I was recently driving through Dansville, and the sight of two pizzerias just a few doors from each other was more than I could resist.
The first one to catch my eye, and the first one I stopped at, was Tony's Pizzeria.
When I arrived, I saw a large pie behind the counter, half cheese, half pepperoni, cut into slices. When I asked for a cheese slice, the person behind the counter lifted one of them up to show me that it was enormous - about a quarter of a large pie - and asked if I wanted one of those, or a regular slice.
I still intended to check out Tony's competitor down the street, so I asked for a regular slice.
That oversized slice was quite thin, and I think that the employee did mention that it was Tony's "huge thin slice," but I was more focused on the surface area, so I was surprised to find that my regular slice was not only smaller, but much thicker.
But more about that slice in a moment. After getting my slice to go, I walked down the block to my second stop, The Leaning Tower. This slice took a little longer to come up, but I was not surprised, as a sign above the counter warned that they do not serve fast food - everything is made to order - although they do their best to serve your food fast. Fair enough.
This slice was quite thick as well. It was also a little bit bigger than the slice I got at Tony's (although in terms of surface area it still would've been dwarfed by Tony's "huge thin slice." (In the top photo, the LT slice is on the left, Tony's on the right.)
Although the Tony's and Leaning Tower slices were both about the same thickness, that's where the similarities ended. The Tony's slice was quite pale underneath, with just a little light browning. It was on the soft side, with a light, airy texture. In contrast, the Leaning Tower slice had a very dark brown underside, and was crunchy, though not oily, with a more substantial feel to it. The exterior was so crunchy, in fact, that the slice cracked and nearly broke in two when I bent it a little (don't even think about folding these - they're too thick for that).
The differences extended to the sauce and cheese. The LT slice was topped with considerably more sauce, which had a thicker consistency as well. It also seemed to have a more assertive, herbal flavor than Tony's sauce, but it's hard to tell if the flavor was really that much different, or if I simply noticed it more because there was more of it.
If you like smooth, creamy-textured cheese on your pizza, then the edge on that score goes to Tony's. Its cheese was nicely melted, if a little bland. The cheese on the LT slice was not so well melted, although it did have a bit of a tang, flavorwise.
Both Tony's and Leaning Tower have similar setups and menus, with counter service, some seating, and a more or less standard lineup of food offerings, including subs, wings, and sides. As for the pizza, well, I would like to go back to Tony's sometime and try a "Huge Thin Slice," but putting these two slices up against each other, I'd give the edge to Leaning Tower. Although the crust was a tad brittle, it was crisper, and had a little more flavor underneath. It also seemed better balanced, with a thick layer of sauce to match the thickness of the crust. Tony's cheese was more pleasingly melted, nice and smooth, but lacked flavor. Leaning Tower's cheese didn't have a great texture, but it did have more flavor, as did the sauce. In general the Leaning Tower slice was more flavorful overall, and more distinctive too. I'm scoring this one B-minus for Leaning Tower, C for Tony's.
Tony's Pizzeria, 140 Main St., Dansville
Tel.: (585) 335-8984, 335-5035
Hours: Mon., Wed., & Thu. 11 a.m. - 9 p.m., Tue., Fri. & Sat. 11 a.m. - 10 p.m., Sun. noon - 9 p.m.
The Leaning Tower, 124 Main St., Dansville
Tel.: (585) 335-2740
Hours: Mon. - Thu. 11 a.m. - 10 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m. - midnight, Sat. 11 a.m. - 11 p.m., Sun. noon - 10 p.m.