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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Salvatore's, East Main St., Rochester

Salvatore's is one of the biggest, and may be the best known, of the local/regional chain pizzerias in the Rochester area. According to their website, the East Main Street location is the original Salvatore's. Although I'm philosophically opposed to the idea of chain pizzerias, I figured I'd try to give them a fair shake, as I've explained earlier, and the original location seemed like the best one to try.
I didn't get a whole pie, but a "Super Slice," which is essentially two slices, or one quarter of a pie; in fact, it comes sliced in two, right down the middle. It was fresh out of the oven and piping hot.
It was thick--quite thick, I think, even by Rochester standards. It was relatively light, though, and the thickness seemed more attributable to how much the dough had risen than simply to how little it had been stretched out. The air holes, though, were pretty small, and the dough was fairly bland, suggesting a fast rise from the yeast, which will yield less flavor than a long, slow rise.
The exterior of the crust was very crunchy, and the bottom was more golden brown than charred. The interior had a texture and flavor reminiscent of a one of those soft "dinner rolls" you get at some restaurants. There was some grease from the pepperoni, but otherwise it wasn't a greasy crust.
The cheese was applied pretty liberally (their website describes a Super Slice as "double mozzarella"), and was rather stringy; you could cut it with a pair of scissors from one slice to the next. The sauce was on the bland side and was overwhelmed by the cheese. The pepperoni was wide and thin, with a pool of grease on each slice that you could soak up with a napkin if you so desired.
The bottom line? Trying to put aside my prejudices against chains, I don't think I would ever call this a great pizza by any means. But it certainly wasn't the worst I've ever had, either. If I had to pick one adjective to describe it, it would be "bland." But that takes me right back to one of my primary objections to chains: they tend toward blandness and mediocrity. In other words, they're more interested in not offending anyone's tastes than in provoking a strong reaction, positive or negative.
Then again, to become successful, and have sustained growth the way that Salvatore's has, you have to be doing something right. I don't care for food snobs any more than I do for chain pizzerias, so let me just say that while you won't catch me eating at Salvatore's too often, if you want a fast, hot, filling, low-cost ($3.25) lunch, you could do worse than a Salvatore's Super Slice. I'll give them a C.

4 comments:

  1. I also look around Rochester for great food and let me tell you this, to get great italian food go to captian tonys pizza. This place is great and it does not stop at pizza!!! They even have have pasta, wings, subs and great cinimin sticks. Each bite is a journey through taste and flavor. They dont need cheese in their crust to make the crust have flavor because they use real old school italian recipies. I love the place! Every time I'm in Rochester I know where I'll be. So next time you're in the area stop by and you'll know what im talking about!:)

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  2. Hey Pizza Guy. I am proud to say that my mom's cousin owns this chain. The food is fantastic. Salvatore just recently bought and Reopened the old Donuts Delite building on the corned of Empire Blved & Culver Rd. He kept the origional Donuts Delight sign and serves the origional-recipe donuts with the help of the Donuts Delite family, thus combining 2 Rochester food icons.

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  3. I do think it's great that he reopened Donuts Delite. I think DD got hurt by a combination of Krispy Kreme moving in to the area and the Atkins diet. Thankfully neither of those is really an issue any more.

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  4. Other than Pizza, I think donuts and maybe bagels are worth a blog. Oh, Ice cream too. Donuts delight absolutely has the best donuts in town but are way too pricey. Best donut I ever had was in Old Forge from a place on the side of the road with a huge, ugly metal donut in the dirt parking lot. Small, greasy, plain donuts thrown in cinnamon and sugar, then loaded into a paper bag while still warm. I was afraid to leave the greasy bag at the campsite due to the foraging bears. I'm not sure if the place still exists, but knew they were trying to sell the recipe with the place. These donuts absolutely melted in your mouth. Maybe they used lard for frying? "Nothing like lard." Funny how food joints are related. Chester cab/sticky lips, Breuggers/Great Northern, now Salvatore's/Donuts Delight. Since I am here, I will say that I ate a lot of Salvatore's pizza back in the day, but have since ventured on. I do crave the bacon ranch pizza they had on special from time to time in Pittsford. Not sure if it's on the menu, but I loved that pizza. The combination of ranch dressing, american cheese, hamburger I think, and bacon was incredible. Their pizzas were better than most of the pizza chains in town.

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