Tuesday, August 7, 2012
In researching the new, second location of Empire Pizza in Ontario, I ran across a reference to Vicari's Pizzeria, which I'd never heard of before, on Ridge Road in Ontario.
For the time being, the Ontario Empire location opens at 4:00, so I made the trek to check out Vicari's. It's a small pizzeria on Ridge Road (which is not the same as 104, it's an older road parallel to and just south of 104), between Ontario Center Road (Rt. 350) and Furnace Road (County Road 110).
I got there about 11:45 a.m., and was pleasantly surprised to see several pies available for slices. I chose a pepperoni slice and a Buffalo chicken slice.
Both were thin (about an eighth of an inch thick), New York style slices. Each came sliced into two. The undersides had a dusting of corn meal and were lightly charred. They were pliable but firm, with some chewy breadiness in the interior.
The pepperoni slice was topped with a moderate amount of mildly flavored tomato sauce, a thin layer of mozzarella, and a generous helping of thin pepperoni slices. It was a well balanced slice, and the overall flavor was good.
The Buffalo chicken slice was done with small chunks of breaded chicken (think a diced chicken finger), "Cajun sauce," and mozzarella. "Cajun" seems like an odd name for Buffalo chicken sauce, but the flavor was that of a basic hot sauce, with enough heat to add a little kick, though toward the mild end of the scale. Blue cheese is served on the side here, not on the pizza.
Vicari's menu is available online, but I'll give a brief rundown.
Pizzas come in 10-, 14- and 16-inch pie sizes (which are available thin, thick, or "regular" - I assume these were "thin"), as well as 16" pan pizza, and sheets. A 9-inch gluten-free pizza is also available. There are 22 toppings and ten specialty pizzas, plus calzones, "twists" and "knots." They also do wings (fried or char-broiled), subs, salads, burgers and pasta. Next time I'm out that way I may get a "Bambino" sub, named in honor of Babe Ruth, I'm sure - one wall of Vicari's is devoted to the New York Yankees (a customer in a Red Sox cap did his best not to notice, or at least not to let it bother him).
I should mention that despite the image of a wood-burning pizza oven on the front of the menu, Vicari's uses regular pizza ovens. Nothing wrong with that - the pizzas are brick-lined, and they don't use screens - but to avoid confusion it wouldn't be a bad idea for them to switch out the photo at some point.
This was some pretty good thin-crust pizza. It didn't have quite the crackle of superb New York style pizza, and some of the corn meal had burned a bit, turning into soot. To get a little nitpicky, the cheese was all right, but not as delectably creamy as I've had on some slices. So I'm not prepared to give it an A. But it was well balanced and tasty, with a good crust. It was certainly above average, and I'm adding it to my mental go-to list for the area, so it easily rates a B from me.
Vicari's Pizzeria, 1795 Ridge Road, Ontario, NY 14519
Mon. - Sat. 10 - 10, Sun. noon - 9