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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Three Pizzas and More About Fiamma

I just gave away a $100 gift certificate to Fiamma, but I had to do an additional post, for a couple of reasons.
First, I want to say something about the pizzas that my wife and I shared on our November visit, when chef Giuseppe Paciullo generously agreed to donate that gift certificate. Second, I've been given some information about Fiamma that I think you may find interesting.
Let's start with the pizza. I got a Regina Margherita, topped with San Marzano tomato sauce, imported buffalo milk mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, oregano, basil, Gran Cru (an imported aged sheep's milk cheese), and extra virgin olive oil. My wife ordered the Amalfi, with mozzarella, arugula, thin-sliced bresaola carpaccio, shaved Parmigiano Reggiano, extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.
I'd previously had Fiamma's Margherita off the "tradizionali" side of the pizza menu; the "Regina" is on the "Specialita" side. It had been so long (too long) in between visits that I can't give you a specific description of how they differ, but the Regina is a little on the wet side, with semi-liquid dollops of Buffalo milk mozzarella and chunks of cherry tomatoes rather than just a pureed sauce. The flavors blended and complemented each other beautifully, the crust remained crisp underneath, and it was with some difficulty that I was able to leave some on my plate to take home.
The Amalfi provided a nice contrast to the Margherita, and was a study in contrasts in itself. The carpaccio was reminiscent of salami, but more intensely flavored, leaner and chewier. My only complaint was that the slices of carpaccio needed to be individually cut, with a knife, into bite sizes; Fiamma provides pizza cutters with each pie, but they didn't really do the job on the carpaccio, and my attempts to bite off a small piece as I was eating the pizza were largely unsuccessful. Smaller, thinner strips would've been easier to work with, even if not as visually attractive as these.
The arugula and shot of fresh lemon juice added further contrasts, both texturally and flavorwise. I'm not always a big fan of fresh greens on pizza, but this was a fine combination of flavors, colors and textures. Definitely not your average American pizza, but quite enjoyable.
Upon learning that this was my wife's and my anniversary (well, one day short, but close enough), chef Giuseppe prepared us a special treat, a Nutella pizza. I fell in love with Nutella while traveling in France years ago, where I ate plenty of crepes laden with the chocolate-hazelnut spread. This was reminiscent of those, but with a crisp, wood-fired crust rather than a soft, rolled-up crepe. And like most of Fiamma's wares, this was made with the genuine article, imported Nutella, not its sweeter, more chocolatey American counterpart (which is still good, mind you, just not as good). I'm not sure if this "pizza" appears on Fiamma's menu, but I suspect that they can whip one up for you on request.
Oh, and the second thing - a reader (whom I thank) recently sent me an email with some background information about Fiamma. Turns out that pizzaiolo Giuseppe Paciullo spent some time working at this pizzeria in New York City, which is owned by his uncle Roberto, before moving to Rochester. I've never eaten at Zero Otto Nove, but it's gotten rave reviews, like this one. As you'll see, there's a strong resemblance to Fiamma's pizza.
The more I get to know pizzeria owners, the more I come to learn that all pizzerias - the best ones, at least - have a history, and family roots. Great pizzerias generally don't just spring up on their own, because the owner read a cookbook. There's always a background story. So this provides us with some insights into Fiamma's roots.
More than that, it points up how fortunate we are to have a pizzeria of this caliber in Rochester. New York City has long been home to some of the best pizzerias in the country, and the pizza scene there now is hotter than ever. We're lucky enough to have a pizzeria in our midst that can hold its own with the best of them.

Fiamma, 1308 Buffalo Rd. 14624

Lunch: Mon. - Sun. 11:45 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.,
Dinner: Sun. - Thu. 4:30 p.m. - 9 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 4:30 p.m. - 'til

Friday, December 27, 2013

Back to The Pizza Stop

Yes, I've reported on The Pizza Stop before, more than once, but a blog is, in part, a log, a record of one's activities. And since I stopped, after a too-long absence, at The Pizza Stop on State St. the other day, I'll provide a brief report. 
If nothing else, I can confirm that they remain consistently good. I got one thin pepperoni slice and one Sicilian cheese slice. And the worst part of the experience was trying to decide which one I liked better.
I've been accused of being biased in favor of thin-crust pizza, and I'll be the first to admit that I generally do prefer a thin crust. But maybe that's partly because a lot of thicker-crust pizza that I've had has been, well, not so great. Think of your typical sheet pizza, with an oily crust, fried-crunchy bottom, and squishy, cotton-like interior.
Done properly, though, a thick Sicilian pie is a thing of beauty. Pizza Stop's is thick but well balanced, with a crisp underside and an interior that's chewy but not dense. The slightly sweet, tomatoey sauce and thick layer of nicely melted mozzarella provide enough moisture to balance out the crust, and to add some textural contrast. I could eat this for a long time without missing thin crust.
But fortunately I didn't have to. I didn't eat these slices in sequence, but alternated, with a bite or two of each. The thin, New York style slice was as good as ever, with a pleasant bite and a nicely charred bottom that provided the perfect base for that unbeatable combination of cheese and sauce that almost meld into each other. And while I'm perfectly happy with a plain cheese slice, once in a while the addition of thin-sliced pepperoni adds a nice extra layer of flavor without compromising the simplicity of the slice as a whole. It also made for a bit of extra contrast with the Sicilian cheese slice.
Now while I'd be more than content to stick with these, once in a while I will get a little adventurous and try one of Pizza Stop's specialty pizzas, which run the gamut from vegetarian pies like a spinach, artichoke hearts and ricotta pizza to the "Mega Meat" with pepperoni, meatball, sausage and bacon, and one of my favorites, the never-disappointing meatball parm. (Check the full menu here.)
I'm always on the lookout for new pizzerias and places I haven't tried before, but now and then you've gotta get back to the old standbys, and The Pizza Stop remains on my short list of Rochester's best. It's nothing fancy-schmancy, no exotic ingredients or trendy styles, just good, basic pizza that's as close, pizzawise, to New York City as you're going to get this side of the Hudson River. So I may have said it before, but I'll say it again:  if you haven't been there, get there. You owe it to yourself.

