is perfect, the sauce is perfect, the dough is perfect… every time. They call it “Neapolitan Pizza” which is the name for the style of pizza made in Naples, Italy.
WHEN YOU BUY A SLICE: The slices are big. If you order one, they turn around and heat it up in the oven for a couple of minutes. It will be hot as hell when you get it. We burn our mouth every time. You have been warned.
WHEN YOU BUY A PIE: It doesn’t matter if you fold it and eat it or let it hang and get under it. This stuff is the best. They tape the box closed to piss off those of you who want to steal a slice on the way home.
— THE SICILIAN SQUARE CHEESE PIZZA: A thicker, more bread like crust, rubbed with olive oil and dusted with garlic and a special marinara sauce. The ending finish is the thick sprinkles of melted mozzarella cheese. It is the cap, on a piece of perfection.
WHEN YOU BUY A SLICE: The slices are Big Squares. Every piece has crust, some have one side of crust, corner pieces have 2 sides,. Very filling, very good.
WHEN YOU BUY A PIE: A big square pizza either 6 or 9 pieces. This stuff is so simple and delicious, yet different than any pizza you have ever tried.
— THE CALZONE: The secret here is they use ricotta cheese in the calzones. The fresh dough seals the deal, literally. The only drawback is that every calzone is Pepperoni and Sausage, so deal with it. Yes, they have one type of calzone.
— SIDE OF 3 MEATBALLS SAUCE and CHEESE: All beef meatballs, marinara and mozzarella, they heat it up, you eat it down. It is like a bowl of cereal for Italian people.
Honorable Mention: The BREADSTICKS at the Centerville location are the closest things to the old Noble Romans that we have ever eaten.
So there is your guide to another epic Food Adventure.
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A winner will be chosen at random on SATURDAY…
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