Thanks to an email from a reader, I recently became aware of the opening of a new pizzeria in Fairport named Jozeppi’s. Sometimes I like to wait a while before checking out a new place, but something about this sounded interesting, so I decided to give it a shot.
Turns out that Jozeppi’s, which opened on February 2, is something of a reincarnation of another pizzeria in the same location named Clemente’s, which in its day was well known to the locals. Jozeppi’s is owned and operated by the son of the one-time owner of Clemente’s, and he’s carried forward some traditions from his father’s shop, including the “tunnel sandwich.” I’d never heard of this, but it involves hollowing out a loaf of fresh homemade bread and stuffing it with either meatballs, sausage, beef or chicken cheese steak, or some combination thereof.
That sounds worth trying sometime, but I was there for the pizza. This was a lunchtime visit, so I just got a couple of slices. They were screen baked, with a thin to medium crust that measured about a half inch thick near the edge, a little thinner near the tip. The underside was a fairly uniform medium brown, and was dry to the touch. It had some crispness, but was also foldable.
I found the pizza a bit saucier than most, but still pretty well balanced. The sauce had a slightly sweet, tomatoey flavor, with some herbal notes as well. The moderately applied cheese was a bit browned. The flavor and texture of the sauce and cheese blended well with that of the crust, which had some breadiness, as evidenced by the clearly visible air holes where I’d taken a bite. The edge was also nice and crisp, with a certain bready chewiness.
Jozeppi’s has a pretty standard lineup of pizza toppings, and four specialty pizzas: Buffalo chicken, Hawaiian, meatlovers, and veggie. They also do wings and fried sides, salads, a few cold subs, calzones, lasagna, and a Friday fish fry. Oh, and don’t forget that tunnel sandwich.
At this point, they don’t offer delivery, but that should be forthcoming. Until then, it’s either pickup or dine in, in Jozeppi’s modest seating area.
I was pleasantly surprised by this pizza. Not that I expected it to be bad, it just wasn’t all that impressive visually, but it turned out to be better than it looked. I never had a pizza from Clemente’s, but if this is anything like Clemente’s was, I can see why it would have a following. I expect to stop back some evening in a few weeks or so to pick up a full pie, though I might ask if they can not use a screen on mine. Until then, I’d say Jozeppi’s is off to a good start, and I’m giving it a solid B.
Jozeppi’s Pizzeria, 84 High St., Fairport 377-8400
Mon. - Sat. 11 a.m. - 9 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. - 8 p.m.