The Pizza Stop, 123 State St., Rochester 14614
Mon. - Thu. 10 a.m . - 7 p.m., Fri. 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Also at 2532 Ridgeway Ave. in Greece
Sun. noon – 7 p.m., Mon. & Tue. 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., Wed. – Sat. 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

I hope this isn't too irreverent, but if I were a Magus (I think that's the correct singular of "Magi"), and I saw pizza in the sky, I'd ride a long way on my camel to find it. And if I found a baby instead I'd be happy with that too.
I've got some draft posts in the works, but with Christmas coming up it may take a week or so. Until next time, I hope all my readers have a great Christmas, and I thank you again for following the blog. If you're traveling over the holidays, try to check out the local pizza, wherever you go, if you can. And if friends or family are coming to visit, introduce them to our local pizzerias, again, holiday schedule permitting. Merry Christmas to all!

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Winner Is ... Beads! BB, I have sent you an email at the address listed on your blog. I assume that's a current address. Either way, please send me your full postal address and I'll put the Fiamma's $100 gift certificate in the mail right away. Thanks to all for participating, have a Merry Christmas, and look for more giveaways in January!

Friday, December 20, 2013

J Dubs, Alexander, NY

As I've mentioned before, I do a fair amount of hiking in our general area, mostly to the south, where it's a little more hilly than around Rochester. And despite the wear and tear on my legs and joints, I prefer to hike over hills. So I pass through a lot of small towns, hamlets and villages, south of Rochester.
On one recent excursion, I drove through Alexander, a town and village in Genesee County, with a history going back over 200 years.
Near the main intersection, of Rt. 98 and Buffalo St., just south of Rt. 20, you'll find J Dubs. It's a small place, just a basic small-town pizzeria, with basic, small-town pizza. (The Facebook page hasn't been updated in a long time, but it's the same place.)
I got one pepperoni slice, in the early afternoon. The crust was mostly thin, except for the outer edge, where it was formed into a thick cornicione. The underside was crisscrossed by screen marks and was a bit oily to the touch, with the golden-brown color that is indicative of oil, either in the dough or on  the baking surface. The cornicione was crunchy on the outside, but the interior was what I call "cottony" - chewy but soft.
What was more immediately noticeable about this slice was the sauce. It had a thick texture and a sweetish, pronounced herbal flavor. I thought I detected some basil in particular. I was OK with it, but it was assertive, as sauces go, and if you like your sauce to stay more in the background, you might not care for it.
Atop the sauce lay a fairly thick, uniform blanket of cheese, basic mozzarella, melted and congealed. It separated quite easily from the slice. The pepperoni was thin-sliced and a little crisp.
While price generally doesn't enter into my reviews, I do have to say, this was a very affordable buck-twenty-five a slice. And that's one of the things you gotta love about small-town pizzerias.
All in all, this was OK. Next time I'm passing by this way, if I'm in the mood for pizza, I'd stop in. It was nothing I'd go out of the way for, though.
Since J Dubs is the only pizzeria in Alexander, as far as I know, and since it's so far from my home base, I'll not rate it. But if you run across it, based on this visit, I'd say you can expect the slices to be decent but unexceptional.
J Dubs, 4 Corners (10573 Main St.), Alexander, New York 14005
Tue - Thu: 11:00 am - 9:00 pm
Fri - Sat: 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Sun: 1:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Monday, December 16, 2013

New Giveaway: $100 gift certificate to Fiamma! read that correctly. Fiamma, whose food I would rank among the best I've had - pizza or otherwise, Rochester or elsewhere - has agreed to donate a $100 gift certificate to some lucky reader of this blog. This would make an amazing stocking stuffer or a gift to yourself. In fact it's hard for me to give it away, but I will.
I will select a winner at random one week from today, Monday, December 23, around noon. If you are the winner and you do want this by Christmas, I will be able to get it to you if you're willing to meet me to pick it up.
To enter, just leave a comment at the end of this blog post. Any comment. You do not have to fully identify yourself at this point, but anonymous comments will not count. Multiple comments will do you no good.
If you are the winner, I will need a way to get in touch with you. If you don't need it before Christmas, I'll mail it to you. If you want it sooner, I'll need a phone number or email address so we can make arrangements.
Now I know you probably don't want competition for this, but please tell your friends about this giveaway. This is a very generous donation by Fiamma so I'd like to use this opportunity to spread the word about them. Maybe you and your friends can reach a deal where if one of you wins you'll take the other as a guest. Just please don't try to stuff the ballot box. We're all part of an online community and I think we'd all like to be fair to each other.
Whether you win or not, if you are a pizza fan (and I presume that you are, if you're reading this), you owe it to yourself to get to Fiamma. I don't know if I'll ever make to Italy, but I can't help believing this comes awfully close. (If you haven't seen my reviews of Fiamma, type "Fiamma" into the search box on the blog to pull them up.)
Fiamma, 1308 Buffalo Road, Gates 14624
Mon - Thu: 11:45 am - 9 pm, Fri: 11:45 am - 10 pm, Sat: 4 pm - 10 pm, Sun: 11:45 am - 9 pm

Friday, December 13, 2013

Our Winner Is ...

cephraim, who posted the very first comment, has won the Brandani's gift card! (He did not get an advantage by posting first, by the way; I chose a winner using, and #1 came up this time. First time ever for that, I believe.)

