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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Abba's Pizza

NOTE:  Abba's is no longer in operation. Chabad Lubavitch now offers Gavi's kosher pizza.
Pizza probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind when you think of kosher food, but yes, there is such a thing as kosher pizza, and yes, you can get it in Rochester. Yesterday I made it over to Rochester's first, and I believe only kosher pizzeria, Abba's Pizza, at the Chabad Center on Winton Road, just south of Monroe and Elmwood.
Abba's is open to the public, but don't expect to see any signs for it outside; simply look for the Chabad Center, go in the front door, and follow your nose down the hall to the kitchen.
The operator of Abba's is a Rochester native who spent some time in the photography business in L.A., then moved back here with his wife to raise a family. Despite a lack of experience in the food service industry (rare in L.A., I guess, which is full of actors waiting on tables), he accepted a job taking over the kitchen at Chabad. Since then, he's managed to "reinvent" himself, in his words, as a chef and pizzaiolo.
So what makes a pizza kosher? Well, most obviously, there's no meat. No pepperoni, no sausage, no meatballs. Second, all the ingredients are kosher - the flour, salt, you name it. Where that makes the most noticeable difference is probably the cheese, which is under rabbinical supervision from the milking of the cow to the production of the cheese. More significantly, in terms of taste, texture and appearance, the cheese on Abba's pizza is also made without rennet, which is an animal product commonly used in cheesemaking.
My slice (topped with red bell pepper and onion) had a very thin crust, which is a nod to the tastes of the many transplanted New Yorkers at the Chabad Center. Although Abba's started out with a crust described as a "compromise between thick and thin," that's no longer the case; there are no compromises here, and this is decidedly a thin crust. (And in case your knowledge of Jewish dietary laws is as poor as mine, no, it's not unleavened. Yeast is OK. Most of the time.)
The underside of the crust, which was given a one- or two-minute reheating in Abba's large commercial pizza oven, was firm and crisp on the outside. It wasn't exactly charred, but there were bits of what seemed to be burnt cheese underneath.
The crust was topped with a tomato sauce that was somewhat thick, not so much in a cooked-down way, but just in a not-watery way. It had a good, tomatoey flavor, with a certain background taste of herbs that I couldn't quite pin down.
Atop the sauce lay the cheese, which I found a bit bland, without the tanginess of most pizza cheese, but which partially made up for its relative lack of flavor with a melted, smooth, creamy texture. The vegetable toppings actually worked quite well with this slice, since a strong-flavored topping like pepperoni, even if it were available, would simply have overwhelmed the other components.
Abba's sells pizza by the slice, as well as in whole 16" pies, which might go up to 18" at some point, in response to consumer demand (those NYers love a big, foldable slice). They also offer soups, salads, sandwiches and fries. Prices are a bit above what you might pay elsewhere, largely because of the cost of the kosher ingredients, the cheese in particular, but the pizza is certainly not outrageously expensive, either.
In the months since it opened, Abba's has gotten a very good response from its Chabad clientele, and when school is in session it also does a steady business with students from Brighton High School across the street. Outside business has been slow, but given Abba's low public profile, that's not surprising.
This was pretty good pizza, and certainly distinctive. There was not a single aspect of it that stood out as particularly noteworthy or unusual, but the total blend of flavor and texture made it different from any other pizza I've had around here. I'm looking forward to going back to Abba's sometime for a full, made-to-order pie, but for now I'll give it a B-.
Abba's Pizza, 1037 Winton Road South, 14618  360-9723
Mon. & Wed. 10:30 a.m. - 2 p.m., Tue. & Thu. 10:30 a.m. - 7 p.m., Sat. 7 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Christmas (Eve) Present from 2 Ton Tony's

