I was happy with my slice, which was on the thick side of medium, with a medium-brown underside that was dry to the touch, with a light dusting of cornmeal visible. There were no screen marks, and it had a fresh-bread aroma.
The interior of the dough was nicely breadlike as well: a little chewy, but not dry or tough to chew. It was well complemented by the melted mozzarella and thin layer of tomato sauce, as well as some distinct notes of oregano. All in all, a very satisfying slice of pizza for a cold winter's day.
Afterwards, I spoke on the phone with Jon, the manager at the Penfield Pontillo's. I asked him about the perception - which I've gotten from readers, in addition to my own experience - that some Pontillo's are better than, or at least different from others. He agreed that Pontillo's runs a pretty decentralized organization, but said that from his perspective, that means he can tailor his pizza to his customers. I can see his point, and I guess that's both a weakness and a strength. The more you tailor your pizza to suit local tastes, the less the brand name means. But it seems to be working for this link in the loosely-knit Pontillo's chain, as there's been a Pontillo's in Penfield for three decades, and fifteen years in this particular location. And I have to say again, this was good pizza. So if this is tailored to local tastes, then the locals must know their pizza.
Jon himself has been there for about as long as the pizzeria itself, so that continuity doesn't hurt either. Nor does the fact that the dough is made fresh daily, onsite. This is not stuff that's been shipped in from some central bakery in Indiana.
Pontillo's does more than just pizza, but they keep it pretty simple: pizza, wings, subs. And a single order of wings here still means a dozen, not ten, as at so many other places these days. For pizza, I'd go with their regular crust, since they do it so well, but they also offer a thin crust option.
If you live in the area, or are out that way, there are plenty of pizzerias to pick from, but Pontillo's is a good one. But why not see for yourself? I have two $25 gift cards to give away to two lucky readers. I'll do a separate blog post for the giveaway - here's the link - but whether you enter or not, Pontillo's in Penfield is well worth a stop.
Pontillo's, 1811 Penfield Rd., Penfield