Craig (I know the name from Facebook), you may have done this in the past, but shoot me an email at with your mailing address, and I'll see that you get your gift certificate, good for a large pizza with unlimited toppings, a dozen wings, and a 2-liter drink from Brandani's. Let me know if this makes you a thick-crust convert!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Morey's, Canandaigua

Morey's Pizza Subs on Urbanspoon

I thought I'd mostly covered the Canandaigua pizza scene until I ran across a reference to Morey's, which is on a side street and had thus far escaped my notice. So off I went, around dinnertime with my daughter.
I got a small (9") pepperoni pie, and my daughter got a sub (which she liked, as she usually does).
The medium-thick crust was pliable but on the crunchy side, with a pale golden-brown bottom. Morey's offers pizzas in several sizes, on up to sheets, which suggests that they make and stretch their own dough, but this wasn't a great crust. It may have been made from fresh, just-stretched dough, but it was more reminiscent of a frozen or parbaked crust.
As for the toppings, they were generously but not overly applied. The healthy dose of tomatoey sauce helped provide some liquid to the slightly dry crust.
The cheese, which seemed like straight mozzarella, was well melted and stringy, but slid off the crust quite easily, probably because of all the sauce underneath. It was slightly browned and was concentrated toward the center of the pie, leaving a strip of sauce between the cheese and the outer crust. The pepperoni was pretty basic, I had no complaints, but it was nothing out of the ordinary.
Despite its name, Morey's Pizza & Subs isn't just a pizza/sub shop. It's more like a diner that serves pizza. Or maybe it's a pizzeria that serves diner food.  The pizza is available in 9-, 12- and 16-inch sizes, plus 12"x16" sheets and "party" pizzas twice that size. A relatively modest ten toppings are available, and they do four specialty pizzas.
Morey's also does wings, hot and cold subs and sandwiches, and breakfast items until 11 a.m. I'd be happy to go back sometime for some of those, but I don't think I'd get the pizza again. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't particularly good. The crust just didn't do it for me, though it was redeemed, a little bit, by the ample tomato sauce and the nicely melted cheese.
I've been trying not to use pluses and minuses in my pizza grades, but I'll make an exception here. I can't say this was an average pizza for this area. It was a little worse than that. But it wasn't quite a "D," either, which means, it's really pretty bad but it's good enough to eat, once you've paid for it. This wasn't that bad. So I'll give it a C-minus. Next time at Morey's, though, it's a burger and fries for me.

