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Friday, March 27, 2009

Rookies Express, Monroe Ave.

Rookies Express Pizza & Pasta has been open for a few months now on Monroe Ave., in a former location of Mark’s Pizzeria, which moved up the street a little. They are open all day, past bar closing time on weekends. Besides regular and “gourmet" pizzas, they offer baked chicken wings, pasta and subs.
I had a “Hugia Slice” with pepperoni, the name of which is derived from a local auto dealership ad. The huge/mega/jumbo slice thing seems to be hitting Rochester lately. It may be an overgeneralization, but I would say that when you see a place advertising how enormous their slices are, that’s not a good thing if you’re looking for really good pizza. Same as when a restaurant makes a big deal about how generous their portions are: it’s putting quantity over quality.
My “Hugia Slice” did nothing to dispel that view. It was big, for sure, but, almost strange. The crust was very doughy, with a soft, spongy texture and yeasty flavor that reminded me a little of the crepe-like injera bread they serve at Abyssinia, the Ethiopian restaurant on University Ave. The underside was pale and soft too, but the edge was slightly burnt and crunchy, with an oily flavor and mouthfeel.
There was not much sauce on the crust, but above that was a medium-thick layer of cheese, with flecks of brown, cooked spots. The cheese adhered to the slice when I bit into it, although it pulled away in a single mass quite easily when I tugged on it with my fingers. The pepperoni was of the “cup and char” variety, with a nice crunch to it.
The counter service (there is virtually no seating) was friendly and polite, but despite that I have no plans to go back. Rookies’ menu says that they have three dough styles to choose from if you order a full pie - “original pan, thin, or crispy” - and I assume that I got the “original pan” version - but nothing about it made me want to check out the other two. My take on Rookies is that, like a lot of the big-slice places, it caters, or appeals, primarily to the bar crowd looking for a cheap way to fill their guts and soak up beer. This would certainly do the trick, but I’m afraid that’s about all. I give it a D.
Pizza Guy Note:  Rookies Express has closed.


  1. I tried there slices they have gotten alot better the staff is great plus they deliver to my campus until 3am plus they have new daily specials I give it a B.

  2. The counter guy was courteous. I'll give them another try sometime.

  3. I cannot promise the veracity of this news, but according to RocWiki, Rookies on Monroe has closed and it has been replaced by "Bertino's Italian Food to Go", which apparently also sells pizza. (not even sure if they are already open or not)

  4. Thanks for that update. I'll check it out.

  5. Was in rookies i asked who makes the best pizza
    Well the guy behide the counter says rookies definitley! so i say decribe the word Definitley
    He say not sure So i say the sky is Definitley blue he said your right i say wrong sometimes its gray try again so i say the grass is definitley
    Green he says your right again I say wrong again
    sometime it brown
    So i ask him do farts have lumps in them hes says no I say right i ate at rookies and i definitley Scht my pants LMAO