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Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Pizza Stop, Rochester

Pizza Stop on Urbanspoon
The closest thing I've found around Rochester to NY-style pizza is that served up by the Pizza Stop on State St. downtown. It's in an unassuming storefront location that looks as if it could be on any busy street in the Big Apple, and the pizza lives up to that appearance. The crust is thin and foldable, with a good bready flavor. Look at the underside and you'll also see a little charring from the hot, hot ovens - a rarity in this area except for restaurants with wood-fired ovens (which tend to disappoint me, but that's a post for another day). When you stop in for a slice or to pick up your pie (they don't deliver), you'll notice that the ovens are wrapped in heat-reflective insulation to keep the indoor temperature bearable. I don't know if that's because the ovens are unusually hot to begin with, but I'm guessing that the insulation also makes the temperature inside the oven even higher. In any event, the result is a nicely charred pie, which is not the same as burnt. Most pizza places around here keep their oven temps too low to get that effect; their pizzas come out brown on the bottom; if they leave them in longer, the pizzas simply get burnt, with the flavor and texture of burnt toast. A charred pizza has a crust that is pleasantly crisp on the outside but still bready and chewy on the interior. In NYC, it's commonplace, but as I said, in this area it's sadly all too rare.
Anyway, back to the Pizza Stop. The crust is the star, as it should be, but the sauce and cheese are worthy supporting players. Neither is overdone here, and they're uniformly distributed across the surface (I am not among those pizza aficionados who think that the cheese should be applied here and there, with pockets of sauce poking through - I want cheese in every bite).
The Pizza Stop does serve square slices of thick-crust, "Sicilian" pizza as well, but I don't think I've ever tried it; I figure every bite of it would be one less bite I could take of their thin-crust pizza, and I can't bring myself to do that.
As I said, Pizza Stop doesn't deliver, and it is only open on weekdays till 5:30 (7:30 on Fridays). At lunchtime it's not unusual to see a line out the door. There is some indoor seating. They don't do wings or subs. I think there is some sort of pasta and maybe one or two other things on the menu but I can't say I've ever seen anybody eating anything here but pizza, which is entirely understandable. If you love NY-style pizza, you owe it to yourself to get to the Pizza Stop. I give it a solid "A".
Pizza Stop, 123 State St. 546-7252
Mon. - Thu. 10:30 - 7:00, Fri. 10:30 - 9:00. Closed weekends.
[Pizza Guy's note: go here to read my interview with Pizza Stop owner Jim Staffieri, and here to read my review of their Sicilian and stuffed pizzas.]

16 comments:

  1. The BEST pizza in Rochester, hands down. I hope Joe's Brooklyn is on your list. I hear it is the same folks as the Pizza Stop. But I am hoping you can either prove or disprove this before I waste time.

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  2. I certainly intend to get there. Now that I know somebody's interested I'll try to get to it sooner rather than later.
    My understanding, by the way, is that it's owned by the brother of the Pizza Stop owner.

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  3. I went to Joe's Brooklyn today - I wouldn't get your hopes up. Badly organized and VERY rude - shouted at my buddy to leave when he complaining about his pizza being undercooked - and refused to give him his money back.

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  4. I've seen some similar comments about rudeness at Joe's Brooklyn on the rocwiki site. I'll withhold judgment until I've been there but it doesn't sound promising. Maybe rudeness is supposed to be part of the "New York City" experience ;) But I'll see for myself.
    The staff at Pizza Stop, while we're on the subject, is not exactly a model of friendliness, but I haven't seen outright rudeness either.

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  5. The best pizza I've had in my life. Wrt the previous comment - you don't fuck around at Pizza stop. Don't ask to see a menu, don't ask what pizza they have today - just point at what you want pay for your order and move on. That's the Pizza Stop way. If you feel the need to complain, expect to be thrown on your ass. If you have the balls to chat on your cell phone while waiting in line, or while placing an order - expect to be thrown out on your ass.

    Maybe, just maybe, if you are a loyal customer for over a decade they may actually aknowledge your existence. You may even get a thank you as you walk out the door.

    This is the Pizza Stop way - and if you can't handle it, then you are not worthy of the Best Pizza in the World.

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  6. Again, dead on! This blog is going to save me so much time and money. Thank you.

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  7. Who cares if they are rude, usually rudeness comes from some place like the dude getting thrown out being an asshole to the guy behind the counter LOL. If the pizza is good it's worth unfriendliness. The pizza btw at Pizza Stop is the hands down best in Rochester. Rochester has no clue how to make a good pie.

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  8. I've never witnessed any outright rudeness there. At lunchtime, they're typically busy, and they want to keep the line moving. If you're looking for a warm welcome, there are plenty of chain restaurants where you can get a robotic, insincere greeting as soon as you walk in the door.

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  9. Pizza Stop is very good pizza, however if you are ever in Geneseo I would strongly recommend Mamma Mia's in the village near the "little bear". Great thin crust, great sauce and best of all zepoli for dessert!

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  10. Thanks Deb, but I have reviewed Mama Mia's. Click the Geneseo link under "Labels" and you'll find it. I did think it was great pizza.

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  11. One of the only pizza joints in Rochester that matter. The end.

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  12. This place has the worst customer service there is! Every single time I stop in during lunch im greeted with a rude comment followed by a nasty stare. The first time I came in it was okay but when he hired two new people (two puerto ricans) l have experienced horrible customer service.There is also one white guy who always looks dissapointed as soon as he sees you. Long story short good pizza but they have lost a good customer.

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  13. I'm not sure that someone who finds it necessary to identify everybody by their ethnicity (actual or perceived) is what I would consider a "good" customer, but could you be more specific about your "horrible" customer service?

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  14. In a way I'm glad this comment was posted. Here you have an ambiguous complaint that makes no sense, every time this person came in they were greeted with a rude comment and a nasty stare!! really. Now what could have possibly prompted that? we have been in business for 27 years and if we did that to all of our customers we wouldn't be in business. Judging by the way this post was written I think this person must a problem with everyone. It's so easy for someone to post a bad comment but what is really behind that comment? Let me give you an example what bad customer service can be. We put 1 and 2 slices in a bag and 3 slices in a box, that's our policy but every once in a while we get someone who wants 1 slice in a box and then we charge them for the box, well that's when things go bad, they start to complain and then they tell you you about your bad customer service. That's all it takes. Bad customer does exist but their are also many bad customers!!

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  15. Hands down the best pizza west of the Hudson. Admittedly, I haven't tried them all but you could call this "Ray's" or "Famous Ray's" or "Original Ray's": walk in off the street, taste their pies and you would think you were in Manhattan.

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