I've done some posts on pizza at local colleges, including the University of Rochester, Nazareth, and RIT.
I haven't seen any indication that St. John Fisher has pizza on a regular basis that's available to non-residents, so that's not on my radar screen. But the last local college I wanted to check out is SUNY Brockport.
So far, my college pizza tour has been disappointing. None have had any pizza as good as a local prep school, McQuaid Jesuit. Would I finally strike gold at Brockport?
In a word, no.
I started off at TRAX,which according to the Brockport website is "[l]ocated on the ground floor of Harrison Hall, [and] features made-to-order subs, fresh dough pizza, and Buffalo-style chicken wings. TRAX is the most popular retail operation on campus."
Most popular? Surely not for the pizza. From the three pizzas available (one of which was a cheese pie that was clearly past its prime) I chose a pepperoni slice and a specialty, Mediterranean slice. The pies were cut into very narrow slices -- sixteen to a pie, I believe. And they sell for $2.30 to $2.50 a slice. I thought you were supposed to pay less at a state school. Maybe that's just for tuition. Kind of like air fares: you get a seemingly good deal up front, but then they nickel-and-dime you on everything else, whether it's your carry-on bag or the food.
And both slices were bad, frankly. The crust was soft and oily, and the dried-out gyro-type meat on the specialty slice did it no favors. The cheese was, well, adequate, and the sauce on the pepperoni slice had gone MIA.
Sometimes as I'm eating a slice of pizza, a word pops into mind. This time it was "horrid." I don't mean to slam them unnecessarily, but that word literally came to me as I was eating these. And I didn't finish them. The best advice I can give about TRAX is to make tracks from there, quickly.
My next stop was Carmen's at Union Square in the Seymour College Union. I got a Margherita slice.
I guess it met that description, generally. It was topped with cheese, diced tomatoes and shredded basil, which qualifies it as a Margherita. But it, too, was a disappointment.
Again, the crust was soft, and more pale than the slices I got at TRAX. It wasn't greasy, just soft and unenjoyable. Even the edge, which sometimes can salvage an otherwise bad slice, was soft and chewy. It had the texture of a leftover pizza slice that's been reheated in a microwave. Maybe some people like it that way. I don't.
The toppings were OK at best. A thick but small area of melted mozzarella was topped with some shreds of basil and a few chunks of diced tomato. There wasn't much flavor to speak of in any of it.
Fortunately for Brockport students, there are several better places in town. As with a lot of college towns, Brockport is home to a bunch of pizzerias, including Main Street, Perri's, Avanti, Mark's, Cordello's and Marvin Mozzeroni's. I'm not going to rank them here, but I'd take any of them over these on-campus places.
With good reason, colleges have tried in recent years to boost their food offerings. It's kind of like airlines. People may not choose an airline, or a college, based on the food, but it's a definite plus to serve better food. And among foods that college students don't prepare for themselves (in other words, not including ramen or box mac 'n' cheese), pizza has to rank near or at the top.
If I were a Brockport student or employee, I wouldn't be eating the pizza at either TRAX or Carmen's. There may be good food at Brockport, but this wasn't it. These get a D.
Harrison Hall, ground floor
Noon - 1 a.m. daily
Seymour College Union
Mon. - Thu. 7:30 a.m. - 6 p.m., Fri. 7:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.