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Friday, December 8, 2017

Peppino's, Revisited

It's hard to believe that it's been about five months since I posted on Facebook about a slice that I got at Peppino's, which is in Chili, just off Chili Ave./33A. Peppino's was recommended to me by a reader, whom I thank once again. I enjoyed the slice, and made a mental note to go back for a full pie.
A couple weeks ago, I finally made good on that, and picked up a pie to go.
The first question was what to order. Peppino's has some interesting specialty pizzas on the menu, including a potato pie and my old standby, the Margherita, but this was a dinner pizza for my family and me, and since it was Thanksgiving eve, we didn't want leftovers. So I went with half pepperoni and half green peppers and onions. My daughter likes the former, my wife the latter, and I'll eat either.
Allow me to digress for a moment and say that I would also have been happy with half of either, and plain cheese on the other half, but in my experience that's a bad decision. The toppings tend to act as a blanket on the cheese. So a half-cheese/half something-else pie never comes out right. Either the extra toppings don't cook enough, or the cheese gets too brown.
This pie had a thin crust, with a darkly browned but not charred underside. The crust had a pleasant chewiness, and a crisp cornicione. The bottom was a little oily in spots, but I think that was due to oil that had seeped down after the pie was sliced, and mostly came from the cheese and pepperoni on top. It too about 20 minutes to get this pie home, which was likely a factor as well.
The balance and flavor were good. This wasn't a particularly cheese-heavy pie, but the cheese was a standout; nicely melted and smooth.
The sauce was pretty straightforward, with a tomatoey-sweet flavor accented by a bit of saltiness, and was applied in good proportion to the other components. The pepperoni was crisp but not overdone, and the peppers and onions were cooked enough to be softened, but they retained a bit of bite.
Peppino's pies come in medium, large and half-sheet sizes, with 22 toppings to pick from, including house-made ground sausage, fresh mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, and anchovies (which are all too rare on local pizza menus). The menu is rounded out with a mix of wings, several types of arancini (rice balls), sandwiches, and, incongruously but welcome, deep-fried, Southwest corn fritters, which are made with jalapenos, bacon and cream cheese.
To get back to the pizza -- my overall impression was that this pizza could be described as broadly in the New York style. Since Peppino's doesn't claim to make New York style pizza, I'm not going to judge it against the parameters for that style. It's a thin-crust pizza, and a good one. This was a cut above average, so I feel comfortable giving it a "B."

Peppino's Pizzas
25 Chestnut Ridge Road
(585) 247-8600

Tue. - Thu. 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Fri. 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Sat. 3 - 10 p.m.
Sun. noon - 10 p.m.
Mon. closed

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Mac's Pizza Shack, Gananda

I recently learned of a pizza place that opened in the summer of 2016, Mac's Pizza Shack. It's in Macedon, or Gananda; apparently this is one of those areas in our region that seems to go by more than one place name.
That's a bit of a haul for me to get to, whether from work or home, but I was intrigued enough to want to check it out. So I recently made the drive to pick up a pizza for dinner.
I got a large, half pepperoni, half green bell pepper and onions. The menu lists thin crust as an option, but I went with the original crust. First time around, always go with original.
I was favorably impressed. The crust was medium thick, firm and a little crisp underneath, but not crunchy or brittle. The interior was pleasantly breadlike. The perimeter of the pie was shaped into a substantial but not overly puffy cornicione, with a light dusting of flour.
As you might notice in one of the photos, the crust was a bit gummy on top, at the interface between the dough and the toppings. But I can't fault Mac's too much for that. It was about a half-hour drive from there to home, and I neglected to bring my insulated pizza bag (what was I thinking?). So these photos were taken well after the pie came out of the oven. Mea culpa (that's Latin for "my bad"). And overall, the crust was quite good.
The time factor also affected the cheese, which had cooled and congealed somewhat. But in spite of that, it seemed like good, whole-milk cheese. It still had a nice balance of softness and chewiness, and it had not separated into its constituent components. No exuded oil, bits of curd, or anything along those lines.
The sauce was a basic, mildly seasoned tomato sauce, and the toppings were abundant and flavorful. Lots of pepperoni, just crisp, and on the other half, softened but still vibrant green peppers and thinly sliced white onions. All the components of the pizza were well balanced. On the whole, a damn fine pie. Next time I should eat it on the spot, fresh out of the oven.
Mac's menu is on their website, so I won't bother to recite it here, but they have a pretty extensive list of toppings (even anchovies!) and a handful of specialty pies, as well as wings, subs, plates, burgers and finger foods. I especially like the "About" page, which gives some background, and an image of Mac, who passed away some time ago but who looks like somebody I would've enjoyed meeting.
So yeah, a bit of a trek for me, which is always a gamble on a first-time visit, but it paid off. I very much liked this pizza.

Mac's Pizza Shack, 3290 Canandaigua Rd., Macedon
Mon. - Thu. 7 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Fri. & Sat. 9 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Sun. 9 a.m. - 10 p.m.


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Dustin's Pizzeria, Holley

I always appreciate pizza tips and recommendations, like the one I got recently from reader Dennis Litzenberger, for Dustin's Pizzeria in Holley.
Dustin's menu is available here. I largely went with Dennis's recommendations and got a large, regular-crust pie, with pepperoni on half and onions and banana peppers on the other half (sorry, Dennis, I don't do mushrooms).
It was about a half hour drive to Holley from my workplace, but worth it. Dustin's is a small place, just a basic, small-town corner pizza joint, but don't let the nondescript appearance fool you. They make good pizza.
This pie had a medium-thick crust, with a thick, bready cornicione. The edge was a deep brown, and crisp on the outside, while the medium-brown underside was dry to the touch and firm. The interior was pleasantly breadlike. I might've liked a smidgen more salt in the dough, but I like salt more than I should, so my blood pressure's probably better today than it would be otherwise. 
The toppings were tasty and well applied. There was enough sauce to balance out the crust, and to add a touch of tomatoey sweetness. The abundant pepperoni would satisfy any meat lover. And I was happy with the vinegary, mild heat of the peperoncini, which played off the slight crunch and flavor of the chopped onions.
I don't often eat wings, but again on Dennis's recommendation, I got a small order of breaded, plain wings with a side of "insanely" hot sauce, along with a side of mild Buffalo sauce for my less-heat-tolerant wife and daughter. I usually like my wings doused in sauce, but I have to admit that the plain wings were nice and crisp, with no grease. The insanely hot sauce was indeed fiery, but tolerable, at least to my palate. And the wings were reasonably sized, not scrawny.
So my thanks again to Dennis Litzenberger, who, I might add, is a co-owner of a local hot sauce company. You can find Tongue Puncher sauce at a number of Rochester-area establishments - click on the link to see where. (I should also add that he didn't ask me to mention that. That was my idea.) I haven't tried it, but I'll keep an eye out for it.
As I mentioned, Holley is a little out of the way for me, but I would like to go back to Dustin's to try another pie, perhaps a specialty pie or a different crust, thick or thin. But it would be hard to top this one, which was a very fine example of WNY style pizza, with a bread-like crust and abundant but well-balanced, flavorful toppings.

Dustin's Pizzeria, 50 Public Square, Holley
(585) 638-5440

Mon. - Thu. 11 a.m. - 10 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m. - 11 p.m., Sat. noon - 11, Sun. noon - 10