Morey's Pizza & Subs
113 West Ave., Canandaigua, NY 14424
394-4410 or 394-4939

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

LocalEats Gift Cards

Full disclosure:  I have been compensated for this post, in that I have received the item being reviewed.
For some time now, I have been an affiliate of, which highlights, and provides a convenient way to find, some of the best restaurants in cities across the United States and around the world. At this point, their comprehensiveness varies from one city to another, but they're growing, fed in part by bloggers like me and by readers like you.
As part of their ongoing effort to make LocalEats better, they're now offering local gift cards. These can be used at any participating restaurant. For some cities, that means a lot of places to choose from, with the highest concentration in the South.
At the moment, the only Rochester restaurants that are participating in this program are the Tap & Mallet, the Tap & Table, and Mr. Dominic's at the Lake. But it's reasonable to think that the number will grow.
And what is especially good about this program is that the participating restaurants, around the country, have been recommended by locals. So if you, or a gift recipient, travel much, you can use this card with some assurance that you're going to a place where the locals go, not just to some tourist trap or generic restaurant. Nothing against national chains, but when I travel, I want local food. And LocalEats doesn't do national chains.
When I travel, then, I always seek out good local places. If you're the same way, or you know somebody who is, consider picking up a LocalEats gift card. They're available, in a number of conveniently-priced denominations, here.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Brandani's: Italian, family, tradition've been accused, from time to time, of having a bias against thick-crust pizza. That accusation stems from my admitted love of New York style pizza, as well as its culinary ancestor, Neapolitan style pizza.
But it's an unfair accusation, and to counter it, I often point out that one of my favorite pizzerias around here is Brandani's.
Not that Brandani's pizza is exceptionally thick - we're not talking deep-dish here - but it is on the thick side.
Brandani's quickly earned an "A" rating from me, though, shortly after I started this blog in 2009, and it's held that rating since. A large part of the reason for that is the crust. It can hold its own with any in this area - toasty, slightly charred, breadlike, aromatic and chewy.
So, having reviewed Brandani's on more than one occasion, it was high time that I learned more about the people behind the pizza. To that end, I recently sat down for a chat with Joe Cenzi, the proprietor of Brandani's. He filled me in on Brandani's background and his own love affair with pizza.
Brandani's history (much of which is also related on their website) starts with Frank and Pia Brandani, who immigrated here in 1961. Frank and Pia haled from the Abruzzi region of Italy, where Frank had been working as a baker, just like his father. After a few years here, the Brandanis opened a pizzeria in Irondequoit, which they operated for about a decade before deciding to return to their native country.
That stint back in Italy turned out to be relatively brief, however; in 1986, Frank and Pia returned to Rochester, and reopened their namesake pizzeria in its current location on West Henrietta Road.
In the late 1990s, Frank and Pia's son Romeo took over the reins of the business, and it was about that time that Joe got involved. Romeo carried out a major renovation of the interior of the pizzeria, and Joe,  then age 19, got involved in helping out through a friend who was related to the Brandanis.
At the time, Joe had no intention or idea that this would be the start of a long-term relationship. Little did he know.
Romeo eventually decided to return to his previous line of work, and Frank and Pia were back at the helm. Joe also left at around that time to pursue other interests.
But it wasn't a clean break. "Most everyone who worked here back then," Joe told me, "if they weren't family, they became family."
Including Joe. Even while he worked elsewhere, he maintained his connections with the Brandani family and their pizzeria, filling in once in a while when they were shorthanded. "Once you were part of the family," Joe says, "you were part of the family forever."
Finally, though, Frank and Pia decided to retire. Well, sort of. At least they wanted to get away from the day-to-day operation of the pizzeria.
Fortuitously, at about that time Joe was also looking to leave his then-job, and it didn't take any twisted arms before he'd become the new proprietor of Brandani's.
Since assuming ownership of Brandani's about nine years ago, Joe has made a few changes; he's added delivery, has done some advertising (Frank and Pia relied strictly on word of mouth, which alone is a testament to their pizza), and has expanded the menu a little.
But in its essentials, Brandani's pizza remains the same. The dough recipe is unchanged, and is a closely guarded secret, being known only by Joe, his father (who has had some involvement in the business), and the Brandanis.
Brandani's has always offered a wide variety of toppings, not just as options on a made-to-order pie, but on slices as well. Their lunchtime selection is among the widest in the area, and the slices I've gotten have always been fresh. Joe has added a few new ones since taking over; a current big seller is the sweet and sour chicken. That's not one I would ordinarily gravitate to, but I think I'd better try it out.
One respect in which Brandani's stands out from the crowd is that it offers ice cream and gelato. That too, started with Frank and Pia Brandani. I had a vague understanding of the difference between gelato and ice cream, but Joe explained that gelato is typically denser, and contains less fat, than ice cream, being made from milk rather than cream. With pizza as good as Brandani's, I would have to make a conscious effort to save room for either gelato or ice cream, but I should make it a point to do so sometime.
Near the end of my conversation with Joe, we returned to the subject of family and his personal connection to the pizza business. As a third- or fourth-generation Italian American, Joe didn't eat pizza any more often than the average American kid while he was growing up. But it's clearly in his blood now. He told me that he eats Brandani's pizza every day, and of that I have no doubt.
As far as the job goes, it's certainly a lot of work, but worth it. Joe gets in early and works long hours, which I'm sure is typical of pizzeria owners. With rare exceptions, he and only he makes the dough daily.
When Joe can't make it into the shop - a rare event, I think - Frank Brandani, now in his late 70s, will still come in to oversee operations. In fact, even when Joe is there, Frank comes in on a regular basis, to make use of Brandani's ovens for his homemade bread. Clearly that man was born to bake.
Joe doesn't see himself staying in the business as long as Frank, but he can envision it being passed on to one or more of his four (soon to be five) children. He frequently brings them into Brandani's, even on Christmas, for some pizza or other treats.
Will we see any new Brandani's locations in the future? Perhaps. An earlier planned expansion into Churchville fell through, and while Joe is open to the idea, it would have to be a good fit, in the right circumstances. With a growing family to attend to, and already working long hours, he's not particularly interested in adding a great deal of stress to his life. I can sympathize with that.
What I do know is that we can expect Brandani's to continue serving some of Rochester's best pizza. That's owing both to its great tradition and to Joe's ongoing commitment to pizza and the pizza business. I asked him if he thought that, given Frank's continuing involvement with the pizzeria, the business might keep him young too. He wasn't so sure about that, saying that at times, "it ages you pretty quick." But at the very least, it's not dull or boring; Joe told me that "a day never goes as planned here," what with equipment malfunctions, delivery problems, and other day-to-day crises.
Which is not to say that Joe's gotten burned out or tired of the business. While he may or may not be stretching pizza dough into his 70s, for now at least, Joe has an obvious and continuing dedication to what he does. "You've got to be passionate about what you do," he told me. "If you lose that, you're done."

Brandani's Pizza, 2595 West Henrietta Rd.,Rochester, NY 14623

NOTE:  In conjunction with this post, Joe Cenzi has agreed to give away to one lucky reader a gift certificate good for a large pizza with unlimited toppings, a dozen wings, and a 2-liter bottle of pop. See the accompanying post to enter.

Brandani's Giveaway!

In conjunction with my post spotlighting Brandani's Pizzeria, owner Joe Cenzi has graciously agreed to give away to one lucky reader of this blog a gift certificate, good for one large pizza with unlimited toppings, a dozen wings, and a 2-liter bottle of pop.

To enter to win, simply leave a comment at the end of THIS blog post (not the post about Brandani's). I will pick a winner one week from today, Friday, December 13, shortly after noon. The winner will be picked at random.

