Whenever a new pizza place opens, I'm torn between wanting to check it out immediately and giving them enough time to work the bugs out.
I recently stopped at Headliners, which debuted earlier this summer in Fairport. It hasn't been open long, but curiosity got the best of me, so off I went.
Headliners is a "big slice" place, with giant slices for three bucks. On my visit, they were offering cheese, pepperoni and Buffalo chicken. I got a pepperoni slice.
This slice was mostly very thin, but nearer the edge it was quite thick. The underside was a uniform brown, with screen marks. My fingertips could detect a bit of oil, and though it didn't have a crisp "bite," the exterior had a crackly surface, as you can see in the bottom photo.
At the outer edge, the crust ended in a wide, thick, bready, crusty cornicione with some burnt-cheese notes, giving it a flavor that was reminiscent of Cheez-It crackers.
The slice was blanketed by a heavy. solid layer of congealed mozzarella cheese. The sauce was more moderately applied, but was detectable on the palate. It had a bright, tomatoey flavor with some peppery kick, the source of which I was unable to identify (some red pepper in the sauce, perhaps?).
For a pepperoni slice, this was a bit light on the pepperoni, but what there was was pretty good, cup and char pepperoni that was a little crisp along the edges.
You can peruse Headliners' menu here, so I won't bother reciting everything they offer, but I will note a few things of interest. One, Headliners' pizza comes with your choice of sauce, which is something you don't see too often. At headliners, you can get your pizza with traditional red sauce, sweet & sour, garlic parmesan, BBQ or Buffalo sauce, the latter two of which come in hot, medium and mild versions. So basically, you can get chicken wing sauce on your pizza, but hey, why not? I've been known to dip my crusts into my chicken wing sauce from time to time myself.
Also of note is Headliners' "Famous Pizza Plate Challenge." Finish a "Famous Pizza Plate" (which consists of mac salad, home fries, and a giant slice, covered with meat hot sauce) in under 25 minutes, and you'll receive a Headliners T-shirt, and get your picture on their wall and on their website. As of the date of my visit, one customer had managed to accomplish this feat, although I was told that he, well, shall we say, "lost it" twice during his efforts (which should've disqualified him, I say, but it's not my contest to run).
Overall, this was a reasonably good slice of pizza. The flavor was good and the crust wasn't bad. It was not, however, better than average for this area, in my opinion. For one thing, while I like cheese as much as the next guy, this slice was a little too cheese-heavy. The cheese dominated the other components, throwing the slice out of balance. And while a crackly underside is ordinarily a sign of a good crust, this crust wasn't as crisp as the photo might indicate. It was cracked, but lacked that bit of bite that makes for a truly great crust. The crust was firm, but nothing particularly special. So while this was by no means a bad slice of pizza, on balance I'd say it was about average, and I'll give it a C.
Headliners Pizza, 541 Whitney Road, Fairport, NY 14450
Mon. – Sat. 10 a.m. – 10 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.