Way back in 2009, I did a post pitting against each other two Geneseo pizzerias, Mama Mia's and Pizza Paul's. In that post, I gave Mama Mia's an A, and Pizza Paul's a B-minus.
Since then, I've generally considered Mama Mia's my go-to place in Geneseo. But on a recent Sunday afternoon, when I was in Geneseo with my wife and daughter, I decided it was time to stop back at Pizza Paul's. And I'm glad I did.
I got one pepperoni slice. It was markedly different from the slice that I got back in 2009. Or at least it seemed so to me.
That slice, at that time, seemed like a poorer version of Mia's pizza. This time around, it struck me as qualitatively different from Mia's, but equally good.
The crust was between thin and medium thick, with a big, puffy cornicione. It had the flavor and texture of freshly baked bread, right out of the oven, which is basically what it was. I tore the crust open to get a picture to show the interior.
The toppings well complemented the crust. The smooth layer of mozzarella was nearly covered by the thin slices of pepperoni, and the medium-thick sauce was noticeably present.
The underside was more browned than charred (sorry, I neglected to get a photo), as was the cornicione. I know that at times I (and other reviewers) wax rhapsodic about charred undersides, but I do not think that every pizza needs to be charred underneath, anymore than I think that every loaf of bread should be charred or crackly on the outside.
What I don't like is pizza that's oily or flabby or lifeless. And this was none of those things. The uniformly browned crust allowed some of the nuances of the baked dough to come through, and made me realize, again, that pizza is not a one-size-fits-all proposition.
We also got an order of Nutella-dipped nuggets, which I think had a humorously suggestive name. If you like fried dough and/or Nutella, you'd like these.
Pizza Paul's pizzas come in 10, 13, 16 and 18 inch pies, as well as sheets. They offer 17 toppings and 7 gourmet pizzas. They also do regular and boneless wings (7 sauces), subs, "subzones" (a cross between a sub and a calzone), and a bunch of fried sides, including an interesting array of "gourmet fries," including Buffalo Blue, Greek and taco fries. Check out the full menu here.
Now I find myself in a bit of a quandary when I'm in Geneseo, wanting pizza. But it's a good quandary to be in. New York style at Mia's, or a breadier, WNY style at Paul's. Local residents and students should consider themselves fortunate that they have two A-rated pizzerias, across the street from each other.
Pizza Paul's, 110 Main St., Geneseo
Sun. - Thu. 11 a.m. - 11 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 11 a.m. - midnight, till 3 a.m. while college is in session
Second location at 5808 Big Tree St. in Lakeville, (585) 346-2680