If you win, I will need some contact information, so I need at least an email address, and at some point a postal mailing address. That can wait until the contest is over, but do not leave an anonymous comment; there must be some identifying information, even if it's just a user name. And I won't share your personal information with anyone, other than Brandani's. If you want to identify yourself now, so I know which comment is yours in case you win, email me at

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Aunt Rosie's, Downtown Rochester

I don't always stop into pizzerias shortly after they've opened, because sometimes they need some time to get their act together. But I was eager to check out Aunt Rosie's, which opened in November on East Main Street in downtown Rochester.
Aunt Rosie's offers brick-oven pizza, antipasto, pasta, hot and cold sandwiches, and desserts. Of course, I was there for one thing only.
When I stopped in, a little before noon, there were two sliced pies available, cheese and pepperoni. I got two pepperoni slices, to go. Had I been there with companions, I would've eaten on the premises, which are attractive, with large windows and a contemporary, comfortable feel.
My slices were quite thin, with a nice-looking spinkling of cup-and-char pepperoni on top. The underside was very blackened, with a crackled, blistered surface and a very noticeable toasted-bread aroma. The crust wasn't quite burnt, but it came right up to the line.
This was a crust that might divide people. It was a shade too blackened for my taste, but with a thin crust, I'd rather err on the side of over-, rather than under-done. So I didn't mind, much.
The crust was a little dry, and was firm but supple; it wasn't brittle, and could be folded without breaking. All in all, I liked it.
The other components were good and in balance with the crust. The cheese had a smooth texture, if not a lot of flavor; it seemed to me to be entirely composed of aged mozzarella. Similarly, the tomato sauce was straightforward in flavor but was applied in good proportion, just enough to add some moisture and acidity. And the pepperoni slices were nicely crisped along the edge. No one topping stood out from the rest, which is the sign of a well-balanced pizza.
The obvious emphasis here was the crust. Each bite brought with it that marked flavor and aroma of dark-toasted bread. It seemed like a ramped-up version of New York style pizza, which is typically thin and charred underneath.
This was good pizza, in my opinion, though whether you would like it depends on your taste in pizza. It brought to mind, though, some food trends in this country toward extremism. For example, "killer" hot sauces, mouth-puckeringly bitter beers, and the like. Whatever your opinions about those, extremism generally doesn't work with pizza, at least as far as the crust goes. "Artisanal" pizza is a trend these days, and a charred crust is associated with artisanal pizza. I like a well-charred crust as much as the next guy, but this came close to being simply burnt. It's a fine line, but this came close to the line.
Close, but not quite there. Good pizza, overall, and worth a stop, for sure. Since Aunt Rosie's just opened, I won't give it a grade, but I'll be back. But consider it if you're downtown. And do check out their Facebook page for daily specials.
Aunt Rosie's, 350 E. Main St.
Mon. - Fri. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Our Winner Is ...

RGL! RGL, please send me an email at with your name and mailing address and you'll be getting a gift certificate from 2 Ton Tony's, good for a one-topping sheet pizza and 30 wings.

Thanks to everyone who participated and keep watching for more giveaways soon! And thanks to Tony Proietti for this generous donation.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Product Review: Pretzel Perfection

Writing this blog is by no means a for-profit endeavor, but one perk is that from time to time I get offered free samples of food products. So even if they're not directly pizza-related, if they sound like they might be good, I typically accept them.
They're not all great, but I haven't yet run across a true clunker. If I did, I simply wouldn't review it. I'm not going to accept something for free and then bad-mouth it.
But this last one was good. Really good.
I got two, all-too-small samples last week from Pretzel Perfection®. The samples I received were the Salted Caramel and the Pacific Trail clusters.
The Salted Caramel clusters are pretzel sticks bound together by a mix of caramel, sea salt and dark chocolate. The Pacific Trail recipe contains dark chocolate, cranberries, blueberries, currants, cashews and sunflower seeds.
In my family, I preferred the Salted Caramel, my daughter liked the Pacific Trail better, and my wife was equally fond of both. But we liked all three.
I like sweets, but I also like salt, and although I'm not always big on certain combinations, these worked for me. The salt paired very well with the dark chocolate, and these didn't feel overly indulgent or filling.
I liked the Pacific Trail mix too, but just not as much. My daughter liked them better, I think, because she doesn't care so much for salty foods, which is probably a good thing. But imagine trail mix with pretzels and chocolate thrown into the mix and you'll have a good idea of what it's like.
One nice thing that surprised my is that Pretzel Perfection® Clusters, like all their products, are gluten free. That doesn't matter to me, personally (I do review pizza, after all) but I have a friend who genuinely cannot tolerate gluten, so I know how serious an issue gluten is for some people. I'm glad to run across truly good products that are free of gluten, and these were very good. These pretzels are made with a variety of non-wheat-based starches, and I didn't miss the wheat at all.
Check out Pretzel Perfection's website for more information about their products, including some holiday pretzel clusters. At this point, I don't believe these are available locally, but you can purchase them from their website, and on Amazon. Unless you're buying a large quantity, the shipping costs can be daunting, but for those with gluten issues, you may want to order a bunch. And I hope they start to show up in local grocery stores.

Friday, November 22, 2013

2 Ton Tony's Giveaway - FREE sheet pizza and 30 wings!

Tony Proietti, the proprietor of 2 Ton Tony's, has graciously agreed to donate a gift certificate good for a one-topping sheet pizza and 30 wings, to be given away to one lucky reader. This will be good at either the Irondequoit or Spencerport location.

To enter to win, simply leave a comment, any comment, at the end of THIS blog post (not the accompanying story or my Facebook page). One week from today, November 29, I will choose a winner at random. A nice post-Thanksgiving gift for somebody!

