Thursday, September 3, 2009
General Hoock's All American Pizzera, Buffalo Road
NOTE: As of this writing in August 2012, General Hoock's is no longer at this location. A new pizza place is going in here and although I have seen talk about General Hoock relocating, I have no definite information about that. - Rochester Pizza Guy
General Hoock's is one of the more interesting pizzerias I've been to. For one, that's not its full name. Its full name is "General Hoock's (& Sons) All American Tailgate U.S.A., an All American Pizzeria." At least that's according to the takeout menu, which is interesting in itself. The menu, that is - it's color-copied from an original that was hand-printed in the owner's distinctive style of calligraphy, looking something like a medieval manuscript that was lettered by Dr. Seuss.
As for the pizza, I've now stopped by twice around lunchtime, during which General Hoock's (I'll stick to the short name) offers a limited selection of slices to choose from. I got a pepperoni slice on my first visit, and on my second time around the slice of the day was cut from a pepperoni/sausage/hot pepper pizza (not pictured).
This was fairly thick pizza, with a stone hearth-baked crust that was lightly browned underneath, and more firm than crisp. There was some oil from the toppings, but the crust itself was not greasy at all. It had a bit of crunch toward the edge, and a pleasant bready flavor, although the texture was not quite as gluteny-bready-chewy as I like.
On both visits, my slices were topped with a healthy layer of sauce and cheese that balanced out the relatively thick crust, giving the pizza something of a "wet" mouthfeel. The sauce had a pronounced herbal/spicy flavor, and the generous helpings of pepperoni and other toppings added to the complex, overall flavor profile of this pizza. The mozzarella hit the mark between melted and toasted, contributing both chewiness and flavor.
If you choose to dine in, there is a little counter seating, and a handful of tables. Though they only serve soft drinks (unless you count the Genny Cream Ale in the fish fry batter), it has something of a bar-like feel, with a TV in the corner tuned to ESPN, and the owner (a/k/a the "general," from a childhood nickname) behind the counter bantering with the customers, some of whom are clearly regulars.
All American has a pretty long list of pizza toppings - nothing too bizarre - and also offers wings, "Bronx Tale Bombers" and "Grand Slamwiches" (there's kind of a baseball/Yankees theme going on here), "Tailgate Plates," the aforementioned fish fry on Fridays, and a number of sides and items from the grill. There's also a kid's menu, as well as breakfast starting at 6 a.m. (7 on Sundays).
This was formerly DiCimino's, but the current owner, who's been in business here for a little under a year, changed both the name and the pizza recipe. I never tried DiCimino's, so I don't know how General Hoock's pizza compares, but this is pretty good stuff. It's assertive, but not to the point of assaulting your senses. The crust is substantial without being overly thick, the sauce has an unmistakable, though not overpowering presence, and the cheese and other toppings are likewise added proportionately, so that no one component takes center stage here. Like the lettering on the menu, it's distinctive, and I give it a solid B+.
General Hoock's (& Sons) All American Tailgate U.S.A., 1308 Buffalo Rd. 247-5000
Tue. - Thu. 6 a.m. - 8 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 6 a.m. - 10 p.m., Sun. 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.