For some years now, a pizzeria has occupied the inside corner of the shopping plaza across from the Lyell Ave. Wegmans. It hasn't always been the same pizzeria; in fact, in just the past few years, KC's, Piatza's, and the oddly named Hot to Trot have come and gone there.
Undeterred by their strikeouts, Mac's has now stepped up to the plate. I'm always hesitant to pronounce any judgments about a place right after it's opened, or for that matter, about a place based on a single slice of pizza. But I do like to give readers a heads-up on new places, and to check out new pizzerias, so I stopped by Mac's a few days ago for a lunchtime slice.
Mac's slices are pretty big - each slice is a quarter of a large pie - so I just got one. They had two choices when I visited, plain cheese and pepperoni, and I went with the pepperoni. It looked pretty fresh, but they gave it a quick reheating in the oven.
I don't know how much of this was attributable to the reheating, but the underside of this medium-thick slice was quite dark, and even blackened in some areas. I don't mean charred, like you would get from a super-hot oven, but blackened like an overdone piece of toast or a pancake that had been left on the griddle for too long. On the plus side, the bottom was dry, not greasy, but not crisp either. The crust had a soft texture, although the interior had some pleasant breadiness. That bready quality was most pronounced in the lip along the outer edge, which had a nice, chewy texture.
This was a well balanced pizza, with enough sauce and cheese to complement each other and the crust. The sauce had good flavor, with a nice balance of tomatoey, herbal and salty flavors. It seemed a tad spcy, although that miight've been from the pepperoni.
The cheese had congealed, and was not stringy or particularly chewy. It had a slightly tangy flavor, and easily separated from the crust. The slice also appeared to have been dusted with some grated cheese, which might be where some of that tanginess was coming from.
Mac's pizza menu, at this point, is pretty basic, with thirteen toppings, and one specialty pizza (chicken wing). They also serve wings, calzones, hot and cold subs, salads, burgers, dogs, "Mac plates," and sides, along with a fish fry on Fridays.
This slice was not bad, but the crust was a little soft for me, and the underside was more overcooked than charred. The cheese also seemed a bit lacking in terms of texture, and was more dried out than melted. But the interior of the crust was pleasant enough, the sauce had good flavor, and this was a pretty good deal at $3 for a slice with a 20 oz. drink.
If I were a business owner, I'd be pretty hesitant about going into a location where several others had tried and failed at the same kind of business, but I guess not everybody's so timid. Mac's has the makings of a good product, and I wish them success. For now, I'd say this slice comes out to about average, so I'll give it a provisional C, with a mental note to myself to go back sometime.
Mac's Pizzeria & Grill, 2346 Lyell Ave. 14606. 429-MACS (6227)
Sun. - Thu. 11 a.m. - 10 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.