You don't need to leave your full name or mailing address, but if you win, I will need to be able to identify you as the winner, and to make sure the gift certificate gets to you, so you must include some identifying information in your comment--an email address, registered screen name, etc. If you don't want to post that kind of information for all to see, then email me at Anonymous comments will not be accepted, and multiple comments will not increase your chances of winning.

Tony Proietti: A Life in Pizza, Part I

At the end of my recent conversation with Tony Proietti, the proprietor of 2 Ton Tony's Pizza, I realized one thing:  an hour with Tony is not enough. After talking pizza for sixty-plus minutes, we'd barely scratched the surface of all his memories, knowledge and opinions about pizza.
That's how it is, I guess, when you've spent your life in the pizza business. Tony grew up hanging around the original Proietti's pizzeria and bar on Goodman
Street in Rochester. That, I think it's fair to say, was one of the seminal pizzerias in Rochester, started by Italian native Olando Ozzimo some years earlier.
Tony's childhood memories include singing along for patrons with the jukebox, which earned him some nice tips on occasion.
Tony's singing skills are no longer in evidence, that I've witnessed, but as a child he also learned, from his grandfather, the craft of making pizza. And those skills he still uses daily.
The original Proietti's pizzeria is no longer around, sad to say. Tony described it as an extended family, and it sounds as if it was a true neighborhood institution. I wish that I had experienced it.
The good news, though, is that the Proietti's pizza legacy lives on. Based on the skills and recipe he learned from his grandfather, Tony now runs two pizzerias, in Irondequoit (where I spoke with him) and Spencerport. His uncle "Whitey" also owns and operates Proietti's restaurant in Webster, which also serves pizza based on the family recipe.
While they may lack the atmosphere of the original, these places carry on the Proietti's pizza tradition. And one of the most fascinating things in talking with Tony was listening to him share his encyclopedic knowledge of Rochester pizza history. Tony gave me a quick lesson, starting with the progenitors of Rochester pizza, and running through a succession of heirs, which he rattled off in bewilderingly quick fashion.
Tony and I both agreed that it would be a worthwhile project to create a Rochester pizza family tree, because so many of today's local pizzerias can trace back their roots to just a few forebears, or what Tony colorfully but aptly described as local pizza "tribes." I would like to do that, at some point, if I can find the time. Right now, that's way beyond the scope of this interview. But I hope I can find the time and motivation to do it. It would take some effort, albeit enjoyable effort, mostly involving sitting down for some hours with guys like Tony, his uncle Whitey, and a handful of other pizzeria proprietors.
When I asked Tony about "Ozzie" Ozzimo (is that a great name, or what?) he told me that Ozzie was from Sicily. I mentioned that many of the founders of Rochester's current, and best, pizzerias seemed to come from Sicily, and he agreed. Tony also made the point that what I've called the "Rochester style" of pizza traces its roots to Sicily. Old-school pizza in Rochester tends to have two significant characteristics:  on the thick side, with that distinctive square cut. Both of those come from the Sicilian tradition, married to American tastes for a round pie covered in mozzarella.
As for Tony, he sticks with tradition, but he's open to change. Everything is still made in-house, the way that his grandfather taught him, right down to straining out the tomatoes to create a smooth sauce. Tony's grandfather used an electric drill, believe it or not, but Tony's improved on that by utilizing an electric paint mixer, which, it turns out, is perfectly adapted to removing tomato skins and other bits from the sauce.
Interestingly to me, Tony also incorporates margarine into his dough. That too, goes back to his grandfather, and it strikes me as a distinctively American take on an Italian tradition. Some doughs are as basic as they get - flour, salt, yeast and water - but oil is also a longstanding ingredient in a lot of pizza doughs, especially pan pizzas and those using high-gluten flour. Oil, or fat of some kind, makes the dough easier to handle, adds flavor and richness, and gives a pan-baked dough a golden-brown sheen. That's exactly why my mother - who learned from my Polish grandmother - would add butter or margarine to her homemade bread dough.
In Italy, of course, olive oil would be the most common choice. But margarine (which is essentially vegetable oil in solid form) serves the same purpose, and it does not surprise me that Italian immigrants would have chosen it, as it was probably more readily available to them, decades ago.
As we discussed what goes into pizza, Tony did express a bit of, I would almost say disappointment rather than disdain, for some other local places that have dough shipped in from elsewhere, or that open a can of tomato sauce, throw in a little oregano, and call it homemade. Once again, this goes to his dedication to his craft, his pride in his product, and his commitment to tradition.
But again, Tony's not one to stand still. Both his Irondequoit and Spencerport shops are located in hotbeds of pizza competition, and he wouldn't have succeeded as well as he has by being stuck in neutral. As one example, he's changed cheese suppliers more than once, not to switch to a less expensive cheese, but to a better cheese. His current choice is Grande cheese, which is one of the best around. And a recent addition to the menu is gluten-free pizza, which is more than just a trend, as those with gluten sensitivity can attest to..
Tony's one regret about his career is that for a while, he got out of the pizza business. He spent some years in a series of jobs, although he was never far from the pizza business in one way or another, even if it was just as an unpaid consultant for friends. After a brief stint in Fairport, he opened his current shop in Irondequoit in 2010, followed by his Spencerport store.
The future may see more 2 Ton Tony's locations, though there's nothing specific on the drawing board. If that happens, Tony will have to spend a little less time at each location - there are only so many hours in a week. But I'm pretty sure he won't just hand it off to any old body. Tony assured me that if and when he expands, he'll have people in place whom he can count on to do a good job in doing honor to the Proietti family tradition. And with his upcoming wedding (followed by a honeymoon in NYC that includes a visit to Lombardi's), that's a good thing. Tony's fiancee Kathy, whom I had the pleasure to meet, has apparently been very supportive and understanding in regard to the pizza business, but family should always come first.
In the near future, I'm looking forward to Tony's Christmas Eve luncheon for his customers. This event, which I've written about before, is another Proietti's tradition that he's carried on. It's indicative of the great family legacy that he's building on.
I'm calling this post "Part I," not because there's an immediate Part II, but because there surely will be. As I said at the outset, an hour talking pizza with Tony Proietti is simply not enough, and we've already got more subjects to discuss, from wood-fired pizza to sheet pizza and more. In the meantime, Tony, enjoy your wedding and honeymoon.

