In February 2010, I reported on Jozeppi's, which had recently opened in Fairport. I gave it a B for decent thin-crust pizza.
I recently stopped by again, to see how things are going these days. I wasn't up for a whole pie, so I just got a couple of cheese slices.
They were good, and, I think, better than last time, which is saying something, since last time wasn't bad. There were some faint screen marks on the underside, which all too often means a soft crust, but this one was quite crisp underneath. The slices were foldable, and there was a little crackling along the outer edge. I wouldn't say that they were charred, like a classic New York slice, but they were well browned, with just the faintest suggestion of oil on the crust. The crust had a nice outer crunch, particularly along the thin edge, with a chewy interior.
The slices were topped with a thick, full-flavored sauce, with hints of herbs and garlic in addition to the tomato base. Like the sauce, the mozzarella cheese was applied in good proportion to the thin crust, with a few bare spots of sauce poking through here and there.
While there, I was also able to try one of Jozeppi's signature items, the "pizza bomb." Think of a cinnamon bun, but with tomato sauce taking the place of the cinnamon, and you'll have a pretty good idea of what this is. Essentially, it's rolled-up pizza dough, with a filling of sauce, cheese, and, in this case, pepperoni.
The underside of the bomb was crisp and cheesy (I don't know about you, but I like those bits of dark brown, nearly-burnt cheese that you sometimes find around the edge of a pizza, and that's what the bottom was like). Compared to a slice of pizza, the pizza bomb seemed to have a higher ratio of dough to sauce and cheese, but it was quite tasty, with a bit of peppery kick, and it would certainly be easier and less messy to eat on the go than a slice of pizza.
You can read a bit about Jozeppi's background here, and I won't bother repeating everything in that story. On my visit, Clemente was busy handling the duties at the pizza oven, and wife Carol was on hand as well. I never had the chance to sample the wares at their former restaurant, Clemente's, but if the pizza at Jozeppi's is any indication, it must have been pretty good, and I'm sure local residents consider themselves fortunate that its namesake is still turning out pizza and other Italian fare at Jozeppi's.
A further visit to Jozeppi's is probably in order at some point, so that I can try another one of their specialties, the tunnel sandwich. This is a hollowed-out sub roll stuffed with cheese, sauce, meats, or other fillings of your choice, making it something of a cross between a hot sub and pizza bread.
Now of all the pizza-like concoctions out there - calzones, strombolis, and now pizza bombs and tunnel sandwiches - I don't think I've ever had, or ever will have, anything that quite satisfies like plain old pizza. But they are fun to try, and they can be very good. Ultimately, though, it's all about the pizza for me, and Jozeppi's is well worth a visit on that score. I wouldn't quite call this New York style, because the underside of the crust is more browned than charred, and of all the pizza I've eaten in NYC, only once have I seen screen marks underneath. But on its own merits, this is very tasty thin-crust pizza, well balanced, with a nice contrast of crunch and chew, and I'm bumping it up a notch from last time, to a B+.
Jozeppi's Pizzeria, 84 High St., Fairport, 377-8400
Tue. - Sat. 11:30 a.m. - 9 p.m., Sun. 4 p.m. - 9 p.m. Closed Mon.