Wearing a sweatshirt as red as Santa's suit, "2 Ton Tony" Proietti hosted a free Christmas Eve buffet lunch at his eponymous pizzeria in Irondequoit last Friday.
The event revives a family tradition started by Tony's grandparents, who owned the long-gone Ozzie's pizzeria on Goodman Street. Every year on Christmas Eve, they'd put out a free lunch as a thank-you to their customers.
This year Tony decided to do the same, the only change being the expanded size and variety of the buffet. When I stopped by at around 1:30, the booths at Tony's were filled with a mix of patrons, friends and family, who occasionally lined up at the buffet table as new trays were brought out, laden with several varieties of pizza, wings, meatballs, Italian sausage, rigatoni, salad, antipasti and more.
As Tony was busy overseeing it all and visiting with guests, he paused long enough for a photo, together with his daughter and his grandson, who sometime in the near future was going to have himself a sibling.
I chatted with Tony for just a few minutes, and as he casually mentioned some of the local pizzeria owners with whom he talks on a regular basis, I realized that there's a genuine community of local, independent pizza purveyors out there, probably as in any business, but it's nice to know nonetheless. Their very sense of neighborhood is what makes the independents less competitors than colleagues. And it's events like this that will help them survive, and thrive, in the face of economic challenges and competition from the big guys.
That community spirit exists not only among the owners themselves, but extends to their clientele too. As customers, we can help keep it alive by supporting our local pizzerias, so keep that in mind next time you're ordering. Buon appetito and Happy Holidays.
2 Ton Tony’s, 545 Titus Ave. 266-TONY (8669)
Mon. - Thu. 11 a.m. - 9 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 11 a.m. - 10 p.m., Sun. noon - 9 p.m.

Friday, December 24, 2010

That's Downright Criminal

Thought I'd pass this on -
AMHERST, Mass. (AP) - A man wearing a Bob Dylan backstage pass who ordered 178 pizzas from a Massachusetts pizza parlor but never picked them up has agreed to hand over the dough.
A lawyer for the New Jersey man says his client is a "decent enough" guy with no criminal record who felt bad about the prank.
Attorney Sean Cleary did not reveal his client's name and did not say how much he'll repay. The pizzas he ordered were worth about $4,000.
Workers at Antonio's in the college town of Amherst stayed until 5:30 a.m. on Nov. 20 making the pies. The man ordered them shortly after a Dylan concert at the nearby University of Massachusetts.
He said he would return in several hours and deliver them to Dylan's crew. But he never returned and the manager called police.
Some pizzas were given away, but most were thrown out.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pizza Stop on State St. No Longer Affiliated with Empire Blvd. Location

I've learned that The Pizza Stop on State Street in downtown Rochester is no longer affiliated with The Pizza Stop on Empire Boulevard in Penfield. The split comes just six months after the opening of the Penfield location, which took place 24 years after the original began serving New York style pizza to downtown workers. Owner Jim Staffieri and his son remain at the State Street Pizza Stop, while the Empire Boulevard Pizza Stop is now under separate ownership and management. No word yet on whether any name changes will be forthcoming.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fat Jack's, Fairport - CLOSED

Note: as of Nov. 2011, Fat Jack's is closed.
Last January, I reported on Portside Pizza in Fairport. I thought the slice I got there was OK but had a few flaws, and gave it a C+.
Well, Portside has exited the stage, and now enters Fat Jack's, which claims to be "Fairport's only home for true NY Style Pizza."
A bold claim, there, considering that Fat Jack's is new on the scene, and that Fairport already has some pretty decent NY style pizza at Pizza Chef. I was naturally eager, then, to put Fat Jack's to the test.
I got two slices, one cheese, one pepperoni. While slices aren't always representative of a pizzeria's best stuff, any true NY style pizzeria ought to be able to turn out good individual slices, like the ones you'll find at countless pizza joints in the Big Apple.
Visually, these slices bore some resemblance to what you'd get in the City, but there were noticeable differences too. They were thin, but of course there's more to New York style pizza than mere thinness.
The underside, for example. With rare exceptions, the slices I've gotten in New York have not been baked on a pizza screen. A NY-style slice should also be crisp and at least faintly charred underneath and along the outer edge.
These slices, though, bore clear screen marks, and were more medium or golden brown than charred, with just a few darker spots here and there. The bottom surface was firm, but not really crisp. On the plus side, they were foldable but not floppy, and the tip pointed straight out when the slice was folded.
The top side, too, didn't quite resemble genuine NYC pizza, as the cheese was rather browned. In my experience, a typical New York slice is charred underneath, but the cheese is simply melted, not browned.
I don't mean to get hung up on style, here - the bottom line, after all, is whether the pizza's good or not, not whether it meets some stylistic criteria - but I think it's fair to mention these things, since Fat Jack's chose to bill itself as a purveyor of "true NY style pizza."
That said, let's move on to the more important matter of how this pizza tasted. As I said, the crust was thin - very thin toward the tip - and there was some evidence in the outer lip of the dough having risen nicely, which gave it a pleasing chewiness. All in all, the crust had good texture and flavor, with the faintest hint of saltiness in the background, but it lacked exterior crispness.
The sauce was moderately applied, but certainly noticeable given the thinness of the crust. It had a thick texture, with a smattering of dried herbs visible, and I'm pretty sure I picked up some basil flavor. Not bad.
The cheese, as I mentioned, was a bit browned. It was OK, but not quite as smooth or creamy as I would've liked. The pepperoni had a nice peppery kick, and was reasonably crisp.
At this point, Fat Jack's has a relatively modest list of nine pizza toppings, and four specialty pizzas. They also do hot and cold subs, wings, salads and strombolis. It's pretty much a takeout place - sorry, I'm not sure if they deliver, but I'll try to find out.
I liked this pizza well enough to go back. It had good flavor, and the crust wasn't bad. I do take issue with Fat Jack's claim to serve authentic New York style pizza, though. I'd be pretty surprised if I got a slice like these from a pizza place in New York City. It may just be a matter of baking the pizza directly on the oven deck, which I think would make the crust crisper and cook the crust through before the cheese started to brown. But on the basis of these slices, this was better than average pizza, and I'll give them a B.
Fat Jack's Pizza, 110 Packetts Landing, Fairport
Sun. - Thu. 11 a.m. - 8:30 p.m., Fri. - Sat. 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Gifts for the Pizza Lover