NOTE:  in conjunction with this story, Tony has graciously agreed to give away a gift certificate good for a one-topping sheet pizza and 30 chicken wings. Please see the accompanying post to enter.

2 Ton Tony's Pizza

Mon - Thu: 11:00 am - 9:00 pm
Fri - Sat: 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Sun: 12:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Irondequoit location:
545 Titus Ave.
(same building as the DMV)

Spencerport location:
42 Nichols Street
(route 31 behind McDonalds)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

SUNY College at Brockport

I've done some posts on pizza at local colleges, including the University of Rochester, Nazareth, and RIT.
I haven't seen any indication that St. John Fisher has pizza on a regular basis that's available to non-residents, so that's not on my radar screen. But the last local college I wanted to check out is SUNY Brockport.
So far, my college pizza tour has been disappointing. None have had any pizza as good as a local prep school, McQuaid Jesuit. Would I finally strike gold at Brockport?
In a word, no.
I started off at TRAX,which according to the Brockport website is "[l]ocated on the ground floor of Harrison Hall, [and] features made-to-order subs, fresh dough pizza, and Buffalo-style chicken wings. TRAX is the most popular retail operation on campus."
Most popular? Surely not for the pizza. From the three pizzas available (one of which was a cheese pie that was clearly past its prime) I chose a pepperoni slice and a specialty, Mediterranean slice. The pies were cut into very narrow slices -- sixteen to a pie, I believe. And they sell for $2.30 to $2.50 a slice. I thought you were supposed to pay less at a state school. Maybe that's just for tuition. Kind of like air fares:  you get a seemingly good deal up front, but then they nickel-and-dime you on everything else, whether it's your carry-on bag or the food.
And both slices were bad, frankly. The crust was soft and oily, and the dried-out gyro-type meat on the specialty slice did it no favors. The cheese was, well, adequate, and the sauce on the pepperoni slice had gone MIA.
Sometimes as I'm eating a slice of pizza, a word pops into mind. This time it was "horrid." I don't mean to slam them unnecessarily, but that word literally came to me as I was eating these. And I didn't finish them. The best advice I can give about TRAX is to make tracks from there, quickly.
My next stop was Carmen's at Union Square in the Seymour College Union. I got a Margherita slice.
I guess it met that description, generally. It was topped with cheese, diced tomatoes and shredded basil, which qualifies it as a Margherita. But it, too, was a disappointment.
Again, the crust was soft, and more pale than the slices I got at TRAX. It wasn't greasy, just soft and unenjoyable. Even the edge, which sometimes can salvage an otherwise bad slice, was soft and chewy. It had the texture of a leftover pizza slice that's been reheated in a microwave. Maybe some people like it that way. I don't.
The toppings were OK at best. A thick but small area of melted mozzarella was topped with some shreds of basil and a few chunks of diced tomato. There wasn't much flavor to speak of in any of it.
Fortunately for Brockport students, there are several better places in town. As with a lot of college towns, Brockport is home to a bunch of pizzerias, including Main Street, Perri's, Avanti, Mark's, Cordello's and Marvin Mozzeroni's. I'm not going to rank them here, but I'd take any of them over these on-campus places.
With good reason, colleges have tried in recent years to boost their food offerings. It's kind of like airlines. People may not choose an airline, or a college, based on the food, but it's a definite plus to serve better food. And among foods that college students don't prepare for themselves (in other words, not including ramen or box mac 'n' cheese), pizza has to rank near or at the top.
If I were a Brockport student or employee, I wouldn't be eating the pizza at either TRAX or Carmen's. There may be good food at Brockport, but this wasn't it. These get a D.
Harrison Hall, ground floor
Noon - 1 a.m. daily

Seymour College Union
Mon. - Thu. 7:30 a.m. - 6 p.m., Fri. 7:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Friday, November 15, 2013

And the Winner Is ...

Stacy J., who has won a cinnamon box from World Vision Gift Catalog! Stacy, I've sent you an email on collecting your prize, which will be mailed directly to you from World Vision.

