With, I don't know, 200+ pizzerias around Rochester, and new ones opening all the time, it's often a long while before I get back to some of the places I love.
One such is Vinny's Bakery & Deli in Fairport, which I last visited in January 2012. Over a year is too long not to return to Vinny's, which turns out great pizzas in both Sicilian and American styles.
I do love Vinny's Sicilian pizza, but on this occasion, I was just after a plain old pepperoni pizza for dinner.
And that's what I got - a simple pepperoni pizza, and yet as I was sharing it with my wife and daughter, it struck me that as ordinary as this pizza seemed on the surface, it was really very, very good, in subtle ways.
What I mean is that this was just fundamentally good pizza, prepared in a straightforward American style. It all starts with the crust, and I did enjoy this crust. It was bready and flavorful, with a slightly crusty bottom. Unfortunately my camera's flash tends to wash out the undersides of pizza slices, so the picture doesn't do it justice, but the bottom surface of this pie was dotted with char spots from the oven deck. It had a slight surface "bite" but was pliable, with a nice, weblike interior from the risen dough.
The crust was on the thin side of medium thick, and was proportionately topped with a flavorful tomato sauce and aged mozzarella cheese. The pepperoni was just slightly crisp along the edges.
All of that sounds so ordinary. So why was this a great pizza?
Well, this pizza showed me that a pizza can be more than the sum of its parts. At its most elemental level, yes, it was a basic American style pizza. But it almost perfectly embodied that style. I couldn't find a fault with this pie. The crust was good, the sauce, the cheese, the pepperoni - it was kind of the pizza equivalent of a world-class pianist tossing off Beethoven's "Für Elise," which is famous but relatively easy to play. Impressive? Not really. But flawless? Absolutely.
So while Vinny's Sicilian pizza remains its forte, by no means should you overlook their "regular" American-style pizza. And of course there's the potato pizza that I've reported on before. For that matter, I should mention that Vinny's also offers stuffed breads, arancini (fried rice balls), and homemade panelli wraps, as well as all the other treats you'd expect from a good Italian deli and bakery, from bread to subs, soups and sweet treats like cannoli, biscotti and cookies. It's a local treasure, and its only drawback, from my perspective, is that it's not closer to my home or office.
Vinny's Italian American Bakery & Deli, 1350 Fairport Road, Fairport
Open daily 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.