We're down to crunch time here, but if you've still got shopping to do for the pizza lover in your life (who may be you), consider:
1) a pizza stone - great for homemade pizza with a crisp crust. Rectangular is better than round. You can also use unglazed quarry tiles, which will save you some money, though a baking stone probably makes a nicer gift 
2) a pizza cutter - comes in handy even for takeout, which is sometimes not cut cleanly through
3) chef's hat and apron - great for getting in the spirit of things when you're making pizza
4) a pizza peel - I have two, a wooden one for sliding the pizza into the oven and a metal one for getting it out. But either alone would work fine.
5) an insulated pizza bag, like the ones the delivery people use - good for takeout, especially if the pizzeria is some distance from your home
6) a pizza cookbook. There are a lot of good ones, but my standby is American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza by Peter Reinhart. He's got several dough recipes for everything from traditional Neapolitan pizza to New York style to generic American pizza.
7) and of course, a gift certificate to your giftee's favorite pizzeria. You can't go wrong with that.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Martusciello's - Full of Surprises

Last February, I reported on the array of pizzas available from Martusciello Bakery's display case.While I wasn't completely bowled over by the pie that I got, I did love the sheer number of choices, and the visual appeal of all those different pizzas, ready to go.
But that still left me wondering what a fresh, made-to-order pizza from Martusciello's would be like, so the other day I ordered a pie to go.
I was met by several surprises along the way, beginning with the ordering process. After asking for a medium pepperoni pizza, I was asked what else I wanted on it. I'm not sure what my exact response was, but I must have expressed some confusion, because the girl had to explain that she meant, what else did I want besides pepperoni? Did I want sauce as well? Cheese?
This was a first for me, and I answered yes to both questions. That was followed up by another - did I want mozzarella? Initially I said yes, but then inquired what my choices were. The answer was the standard deli list, provolone, Swiss, cheddar, etc. I settled on a combination of mozzarella and provolone, with a little Romano thrown in for good measure.
The next surprise came when I picked up the pizza and was handed a big, sheet-pizza style box. I was afraid that perhaps there'd been a mixup, but as it turned out, the box contained a normal size, medium pizza, with plenty of room in the box to spare. Either they were out of smaller boxes, or they mostly sell sheet pizzas and don't bother to stock smaller boxes.
A visual inspection of the pizza yielded still more surprises. First off, I'd been expecting something along the lines of what I'd seen in the display case, but this really didn't resemble those pizzas much at all. It was roughly square, for one thing, and the cheese was on top, with the pepperoni underneath.
There was quite a bit of cheese, too. Maybe I got more cheese than normal because I asked for three varieties, but this was a cheesy pizza (I didn't notice if I was charged for extra cheese, though I don't think I was).
The crust was pretty thin, and tended to break apart, from itself and from the cheese, when I attempted to extricate a slice.
The underside was not especially greasy, although the bottom of the box was soaked with oil, and the underside did have the telltale yellow-brown tint of oily dough. There was also some yellowish oil visible on top that apparently had exuded from the cheese.
The crust was firm, but not all that crisp. There wasn't much evidence of the dough having risen, either visually or in terms of the texture, which lacked the bready chewiness of some crusts.Along the edge, the crust was formed into a crunchy, thin lip.
The cheese was well melted, but not to the point where it had all melted together. The provolone had been applied in full slices rather than shreds, and I was easily able to separate it from the mozzarella and peel it off in individual slices.
Under the cheese, there was an abundance of pepperoni slices, of the wide, thin-cut variety. It had a somewhat spicy flavor.
