SOCASTEE, S.C. (WBTW) — Everyone has an opinion on the best style of pizza.
Whether it’s deep-dish, New York, tavern, Detroit, Neapolitan, or anything else — pizza lovers will do what it takes to get their hands on their favorite. At Gemma’s Cafe in Socastee, they went the extra 800 miles to have their favorite on hand.
The Lipinski family likes pizza. But not just any pizza.
“So we’ve lived here for so long, and not to sound negative, but there was nowhere that we could find that just did it for us, that gave us that taste of home,” owner Gabriele Lipinski said.
And by home, Gabriele means 813 miles away in upstate New York.
“So, no kidding. We would fill up my car with coolers, drive 15 hours back to Schenectady, and we went to the same pizza shop every time,” Lipinski said. “We’d call her up and say, ‘The Myrtle Beach family is on the way, get the 24-cuts ready’, and we would literally fill up the coolers with 10 24-cuts, all kinds of sausage, and meats, and cheeses, and we would freeze it and ice-pack it really good and drive back down here.”
That worked, but the Lipinskis wanted to share their favorite pizza with the Grand Strand.
“So after doing that for so many years, we just talked to the lady, it’s been in her family for generations, and we said, ‘There’s got to be a way to get your pizza down here,'” Lipinski said. “So we worked it out with her and her family where they make the dough for us right there so it’s made with the New York water, and then they flash freeze it overnight and then they ship it to us.”
But why stop there? Pizza isn’t the only thing they wanted to share.
“So it’s my grandmother’s recipe. But I used to call her Bye Bye Grandma. That’s why on the menu, we call it Bye Bye Grandma’s sauce,” Lipinski said. “I just finally learned how to make it two years ago. It took me that long to learn how to make it. They wouldn’t tell me everything.”
At Gemma’s Cafe, they’re sharing incredible food, a lot of stories and laughs, and what family means to them.
“So that’s my Aunt Gemma,” Lipinski said. “Her and my grandmother, they’re sisters. They came off the boat from Italy, so a lot of our recipes came from them. I mean they have those old- fashioned sfogliatelle. I mean you name it, they’ve made it. So we just really wanted to honor them because they’re no longer here with us but, you know, just carry on the family tradition.”
Gemma’s Cafe is on Palmetto Pointe Boulevard less than a half mile off Highway 17. Be sure to follow their Facebook page because they’re trying out different specials almost every day.