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Friday, April 4, 2014

Linda's NY Pizza Interview and Giveaway

I try to keep up on local pizza news, including who's opening where, name changes, etc. So it caught my eye when I saw that the Cam's on Lyell Avenue had become Linda's New York Pizzeria.
I've had some slices there, since the change, and liked them, and I was interested to learn more, so I sat down recently to talk to Linda herself, to get some background.
Linda grew up in Orchard Park, and went to college in Penn Yan. At that point, owning a pizza shop was not even a blip on her radar screen, but life has a funny way of taking you places you don't expect to go.
In Penn Yan, Linda got a job at the local Cam's. It was there that she met her future husband. In the 1990s they moved to Rochester, where they took over the Lyell Avenue Cam's operation. In 1993, they became the owners.
Linda has since parted ways (amicably) with both her husband and Cam's. She re-opened the pizzeria as Linda's New York Pizzeria in 2012.
Linda admits to being "scared to death" at taking over a pizza business, but she's clearly got a handle on it. As part of her separation from Cam's, Linda made some modest changes to the dough recipe, but Linda's continues to turn out very good New York style pizza. I got a veggie slice on my visit, and was impressed, as I have consistently been, by the crisp but chewy crust and well balanced toppings.
To be frank, Lyell Avenue is not generally thought of as one of Rochester's premier addresses. But having lived on Monroe County's west side for some years, I've been up and down this street countless times, and stopped here for pizza often, and never had or even seen a problem.
And I've noticed that RPD officers frequent this spot during their lunch breaks. No, they don't get free pizza. They're here because they like the food. And cops, like truck drivers, probably know the best places to eat. Anyway, my point is, don't be put off by the address. This may be one of the safest locations in Rochester.
And if you are so inclined, you might want to stop in some morning, as Linda's has continued its predecessor's tradition of offering breakfast pizza. I'm not a breakfast pizza guy, but I generally don't do breakfast to begin with. I do know that this has long been a destination for breakfast pizza; I think it's one of the first, in fact.
What came through most during my conversation with Linda is that, like any good owner, she's committed to serving her customers. Our interview was interrupted by a customer warmly greeting her, and I was fine with that, because it showed me that this is an owner who gets to know people. She's been tough enough, and nice enough, to make this place work and to succeed. "We really try" here to be as good as can be, she told me, and I believe it.
In conjunction with this post, Linda has generously offered to give away four gift certificates for $14.99 each. Thank you, Linda.
What you need to do, to be eligible to win one, is leave a comment after this blog post. I'll pick two winners next Thursday, April 10, shortly after noon, and two more the following day. If you want to leave a comment but do not want to enter the giveaway, please say so, and I'll exclude you from the giveaway. All winners will be picked at random using random.org.
If you win, I will need your name and mailing address. I'm looking into simplifying this process, to make it easier to get hold of you, but for now you will either need to check back next week to see if you've won, or send me that information when you enter, at rocpizzaguy@gmail.com. I will also announce the winners on Facebook and Twitter. If you win and I don't hear from you or don't have your address I will award your prize to someone else.

Linda's New York Pizzeria, 1219 Lyell Avenue, Rochester
458-8900

Mon-Thu: 7:00am - 10:00pm
Friday: 7:00am - 11:00pm
Saturday: 8:00am - 11:00pm
Sunday: 2:00pm - 10:00pm

14 comments:

  1. havent been there since it was cams, i'll have to check it out.

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  2. I live aeound thw corner. I noticed the place when i moved in. The pozza is not the only thing good. I get the pasta dinners and subs. You always get a friendly hello by Linda. In regards ro being safe, you're right. I walk to get my food. The servixe is what separates her from the chain pizza places.

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  3. As someone who recently moved to the west side and has Mark's as a go-to pizza place, I would love to try this one.

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  4. I pass this pizzeria every day on my way to work, and occasionally stop for lunch. Great pizza.

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  5. We are really looking forward to giving Linda's a try! We order lots of pizzas for campus events and are always looking for a new outlet.

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  6. I had dinner there tonight based on this blog post. I mentioned to the cashier that I read about the place online, he told Linda, and she came to my table and chatted a bit about the place. She seemed slightly surprised but grateful at the attention that this post has brought to her store. I agree that the neighborhood feels sketchy and it doesn't help that the exterior of the store looks a bit run-down, but the pizza was really good.

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  7. The crust of that pizza is cooked to perfection and looks amazing. I would love to eat any of those as long as none of them have no mushrooms on them. I do not feel like having an allergic reaction.
    Jak Manson | http://shorebreakvb.com

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    Replies
    1. I'm not allergic to mushrooms but they're one of the few things I just don't like to eat. There's not a single thing I like about mushrooms.

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