I always feel as if - and hope - that despite my years-long quest to unearth and try every pizzeria in the Rochester area, there will always be another one waiting to be discovered.
And along those lines, the city of Rochester itself can seem both fertile and barren ground in the hunt for more pizzerias. Fertile because it's harder to pin down every place in the city that sells pizza, but barren because a lot of places that do, sell convenience-store pizza: premade crust that's been topped, baked and stuck in a warmer.
For that reason, when I drive around Rochester, I pass by a lot of places that advertise pizza, because I wouldn't expect to find anything worth stopping for, and I don't think that my readers would either.
But when, one day, I happened to drive by J & S Deli on Norton Street, it caught my eye.
So I did stop in, and from what I saw and what the proprietor told me, it did look like a "real" pizzeria. And a couple of weeks or so later, I ordered a medium pepperoni pizza to go.
The crust was thin to medium n thickness, with a browned but dry bottom. The interior was likewise on the dry side, crunchy, and dense - not heavy, exactly, but just not puffy, with uniform, small air holes throughout. It wasn't a bad crust - I mean I much prefer this to a spongy, overly soft crust - but it seemed like a premade or frozen crust. I'm not saying it was, but that internal dryness just brought to mind a frozen crust.
Up top, a basic tomato sauce and mozzarella combo was overlaid with thin slices of pepperoni and a generous sprinkling of dried herbs. The pizza had a marked flavor of oregano.
Pizzas at the J & S Deli come in 9", 12", and 16" sizes, and they offer eight toppings (hamburger, pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, olives, onions, sweet peppers, and hot peppers). They also serve wings ("boss" or Buffalo sauce), hot and cold subs, and a full range of deep-fried items, from chicken fingers to shrimp to Jamaican beef patties.
This pizza was OK. No, the crust wasn't great, but overall the flavor was pretty good, and I'd rather have a dry crust than a greasy crust. So in thinking about my grade criteria, this comes in at about average. It wasn't typical Rochester pizza, because the crust here just wasn't typical of Rochester pizza, but it wasn't bad, and I had no difficulty finishing it off. So it rates a C from me.
J & S Deli and Subs, 625 Norton St., Rochester, 14617
Mon. - Fri. 11 a.m. - 7 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., closed Sun.