Rochester NY Pizza Blog Rochester restaurants LocalEats featured blog

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sonny's Deli, N. Landing Rd.

Sonny's Deli is a little neighborhood spot on North Landing Road, just south of Blossom Road. It's the kind of place that you don't see very much these days, a small, independent deli/grocery store sitting by itself on an otherwise residential street.
This was formerly, I think, Detello's Deli & Pizzeria. I can remember getting pizza from there a long time ago one summer when I lived in a house nearby. But I'd kind of forgotten about it until just recently when I was scanning the pizza listings in the 2010 yellow pages (which still list this address as Detello's).
At any rate - I stopped in the other day for a slice. The slices were in one of those glass-enclosed warmers, where they looked to have been sitting for a while.
I opted for a cheese slice this time. It was thin, with a very dark underside bearing screen marks. The crust was crunchy - downright brittle, in fact - and when I took a bite the underside separated completely from the thin top layer of the crust, which remained adhered to the cheese. The predominant flavor was that of burnt toast.
The sauce was visible, but dried out, making it hard to pick out its flavor. Likewise, I could see a few flecks of dried herbs, but didn't notice any herb flavor either.
The cheese wasn't bad - uniformly but moderately applied mozzarella. It had a bright orange color and was a tad greasy.
The thin lip at the edge was OK. It was pleasantly crunchy, if a little bland.
Sonny's has a standard lineup of toppings, and four specialty pizzas. They also serve wings, which come tossed with one of eight sauces (which includes three heat levels of Buffalo sauce), a wide variety of subs and unusually named sandwiches (I get most of the names, except for "The Vatican," which comes with turkey, ham, bacon and mozzarella), salads, sides, and Italian and seafood dinners. And since it's a grocery too, they carry all the basics - milk, beer, snacks, etc. Sonny's, which is near Ellison Park, also claims to have "Rochester's largest supply of discs and disc golf accessories."
I have to say I was disappointed with this pizza. First, although I don't remember much about the pizza I used to get here way back when, when this was still Detello's, I know I got pizza from there more than once, so I must've liked it to some extent. (I do seem to recall the pizza being thicker, which is neither here nor there as far as me liking it, but it does seem to have changed since then.)
Second, I can see where this pizza had the potential to be really good. It looks more or less like a New York style pizza (except for the screen marks - I don't think I've ever seen screen-baked pizza in NYC), and according to the menu it's baked in a brick oven.
I think the problem here was mostly one of execution. The crust was overcooked, for one thing. It was also too dried out, from spending too long in the oven and, I think, the warming rack. That essentially nullified the sauce component, so that all I could really taste was the nearly-burned crust and the congealed cheese.
Finally, one minor quibble - the service was friendly enough, but when I got my slice, I was a bit surprised when the guy just handed it to me on a paper plate. It was snowing outside, and I was obviously getting it to go, so one of those paper sleeves would've been nice, don't you think?
So - I wasn't too thrilled with this slice, but even so, I think there was a very good slice of pizza trapped in there somewhere, that just never had a chance to get out. In fact I'm somewhat tempted to order a pizza from Sonny's sometime, just to see if maybe getting a freshly made pie would avoid some of the issues I had with this one. Until then, I'm giving Sonny's a C-.
Sonny's Deli, 494 N. Landing Rd. 288-7820
Mon. - Thu. 7 a.m. - 9 p.m., Fri. 7 a.m. - 10 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m. - 10 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.


  1. The subs here are the best but the pizza is also good. Try one not out of the slice warmer. Their buffalo pizza maybe the best in Rochester!!

  2. Hmm, OK. I'm not usually too apt to order a whole pie if a slice wasn't good but I'll make a note to get a small Buffalo chicken pizza there sometime.

  3. We love Sonny's! We order from there all the time, we don't get slices too often but when we have they've been fresh & good. The meatball sub,and chicken fingers are both excellent. Also they have an unusual and really tasty white pizza they make with ricotta. Definitely worth another try.

  4. It is overdue for another try for sure.

  5. Their pizza is definitely hit or miss. If you get a whole pie or a slice fresh out of the oven, it's pretty good, but too often it spends way too long in the warmer. As you said, the crust tends to get the worst of it, it gets so hard you feel like you could chip a tooth.

  6. Oh, and you definitely have to ask for a box, they'll give you a box no problem, but for some reason default to the weird paper plate.

  7. Well that is a shame I used to make the best pizzas there - this was in the 90's when it was more known for it's sale of beer and smokes to PHS students I miss the good old days...:-)