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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Little Beans, Painted Post

On a reader's recommendation, I stopped recently at Little Beans Pizzeria in Painted Post.  I'd been to its sister restaurant, Jelly Beans, and liked it, so I was intrigued.
I got two slices, a plain cheese slice and a white slice with rosemary, garlic and sliced tomatoes.
I'll start with the good news. The white slice was delicious. It was bursting with flavor, with the herbs, cheese, garlic and tomatoes playing off each other beautifully.
My wife liked the plain cheese slice, but I found it a little bland. The sauce was visually apparent, but I didn't notice it much on my palate, and much of it seemed to have soaked in to the crust. The scattered cheese - which had settled in among the several bubbles in the crust - was good, as far as it went, but it was too scanty to add much interest. There was some background flavor of herbs, oregano I think being most prominent, but all in all I found this a rather boring slice.
And I say that as somebody who likes a good cheese slice. I often order plain cheese because it's a useful benchmark for a pizzeria's ability. This just didn't do it for me.
So one hit, one miss (although again my wife enjoyed the cheese slice, so we're getting into matters of personal preference here). But where I really had a problem was underneath.
The crust on both slices was soft and pale, particularly on the white slice. I like a crisp, charred crust, but I don't assert that pizza has to meet that description to be good. I've had good pan- and screen-baked pizza, and pizza in every shade from golden to blackened, that I've enjoyed.
But a pizza's underside shouldn't be pale. And these were. A few brown blotches here and there didn't save them. They were soft, flabby and doughy-tasting.
Now in fairness, I should mention that the server did offer to reheat the slices, which might have given them a crisper bottom. But he said that they had just come out of the oven within the past ten minutes, so I declined. In hindsight, that was a mistake. But if Little Beans is deliberately undercooking their slice pies, they should recommend reheating, rather than just asking. I'm also making a mental note to check from now on, especially at a place I'm not familiar with, to see whether the underside would benefit from a few more minutes in the oven.
So to the extent that this was my fault for not investigating these slices' doneness, I'll take the blame. And I also want to add that Little Beans' pepperoni pie looked especially tempting, and that I passed it up only because two slices were all that I wanted.
I rate these at a B for the white slice and a C for the cheese slice. The flavor of the former was enough to overcome the disappointing crust. The latter, to me, was just OK. I'm not going to add grade labels for this post, because I assume that when readers search my grade labels, they're generally looking for pizzerias nearer Rochester. Overall, these were interesting enough for a future revisit, but a little disappointing this time around.

Little Beans Pizzeria
315 South Hamilton Street

Painted Post, NY 14870



Fax: 607.377.5069

Mon - Fri: 11:00 am - 9:00 pm
Sat - Sun: 3:00 pm - 9:00 pm


  1. Hey there! Just doing some research this morning and stumbled upon your blog with a review of my pizzeria! I'll start with the cool part! It's so nice to have our name out there and even nicer when it's in a somewhat positive light. Being a pizza guru you certainly hit the nail on the head with your account of these slices and by the photos I can tell how accurate you were! The "B" part of this (and this, of course is not your fault) is that the not so positive part means I didn't know about it and didn't have a chance to correct it. The slices you reviewed were not made by me, but rather a staff member and had I known they weren't up to par I could and would have corrected the behavior and improved skills where they were lacking. Of course not everything was this employees lack, if you didn't care for the taste of our sauce that's another matter entirely. However, undercooked pizza or not enough sauce or cheese or too much of something else is a skill set that must be accurate and consistent in order for a pizzeria to thrive.
    All that being said, I very much appreciate your review and your expertise and your opinion. Here is what has happened in the months following your visit:
    Although I DID eventually become aware of certain staff members missing skills and the weak links in the chain and although I DO think I brought my pizza up to a level of deliciousness that you would review much differently - business suffered enough (and the increase in minimum wage on a small business owner was more devastating thaN most people would realize). Ultimately we have combined the two businesses (Jelly Beans and Little Beans) and I'm still making pizza and awaiting a much needed expansion in the spring.
    So what's my point, right?
    Just that although I am a huge advocate of reviews, opinions and blogs I think that it would be a complete service if you would contact the owner or manager of the pizzerias you visit and let them know you have visited and reviewed their place (with photos) online. Good or bad this gives them a chance to review your review and make any changes that they feel might actually benefit them. After all, isn't that kind of the point?
    All the best,

  2. Laura, thank you for replying. You've given me a lot to respond to. I'll do my best to address your comments.
    This blog has always been, first and foremost, a record of my personal pizza experiences. I rate what I ate, not the establishment as a whole, and I think I’ve always made that clear.
    That said, I know that some readers may assign my ratings some weight, beyond just what I ate. So I have tried to exercise some caution in handing out ratings.
    There have been occasions when I thought somebody behind the counter just really screwed it up that one time, and where the pizza I got wasn't as good as it would ordinarily be. Usually if that happens, I go back at least once before I do a review. There have also been times when the pizza was so bad that I called the proprietor to discuss the problem, and went back, before posting a review.
    But if I have no reason to think that what I got was atypical, then I just try to do an honest report on what I got. While I can appreciate your wish that I would call or contact a pizzeria owner in advance of a review, I just don’t think it would be practicable for me to warn every pizzeria owner that I’m about to give their pizza less than an “A” rating. And in this instance, I had no particular reason to think that I’d gotten an atypical slice.
    That said, let me repeat that I appreciate your comments and that I intend to stop back for another visit. You obviously are committed to making good pizza, and I’d love to try it again.
    And I want to thank you for making me acutely aware that, as much as I may think of myself as just some idiot with a computer, my comments can affect people who are trying hard to succeed. My first loyalty will always be to my readers - I have to be honest with them - but I will try always to bear that in mind.
    If you have any news to pass along concerning your business, or just have any other thoughts you want to share with me, please leave a comment here or email me at

  3. Hi Pizza Guy! Awesome! Thanks so much for responding. Indeed you are doing a great service and you seem to know your way around a pizza slice and I wouldn't intend you to stop doing what you are doing. I just wanted to clarify that I wasn't suggesting that you contact owners BEFORE you write your review, just let them know that you DID a review as your information could have been very helpful to (me at least) while it was relevant and not so many months later when it was too late :( Hope that makes more sense now. Thanks again and keep writing! You are valuable.
    All the best,