What was most remarkable about the pepperoni, however, was how much of it there was. In many spots, it was 2, 3, 4 or more slices deep. Had each slice been applied separately, it would easily have covered the entire surface of the pie.
A thin layer of sauce came next. It had a fairly thick consistency, and a cooked-tomato flavor. I could detect some herbs in the background, but otherwise it was pretty middle-of-the-road, neither very salty nor sweet.
Underneath it all lay the Romano, which had been sprinkled on in a relatively moderate amount, but enough to add a distinctive, sharp tanginess. Good idea there, putting it on first, as Romano, having little moisture, tends to dry out completely if it's baked on top of the pizza.
All in all, this was a very unusual pizza. I liked it, more perhaps than I would've expected. It was rather messy to eat while hot, with the crust breaking apart and all, but it tasted good. And the leftovers may have been even better the next day, eaten cold. The cold tended to firm up the crust a bit - probably from the oil hardening - and although the cheese had dried out a bit, it was still tasty.
As I was eating this pizza, I found myself thinking, "I shouldn't be liking this," given the unspectacular crust and the heavy layer of cheese, which to me tends to throw a thin crust pizza out of balance. But sometimes good is good, regardless of one's preconceptions about what pizza should be like, and I did enjoy this one. I don't think this would be my go-to pizza on a regular basis, but I'll give it some props for flavor and sheer uniqueness, enough to rate a solid B from me.
Martusciello's Bakery, 2280 Lyell Ave., Rochester 14606, 247-0510
Mon. - Fri. 7:30 a.m. - 7:00 p.m., Sat. 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Sun. 7:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Last orders accepted one hour before closing.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Pizza Shack #1, Spencerport

Pizza Shack I on Urbanspoon
Nearly a year ago, I did a post on Pizza Shack #1 (sometimes spelled Pizza Shack I) in Spencerport. I thought it was OK, but not great, with a crust that was decent but quite pale underneath, and I gave it a C+.
That sparked a couple of responses insisting that I was way off base, and that Pizza Shack rates far better than a C+, so I vowed to go back.
It's taken nearly a year, but back I went last week. Instead of getting a couple of slices at lunchtime, as on my previous visit, this time I picked up a large pie for dinner. I got peppers and onions on half.
The crust was on the thick side of medium, and the square-cut pieces were firm along the outside, though the pie was thinner, and the slices floppier, toward the center. The outer pieces averaged about 5/8 inch thick.
The edge was thick and crunchy, and the underside was well browned and dry to the touch. The crust throughout was pleasantly bready, and the dough appeared to have risen nicely, giving it a good, chewy texture and no oversize bubbles anywhere.
The crust was topped with a healthy dose of sauce, which had a salty/acidic, tomatoey flavor that was lightly seasoned with herbs. The mozzarella was added in good proportion to the sauce, and as is typical of pizzas with additional toppings on half, the cheese-only side was somewhat browned. 
This was quite a change from the slices I got here last December, and quite an improvement, in my opinion. I suspect that the 12-month span in between was not as much of a factor as the 5- or 6-hour difference in the time of day when I ordered these. Last time, maybe the ovens weren't quite hot enough, or maybe the pizzaiolo was in a hurry to get the pie out of the oven to accommodate lunchtime customers, but the pie I got this time around was better baked, which made a lot of difference. The texture was better, the flavor was better, and the other components seemed to meld together better.
This was also a good example of what I think of as Rochester style pizza. A bit thick, plenty of sauce and cheese, but well balanced, with a bready crust that's typically given a square cut. It didn't stand head and shoulders above the crowd, perhaps, but it was a very solid representative of the local style, and I'll give it a B+.
Pizza Shack #1, 5008 Ridge Road West, Spencerport, 14559. 352-5005
Sun. - Thu. 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 10:30 a.m. - 1 a.m.
Delivery to Spencerport, Hilton, and West Greece.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Bay Goodman, Winton Rd.

