Finding pizza in unexpected places is one of the best things about doing this blog, and so I was excited recently to run across a reference to pizza at The Green Front in Canandaigua. Pizza in an old-time tavern/restaurant dating back to 1928 - what's not to like?
I stopped in for a lunchtime visit just before Christmas, and found the place packed. The interior was attractive, with a metal-topped bar up front and tables in the back. The current owners seemed to have done a good job of updating the space while preserving its essential character.
Though I was sticking with Diet Coke, rather than one of The Green Front's local microbrews on draft or other adult beverages, I was glad to find an empty bar stool, as I was dining alone and wouldn't have wanted to hog even a small table for myself.
This pie had a very thin crust, with slices that were supple, even floppy, though the underside was crisp on the surface. They were well browned and dusted with corn meal underneath. Though not particularly bready, the dough had a subtle but pleasing flavor.
The pie was topped with a moderate helping of smooth, stringy cheese, and a thin layer of bright-tasting tomato sauce. The sausage was mild in flavor but nice and meaty, and the sauteed peppers and onions were soft but not mushy. A very thin, crisp and crunchy lip along the perimeter finished off each slice.
The Green Front offers pizzas in 12- and 16-inch sizes, with 10 toppings available. In addition to the Polimeni, they offer one specialty pizza, a white garlic pie with fresh tomato and basil. The rest of the menu is rounded out with basic bar food staples, including burgers, wings, chili, and Italian sausage, plus a few less common items like fried bologna and deep fried green beans.
I liked it here, and I liked their pizza. I've been in enough bars to know that they're not always good places, for the people inside them or for their neighbors. But a well-run tavern can also be a valuable neighborhood asset, and they're an American institution that goes back to colonial times (stop once in a while to read those roadside historical markers and you'll see what I mean). This was just one brief visit, but from what I saw, The Green Front is a well-run tavern, and a true neighborhood meeting place.
And this was good bar pizza. I do think that bar pizza is a particular breed of pizza, not so much geographical as cultural. This was a good example - thin, pan-baked but crisp, and tasty. It rates a B from me.
The Green Front Restaurant, 35 Niagara St., Canandaigua
11 a.m. - 1 a.m. daily