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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Dobber's, Canandaigua

I don't get to Canandaigua too often, but I consider it to be in the Rochester area, so I try to stay current on the Canandaigua pizza scene.
With that in mind, I recently got a pizza from Dobber's. It's on Lakeshore Drive, just east of the lake.
Dobber's bills itself as a sports bar and grill, rather than a pizzeria as such, but pizza is on the menu. I wasn't sure what to expect, since they only offer one size, which generally suggests the use of premade crusts. And I think that's what I got, but more on that later.
Dobber's offers three pizzas: the "classic cheese and pepperoni," with a garlic base, marinara, pizza spice, tomatoes, peppers, and Parmesan; the "veggie lover's," with a garlic base, mozzarella, pizza spice, tomatoes, peppers, onions, mushrooms, banana peppers, black olives and jalapenos; and a Buffalo chicken pie, with a garlic base, mozzarella, pizza spice, diced chicken tossed in the sauce of your choice.
I got the veggie lover's, sans mushrooms. I don't have many dietary taboos, but I don't do mushrooms. I don't eat anything that grows in caves, or that's a fungus, or that has the texture of rubber. Or that tastes like mushrooms.
In a nutshell, the toppings were pretty good; the crust, not so much. It was medium thick, generally pale, and somewhat dry. It could've been hand formed - the underside didn't have a machine-made look to it - but it did not have a freshly-baked aroma or texture. It wasn't crumbly or brittle, it simply was not much more than a base for the toppings.
And the toppings were good, as far as they went, but they literally didn't go very far. There was quite a gap between the toppings and the edge of the pie. Had the crust been exceptionally good, that wouldn't have mattered so much, but it wasn't.
On the plus side, where the toppings were applied, they were pretty good. The olives were canned, but I've always been OK with canned olives. The conglomeration of sliced and chopped veggies, atop a layer of well-melted mozzarella, was rather tasty, with a nice interplay of flavors - salty olives, hot, vinegary pepperoncini, milder green bell pepper, and decent chopped tomatoes, atop a bed of smooth melted cheese.
But it just wasn't quite enough to elevate the pizza as a whole. Some people (I'm not one of them, in case you hadn't guessed) are more concerned with the toppings on their pizza than with the crust. If that's you, then you want the toppings spread close to the edge of the crust. And these weren't.
I care about the toppings, certainly. It's the combination of the crust and toppings that makes pizza more than just bread. But for me the crust is where it all starts. And my test is, when I've finished the "topped" part of a slice, to I want to eat what's left - the "pizza bone"? The answer here was no.
I genuinely dislike giving a place a bad review, especially when it's not just a pizzeria.. So again I will emphasize that I am rating Dobber's pizza, not Dobber's as a whole. Dobber's offers way more than just pizza. As I waited for my pizza, I saw a plate of chicken wings go by, and they looked and smelled heavenly. The menu covers all the bar basics, and then some. They occasionally do a "pizza soup," which I would love to try. And there's a wide selection of beers, including their own house brand, Three Huskies.
Pizza aside, I came away with a good impression of Dobber's, overall. The place was clean and well maintained, the service was good, the patrons were friendly, and my impression was of a local bar and grill, in the best sense of that term. I think you could feel equally comfortable going there for a drink, or for a casual dinner with family or friends. (There is no physical divider between the bar and the dining area, and I imagine things may get a little more raucous as the evening goes on, so keep that in mind.)
So, bottom line. I'm giving the pizza a D. This was below-average pizza.
But I hasten to add that if I were in the area, looking for a place to stop into for a drink, meal or both, alone or with my family, I'd have no problem stopping at Dobber's. I just wouldn't order a pizza.

Dobbers Sports Bar & Grill, 401 Lakeshore Drive, Canandaigua, NY 14424

Monday - Friday 11 am - midnight
Saturday 11 am - 1 am
Sunday noon - 10 pm

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