post on PizzaBella, Akron (NY, not Ohio) is blessed with two pizzerias within a block of each other. I don't often have occasion to travel to Akron, so once I was there, there was no way that I was going to pass up the chance to try both PizzaBella and its neighbor, Tony's Pizza Shop.
According to their website, Tony's has been in business, under the same family ownership, since 1957, which I think would put it among WNY's oldest pizzerias, especially family-owned pizzerias. So for that alone, I was looking forward to Tony's.
And my hopes were justified. I got a pepperoni slice, which was cut from a pie that had just come out of the oven, so it was steaming hot.
A pizza really needs a few minutes to set, so the cheese on this one was a little sloppy. But that's a good sign, as it means that the cheese truly melted in the oven - it didn't just separate into oil and milk solids, the way that fake cheese does.
Apart from that, it was a very good slice of pizza. The crust was thin to medium in thickness, but the slice had a substantial heft, thanks to the cheese and sauce. This was a saucy slice, but the sauce wasn't excessive, and the slice overall was well balanced.
The sauce had a medium consistency, neither watery nor thick, and a tomatoey flavor. The underside was very lightly dusted with corn meal. It was browned, with a few darker areas, and not quite charred. It was not quite crackly, but it was crisp. The edge was thick and bready, with a slightly chewy texture.
Perhaps befitting its old-time nature, Tony's pizza menu is relatively basic: three sizes (small, large, and "party"), twelve toppings, and no specialty pizzas, although they do offer "double dough" and deep dish pizza. They also do calzones, wings, subs, salads, fish fry, spaghetti and ravioli, chicken parm, and various fried sides. There are a few tables available, in an informal, basic hometown pizza-shop setting.
Akron being some ways outside the immediate Rochester area, I didn't rate Tony's competitor, nor will I give Tony's a letter grade. But I'd describe it as a very good example of traditional Western New York pizza: a little thick, nice and bready, with plenty of gooey cheese, and ample sauce. And very tasty. In short, just about what you would expect, or want, from a family-owned pizzeria that's been around for nearly 60 years.
I wasn't there at the prettiest time of year, but I found Akron to be an attractive little town. Since it's about a mile north of Route 5, which is likewise about a mile north of the Thruway, I don't think I'd ever had occasion to visit it before. But if anybody from Akron is reading this, I will tell you that you should consider yourself lucky to have two very good pizzerias within a block of each other, in the center of town. Not only are they good, they offer contrasting styles of pizza: thin, NY style pizza at PizzaBella, and thicker, more traditional WNY pizza at Tony's. If I lived there, I honestly think I'd go back and forth, literally, between them, without ever settling on a clear favorite.
Tony's Pizza Shop, 36 Main St., Akron
Sun. & Mon. 4 p.m. - 10 p.m., Tue. - Thu. 11 a.m. - 10 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m. - 11 p.m., Sat. 4 p.m. - 11 p.m.