NOTE: as of now, Mama Lizzie's appears to be closed. - 10/09/2009
Mama Lizzie's opened recently in what had been the short-lived Etna Pizza & Grill on Lyell Ave., across from Wegmans. The Etna Pastry Shoppe is still next door, so I don't know if there is or was a connection there.
As I've mentioned before, this stretch of Lyell Ave. has a high concentration of pizzerias, so anybody opening a new place along here faces some stiff competition. But Mama Lizzie's, in my opinion, is off to a good start.
For my $2.70 (including tax) I got two good-sized slices, mouth-burningly fresh out of the oven. Apparently they come in pairs, as I only asked for a slice, but the price was good and I appreciated having it cut in two so it was easier to save half for later.
These slices were medium thick, getting gradually thicker toward the outer edge. The underside wasn't charred, but was pleasantly crisp, a bit crunchy, and not greasy.
They were relatively saucy, with a straightforward, tomatoey sauce. The sauce had a definite presence, but was in good balance with the other components.
The cheese was lightly browned, and was likewise applied a bit heavily but proportionately to the crust and sauce. Between the relatively heavy layers of sauce and cheese and the fact that the slices were still quite hot, they were a tad gloppy, but I was hungry, they were good, and I didn't feel like waiting for them to cool off to allow the toppings tc congeal more.
The thin slices of pepperoni were just a little crisped along the edge, adding a touch of crunch to the overall texture.
The edge, or lip, was rather thick, and quite crunchy on the outside, with a fairly bready interior.
As I mentioned, I saved one of these for later, and it made for good cold pizza out of the fridge: still a little crunchy, yet still a bit moist from the sauce under the protective layer of cheese.
Mama Lizzie's has a relatively modest menu, with a handful of specialty pizzas, including a white artichoke and spinach pizza, and an "Old World" pizza made with pecorino romano. They also have wings, a few grilled items, four types of hot subs (steak, chicken parm, chicken finger and pizza), and some fried sides, plus a Friday fish fry. Oh, and milkshakes.
(By the way, if you go there, you may see a big "Pizza" sign out front, but that's for the C & C Deli, which is in the same plaza. C & C advertises "huge" pizza slices for $2, but I took a look at them and frankly they didn't look terribly appealing - sitting on a rack, they had that convenience-store-pizza look about them, if you know what I mean. But the deli itself is good - I've eaten there - and they carry some interesting Italian food imports too. So if you're feeling like a sandwich by all means check out C & C, which has a pleasant, familial feel about it.)
Getting back to the pizza at Mama Lizzie's, this was pretty good stuff. It didn't quite have that sublime blend of flavors, or mouth-watering breadiness that will put a pizza into the top echelon. But make no mistake, I liked this. The flavor was good, and the crust scores some points for its crisp, non-greasy exterior. I'm going to give this one a "B".
Mama Lizzie's Pizzeria & Grill, 2320 Lyell Ave. 426-5000. Some inside seating.
(Hours unknown as of the date of this writing - I'll check into it.)