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Monday, December 28, 2009

Pizza Shack, Spencerport

Pizza Shack I on Urbanspoon
Not long ago, I stopped at the Pizza Shack I on West Ridge Road in Spencerport, and picked up a couple of slices. Before I get to the pizza, I should mention that there used to be a Pizza Shack II on Buffalo Road in Gates, right next to DeLinda’s, but that appears to be closed. There’s also a Hamlin Pizza Shack, and although I had assumed it was connected somehow with the one in Spencerport, I see that Hamlin Pizza Shack’s website says “Established 1986,” and the Spencerport Pizza Shack’s menu states, “Since 1970.” Their logos also differ in appearance. So maybe they’re not connected. Looks as if I’ll be driving out to Hamlin sometime, then.
OK, so back to the Spencerport "Shack." I foolishly ordered two pepperoni slices before finding out how big their slices are. Turns out a “slice” is really two slices, in other words, a quarter of a pie, cut down the middle. So I ended up with quite a bit more pizza than I wanted. Always ask first.
Oh well, that just meant that I’d be having cold pizza for lunch the next day. The slices, which were very fresh out of the oven, were thin to medium in thickness. The underside was just lightly browned, a little crackly, and just slightly crisp. There was some grease on top from the pepperoni, which I let drip off, but the underside was not greasy. The crust had a certain breadiness to it, not outstandingly so, but not bad.
The slices were topped with a thick layer of chewy, melted mozzarella cheese (described on the menu as “100% real mozzarella cheese” - are there pizzerias around using artificial cheese?). Beneath the cheese lay a stratum of sauce, moderately applied, with a medium consistency and flavor, neither too salty, acidic, nor herbal, but very straightforward and tomatoey.
Pizza Shack has a pretty standard array of pizza toppings to choose from, and no specialty pizzas as such. They also offer hot and cold subs, wings, calzones, a long list of munchies (mostly fried), and a handful of other items, including a Friday fish fry. They deliver within a seven-mile radius, which takes in Spencerport, Hilton, and western Greece. There are no dine-in facilities, and in fact the interior has a certain ramshackle appearance befitting the name of the place.
This pizza fell into the OK-but-not-great category. It had no real flaws to speak of, but the components somehow didn’t seem that well integrated with each other. There was a crust, and sauce, and cheese, and pepperoni, but somehow they didn’t quite come together into a unified whole. I know that’s rather vague and subjective, but it was just my impression. My other quibble is with the crust, which was decent but rather pale underneath. Perhaps I would’ve liked this better had I arrived 10 or 15 minutes later, and gotten the slices reheated for a minute or two, to allow the bottom to bake a bit more and the components to come together a little.
Anyway, as I said, there was nothing “wrong” with this pizza, as such. All in all, it was decent enough, perhaps a notch above average, so I’ll give it a C+.
Pizza Shack I, 5008 Ridge Road West, Spencerport 352-5005
Sun. - Thu. 11 a.m. - 11 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 11 a.m. - 1 a.m.
Pizza Guy Update:  for a more recent review of a full pie from Pizza Shack, go here


  1. are you kidding. average?? C+?? This is by far one of the best pizza places in Rochester. Have you tried their garlic wings...OMG!! To die for! What about the great tasting topping and the fact that they do not skimp on their toppings. Will I give them an A, maybe not, but definitely a B+ by a mile.

  2. Well, OK, thanks for your opinion. I haven't tried their wings, but that wouldn't affect my rating anyway. And I'm admittedly more of a crust guy than a toppings guy. But I'll try them again sometime, probably get a whole pie next time.

  3. I drive from Fairport to get this pizza! I agree that sometimes the crust could be baked a bit more, but I love the sauce and crust together, the tomato flavor really shines through. Also, their pepperoni curls and crisps in the oven, which I love. I do take my napkin and soak up all the grease from the pepperoni, though. This pizza is even better cold.

  4. That's quite an endorsement. On the doneness issue, I think at some places the ovens aren't quite as hot at noon as they are later in the day. Those big pizza ovens take some time to get up to full temp. I'm not saying that was the case here, but this was around noon, if I remember correctly.

  5. Additionally you may want to learn what your actually talking and writing about before your write on a subject. It only takes a stone pizza oven a half hour to an hour to get up to temp if the pizza shop is open at noon the owners usually begin at 10 a.m. and turn the ovens on when they first come in. Additionally convection ovens don't take a long period of time to warm up and cook more even. Brick ovens take the longest to get up to temp.

    Slices are almost always undercooked versus a regular pizza. This way slices can be re-warmed an hour or two later without burning them. Almost all pizza places do this for the lunch rush hour! So blogging about only slices does not give an honest review of the product, flavor of the pizza nor doneness. therefore your purported preference of a more done crust obviously isn't going to be found with slices as much as ordering a regular pizza. Which means pizza places are being given an inaccurate rating.

    The amateurish incompetence and lack of knowledge in the subject area is downright embarrassing for someone that purports themselves as a critic. As a food critic you are supposed to know everything their is to know about the subject and people to explain it in explicit detail with no conflict of interest. You have failed in this department as well because you don't rate your advertisers that are paying you on your website (Pappa Johns) and if you did I would bet they get a great grade and review or what is known as a "fluff" review.

    Your food critique service is very dishonest I hope you reconsider your position and become more honest in your reviews.

  6. No, I don't know everything there is to know about pizza. I admit that. But that's why I rely on experts like you, to educate me. So thank you for sharing your knowledge.
    However I've never called myself a pizza critic or any other kind of critic. I'm just a guy who goes out and eats pizza and writes about it. I know, any jerk with a computer and an internet connection can do that these days, but that's the age we're living in now, I guess.
    As to the doneness of these slices, if these slices were deliberately undercooked, with the expectation that they would be reheated before serving, then these slices should've been put back in the oven for a minute or two before they were served to me. Or at least I should've been given the option.
    The slice vs. pie issue has been raised before and I've addressed it. I'm not rating an entire pizzeria based on a single slice. I'm rating the slice that I had. If they serve slices as well as whole pies, then it's just as fair to rate one as the other.
    Finally, please take your own advice and learn about things before you comment on them. If you've read this blog much you'd know that I've made clear that in general, I don't think much of pizza chains or their pizza. In fact others have accused me of being biased against chains. So I find it ironic that Papa John's (whom I don't solicit; I have no control over what ads show up through Google Adsense) advertises here, since I don't think I've ever said a kind word about them.
    As I stated at the very beginning of this blog, the reason I don't review chains is that nearly everybody already knows what chain pizza is like, the same way everybody knows what McDonald's hamburgers taste like. I'm more interested in letting people know about the scores of small independent shops that are out there.
    Thanks again for your comments.