Bay Goodman Pizzeria on Urbanspoon
The Winton Road location of Bay Goodman Pizza was one of the first pizzerias that I reported on, back in March 2009. I wouldn't call it the original location, since the original was at - where else? - Bay and Goodman Streets, but this was where Bay Goodman moved, I believe, after the original location closed.
I wasn't particularly impressed by the slice I got at Bay Goodman in '09, giving it a C+, though it did have some nostalgia value, as I fondly remembered chowing down on Bay Goodman pizzas in years past.
But I've heard from more than one source that the pizza had improved following Bay Goodman's move a few blocks north, to the intersection of North Winton and Browncroft Boulevard. So I returned recently to check it out.
I got two slices this time, a regular cheese slice and a garlic-vegetable slice. Both were built on a thin to medium crust, which on the cheese slice had a slightly charred, leather-brown underside. It was foldable, as befits Bay Goodman's claim to making "New York pizza," and the bottom surface, which was lightly dusted with corn meal, was a little crackly, but not really crisp. The very bottom of the crust had a tough texture, and was easily separable from the top half, or interior, of the crust, which was softer and breadier. The outer edge was formed into a thin, crunchy lip.

A thin layer of sauce had been applied to the crust. It had a rather bland flavor, not much going on there. It was topped by a relatively thick layer of melted mozzarella.
The garlic veggie slice was wetter underneath, presumably because of the water in the spinach, tomatoes and onions on top. It was a little oily on top, which is not uncommon with white pizzas. The slice had a pleasant garlic flavor that complemented but did not overwhelm the other components.
So, has Bay Goodman's pizza changed since the move, and if so, for the better? Well, the crust of the cheese slice was, for my taste, marginally better than the pepperoni slice I got last time, as it came closer to the charred, crisp crust that I prefer. The vegetable slice, on the other hand, was unfortunately soggy. And the tomato sauce on the cheese could've used a little more zing - something was missing there. It may be something as simple as a little more salt or some additional herbs, but I found it on the bland side. Overall, the flavor of both slices was good enough, but not spectacular, and the components on both slices were well balanced.
Still, I can't say that these showed enough improvement over my prior visit to rate a higher grade. With some very minor changes, these would easily rate a B- or better, but these particular slices I'll give a C+.
Bay Goodman Pizza, 620 North Winton Rd, 14609. 288-0730
Mon. - Thu. 11 a.m. -10 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 11 a.m. - midnight, Sun. 1 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Awarded, Again

The Rochester NY Pizza Blog was recently named among the 100 Best Restaurant and Dining Blogs in the country by the Guide to Culinary Schools. It's about 2/3 of the way down the list, right between Epicuryan and Capitol Bites. After looking at some of the other 99 blogs on the list, I'm not sure I deserve the honor, but who am I to argue? Take a look at the list if you want to poke around some other food-related blogs out there.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

CJ's Pub & Grill, Spencerport

You don't find a lot of pizzerias in bowling alleys, but hey, why not? Bowling and pizza seem like pretty good partners. If you're going to eat while you bowl, better a slice of pizza than a hot sauce-coated chicken wing - you don't want to be picking up a bowling ball with grease on your fingers.
As the name implies, CJ's Pub & Grill, which opened earlier this year in the same building as Spencerport Bowl, is not just a pizzeria, but it does offer a full pizza menu. It's not the first place in Spencerport Bowl to offer pizza; Pizzeria Nove was there for a while, but closed in March 2009. CJ's is in a different space within the building, and unlike Pizzeria Nove, which was mostly a takeout place, CJ's is a full-fledged pub with a bar and tables.
I recently stopped at CJ's to pick up a large pie with green (sweet) peppers and onions. It had a pretty thin crust, the underside of which bore an unusual cross-hatch pattern, something like grill marks, but more widely separated than I would expect from an ordinary grill.
The crust was, well, kind of odd. It was slightly oily to the touch, with a chewy, somewhat dense, doughy texture. It didn't taste like raw dough, it just had the texture of raw dough, as if the dough hadn't risen very much. One big air bubble (visible in the top photo at about 1:00) and a few smaller but still prominent bubbles suggested that perhaps the dough hadn't risen much before going into the oven, where the heat briefly sent the yeast into overdrive.
On the plus side, the overall flavor wasn't bad. The crust was topped with a bright-tasting, tangy sauce, and a moderate layer of slightly browned cheese. In general, the components were well balanced. The diced, fresh peppers and onions were not added in abundance, but enough to provide flavor and a bit of crunch. The outer edge of the pie was formed into a thin, narrow lip.
CJ's menu is pretty basic, as far as pizza goes, with eleven toppings and no specialty pizzas. There's also a full range of bar food, as well as more substantial fare, including steaks, pasta, sandwiches, and salads. There's a kid's menu as well.
I might go back sometime, but probably not for the pizza. While this pizza had pretty good flavor, the crust really wasn't so hot. There's a lot of pizza competition in the immediate vicinity of CJ's, including Cam's, Leccese's, and a Pontillo's (which I haven't been to yet). If CJ's were trying to make a go of it as a pizzeria, I wouldn't be too optimistic. Judging from their Facebook page, though, the pub seems to have a fair number of fans, and it may do very well, but at this point pizza is not CJ's forte, I'm afraid. I'm giving this one a C-.
CJ's Pub & Grill, 45 Nichols St., Spencerport 14559. 585-352-5772
Not sure of the hours, but I believe it's open daily for lunch and dinner, and the bar stays open late.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Batavia Pontillo's Changes Name

