Amico Pizza was started in 1962, which undoubtedly makes it one of the oldest pizzerias in Rochester. The original location was on Waring Road in NE Rochester and was founded by Sam Amico. A second location was opened in 1980 in Irondequoit on East Ridge Rd.
In 1995, Sam retired and his sons David and Chris took over, eventually consolidating their operations at the Irondequoit location. The business today is run by David Amico.
I love these family-run pizzerias, especially the ones that have been around for a long time, because they bring a commitment and passion to the business that I don't think you get from a basic franchise-type operation. This is also a great way to get a taste of history, as I imagine this pizza is probably not all that different from what Sam Amico was serving up 30+ years ago.
In this case, that means a fairly (maybe half-inch) thick pizza, cut into squares. The edges were baked to a golden brown, and the underside was more browned than charred. Though it lacked crispness, it was not at all greasy and had a pleasant bready aroma, flavor and texture reminiscent of soft-crust Italian bread.
The sauce, which was applied with a properly restrained hand, was slightly sweet, not tangy, with a hint of herbs. The cheese was uniformly applied, in fairly liberal fashion, which was appropriate given the relative thickness of the crust (remember, pizza is all about keeping the components in balance with each other).
Like many places, Amico will do thin or thick(er) pizza on request, but I've found you're usually better off getting a pizzeria's "standard" pizza, which tends to be what they do best. They also offer breakfast pizza "with advance notice" - I'm not sure how much notice they need - and a number of specialty pizzas, including one that I'd like to try: "The #1," which is described as "An Amico tradition since the beginning. Our homemade sauce covered with fresh ground Pecorino-Romano." Maybe next time. Besides pizza, they serve wings (my Buffalo wings were a tad on the sweet side), eggplant parm, a Friday fish fry, and a handful of sides.
While eating my pizza, I was trying to think of an adjective for it, and "straightforward" came to mind. This is not some nouveau "gourmet" pizza, nor is it an attempt at New York style, Chicago style, Sicilian, or anything other than what it is: a good, basic, honest Rochester pizza, the way it used to be - and still is, at Amico. I'll give it a B.
Amico Pizza, 859 E.Ridge Rd. 544-8380 Sun. 1 p.m. - 9 p.m., Tue. - Thu. 11 a.m. - 10 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 11 am - 11:30 p.m.
Pizza Guy Note: for a review of Amico's pizza bianco (white pizza), go here.