Pontillo's in Webster. Jerry is a maternal grandson of Tony Pontillo, who with his brothers opened the first Pontillo's pizzeria in Batavia in 1947.
Pontillo's was one of the first pizzerias in our area, and it must've struck a chord in the local community, because it soon spread to Charlotte and elsewhere. Today Pontillo's locations can be found throughout the Rochester area.
The Webster location, though, holds the distinction of being one of the few that is still run by a Pontillo's family member. And Jerry still uses the original Pontillo's recipe.
Operating a Pontillo's was not a lifelong plan for Jerry. He went to college, got a degree, but then decided that he wanted to follow the family tradition. And so here we are, a couple of generations later, with the same pizza that made Pontillo's a local favorite.
In talking with Jerry, I saw what comes through with every good pizzeria, which is a passion for what he does. He learned the trade, the recipe and the method from his grandfather, and he takes well-deserved pride in sticking with that original recipe. I wasn't around in 1947, but I'm guessing that if Tony Pontillo magically walked in the door sometime, he'd recognize this as his own pizza.
You'll find Jerry at the store most days. With a young daughter at home (and I know how that is), he tries to limit himself to five days a week, but it's a full week, and he's developed a reliable staff to handle things when he's not at the shop.
The result of Jerry's faithfulness to the original recipe, as I can attest, is very good pizza. I was there at lunchtime, when they've got a wide variety of slices available, so going with my gut, I got a cheese slice and a white slice, each of which Jerry cut in half (the slices here are quite large).
The cheese slice had a crisp, slightly charred crust, while the white veggie slice was a little softer and more browned underneath. Each was medium thick, with a well-risen, chewy, breadlike interior, and a thick, puffy cornicione.
The cheese slice had a good balance of sauce and cheese, with a moderately seasoned, tomatoey sauce and nicely melted, slightly browned cheese on top. The white slice was quite tasty, thanks to three kinds of cheese (Ricotta, mozzarella and Romano), fresh tomato slices and chopped spinach.
But don't take my word for it - see for yourself. I've got a gift certificate to give away to one lucky reader, good for one large, two-topping pizza.
OK, you know the drill. To enter to win, leave a comment after this blog post. Any comment will do, as long as it's not completely anonymous. A screen name will suffice.
One week from today, on Friday, October 10, a little after noon, I'll pick a winner, using random.org. If you win, I will need to have your full name and mailing address to get the gift certificate to you. You can leave it in your comment, you can email it to me before next Friday, or you can wait to see if you've won and send it to me then, at ROCpizzaguy@gmail.com. Just remember, emailing me does NOT enter you to win. You must leave a comment here to enter.
If you send me your email address before next Friday, and you are the winner, I will let you know by email that you've won, but otherwise it's up to you to check back here to see if you've won. If you win and I don't hear from you in a few days, I'll award the gift certificate to somebody else. I'll also post the winner on my Facebook page and send it out via Twitter.
Win or not, if you're in the Webster area, stop by Pontillo's on Ridge Road. They carry a wide selection of pizza, as well as wings, subs, salads and sides. But do try the pizza.
Pontillo's, 807 Ridge Road (Webster Woods Plaza), Webster
11 a.m. - 11 p.m. daily