I've mentioned before the lawsuit within the Pontillo family over the original Pontillo's restaurant in Batavia. It's just been reported that the Batavia location (which is not affiliated with the various Pontillo's in and around Rochester) has been renamed, "Batavia's Original." No word yet on whether this will resolve the lawsuit.
For a recent blog post on the pizza at what was then Pontillo's in Batavia, go here.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Mac's, Lyell Ave.

For some years now, a pizzeria has occupied the inside corner of the shopping plaza across from the Lyell Ave. Wegmans. It hasn't always been the same pizzeria; in fact, in just the past few years, KC's, Piatza's, and the oddly named Hot to Trot have come and gone there.
Undeterred by their strikeouts, Mac's has now stepped up to the plate. I'm always hesitant to pronounce any judgments about a place right after it's opened, or for that matter, about a place based on a single slice of pizza. But I do like to give readers a heads-up on new places, and to check out new pizzerias, so I stopped by Mac's a few days ago for a lunchtime slice.
Mac's slices are pretty big - each slice is a quarter of a large pie - so I just got one.  They had two choices when I visited, plain cheese and pepperoni, and I went with the pepperoni. It looked pretty fresh, but they gave it a quick reheating in the oven.
I don't know how much of this was attributable to the reheating, but the underside of this medium-thick slice was quite dark, and even blackened in some areas. I don't mean charred, like you would get from a super-hot oven, but blackened like an overdone piece of toast or a pancake that had been left on the griddle for too long. On the plus side, the bottom was dry, not greasy, but not crisp either. The crust had a soft texture, although the interior had some pleasant breadiness. That bready quality was most pronounced in the lip along the outer edge, which had a nice, chewy texture.
This was a well balanced pizza, with enough sauce and cheese to complement each other and the crust. The sauce had good flavor, with a nice balance of tomatoey, herbal and salty flavors. It seemed a tad spcy, although that miight've been from the pepperoni.
The cheese had congealed, and was not stringy or particularly chewy. It had a slightly tangy flavor, and easily separated from the crust. The slice also appeared to have been dusted with some grated cheese, which might be where some of that tanginess was coming from.
Mac's pizza menu, at this point, is pretty basic, with thirteen toppings, and one specialty pizza (chicken wing). They also serve wings, calzones, hot and cold subs, salads, burgers, dogs, "Mac plates," and sides, along with a fish fry on Fridays.
This slice was not bad, but the crust was a little soft for me, and the underside was more overcooked than charred. The cheese also seemed a bit lacking in terms of texture, and was more dried out than melted. But the interior of the crust was pleasant enough, the sauce had good flavor, and this was a pretty good deal at $3 for a slice with a 20 oz. drink.
If I were a business owner, I'd be pretty hesitant about going into a location where several others had tried and failed at the same kind of business, but I guess not everybody's so timid. Mac's has the makings of a good product, and I wish them success. For now, I'd say this slice comes out to about average, so I'll give it a provisional C, with a mental note to myself to go back sometime.
Mac's Pizzeria & Grill, 2346 Lyell Ave. 14606. 429-MACS (6227)
Sun. - Thu. 11 a.m. - 10 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Free delivery