Thanks to everyone for participating and look for pizza-related giveaways soon! And don't forget to consider World Vision Gift Catalog for your holiday giving.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ficarella's, Le Roy

Ficarella's Pizzeria of Leroy on Urbanspoon
NOTE: Ficarella's in Le Roy is now Pastore's.
In January 2011, I did a post on two places in Batavia, one of which was Ficarella's. I gave it a C for a slice that had some good and some not-so-good points.
Recently I tried Ficarella's Le Roy location. I again got a pepperoni slice.
And it was not bad; better than the one I got in Batavia. It had a decent crust, medium thick, with some light charring underneath. There was also a bit of corn meal on the underside. The slice was reasonably crisp, and cracked a bit on the surface when I folded the slice.
The edge was relatively thick and bready, with a pleasantly chewy "crumb." It was also marked by some odd creases on one side, which you can see in the top photo. I have no idea what those were, but they didn't affect the overall enjoyability of the slice.
I liked the flavor. The slice was well balanced, with a moderate layer of medium-flavored sauce and melted mozzarella. Nothing outstanding there, but they did the job. The thin slices of pepperoni were just crisp along the edges, pretty generously laid on, and oily enough for flavor but not overly greasy.
Ficarella's has a standard but extensive menu, with pizza, wings, subs, wraps, fish fry, pasta and sides. They do regular and deep-dish pizza, with six specialty pizzas, including a "loaded fry pie" topped with ranch dressing, french fries, bacon bits, and mozzarella and cheddar cheeses. That one's not for me, but it sounds interesting.
We're just talking about one visit to each location, but based on these, I liked the pizza a little better at the Caledonia Ficarella's, as compared with the Batavia shop. I'll give this one a B.
Ficarella's, 110 W. Main St., Le Roy
Mon. - Thu. 11 a.m. - 11 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 11 a.m. - midnight, Sun. noon - 11 p.m.
Delivering to Le Roy, Stafford, and parts of Pavilion, Bergen and Caledonia

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

GIVEAWAY from World Vision Gift Catalog

With the holiday season approaching, now's a good time to consider the World Vision Gift Catalog as a source for your gift-giving. Not only can you choose some truly unique, meaningful gifts for your loved ones, but your gift will benefit people in need around the globe.
Here are some suggestions from World Vision on how to make  your holiday season more meaningful: 
  • Organize a family giving night and have kids select charitable gifts from an organization such as the World Vision Gift Catalog. Talk with your children about how giving back changes lives of children and families living in poverty and that their efforts truly make a difference.

  • Host a house party for friends and family and ask your guests to contribute to a share of a group gift such as a farm animal, winter clothing or school supplies to families in need, or even a water well. Make the selection of the item, how to raise funds for that gift, and the collection of the money a collaborative, group effort.

  • After Black Friday and Cyber Monday holiday shopping, consider celebrating Giving Tuesday (12/3) and make meaningful, life-changing gift purchases such as medicine, mosquito nets or a fish pond.

  • Be active in your giving -- volunteer at your local homeless shelter or senior living center; cook a meal or bake cookies for an elderly family member or neighbor.
Whether you choose to shop from World Vision or not, I have a giveaway to offer. This box of cinnamon is carved from cinnamon bark, and contains three ounces of Vietnamese cinnamon, which is generally considered the best in the world. The lid bears an Asian symbol for prosperity.

To win, simply leave a comment at the end of this blog post. I'll select a winner at random this Friday, November 15, shortly after noon. I will need your mailing address if you win. And win or not, please take a look at the catalog and consider it as a source for your gift-giving.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Product Review: Apothic Dark Wine

I recently accepted a review bottle of "Apothic Dark," the latest selection from Apothic Wines of California. This is a very enjoyable, affordable (roughly $14) red wine that is very enjoyable on its own or paired with food.
According to the PR release, "this seasonal wine blends dark fruit flavors of blueberry and blackberry with opulent notes of coffee and dark chocolate for a rich, yet silky smooth finish."
That's not a bad description. This wine, which is fermented from a blend of varietals, is full-bodied, fruity but not overly sweet, and has a depth of flavor that would make it a good companion with meat-based dishes or dessert. I'm not a big dessert guy, but I can see this paired with chocolate very well. As for me, this would make a nice accompaniment, and finish, to a steak dinner.
For more information, go to

Monday, November 4, 2013

Little Sicily, Attica

My recent wanderings took me by the village of Attica, in Wyoming County, so I thought I'd see what sort of pizza I could find down that way.
I made two stops, the first of which was at Little Sicily Pizzeria. The name sounded promising, but the promise went largely unfulfilled.
I got a pepperoni slice. It was thin, and the underside was somewhat charred and crackled, overall a dark brown with a light dusting of corn meal.
So far, so good. But it was floppy. You can see for yourself from the photo. Maybe the slice I got had just sat around for too long, but this was not a good sign.
The toppings didn't help much. The cheese was of the type that doesn't so much melt as crumble. In other words, it separates into oil and solids. The point is, it wasn't very good cheese.
The pepperoni was OK, at least what there was of it. Four "cup and char" slices, nice and crisp, but more would've helped.
Little Sicily's website says that their "homemade sauce ... sets Little Sicily Pizzeria apart from its competitors." Maybe so, but there wasn't much of it on this slice, nor did it add considerably to the slice. The sauce was thin and provided little more than color.
When I had worked my way to the outer edge, or cornicione, things got better. The edge had a nice, breadlike quality, with a good balance of chewiness and outer crispness.
Little Sicily's website shows some very attractive pizzas. I'd love to try some of them. And maybe this is a place to go for a whole pie, not a slice. But this slice was not so good. I may give it another shot, sometime, and this is a bit far afield for my geographical scope, so I won't give it a grade. But this one slice, at least, wasn't very good.
Little Sicily Pizzeria, 121 Prospect St., Attica
(585) 708-5093
Mon. - Sat.11 a.m. - 11 p.m., Sun. noon - 8 p.m.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Product Review: Aunt Nellie's Beets

Know what's hot right now in the food world? Beets. That's right, beets.
Perhaps like me you were fed beets as a kid, and hated them. But they're on the culinary upswing these days, with top chefs finding all sorts of ways to use them.
And truth be told, my tastes have grown up. I cook with beets myself now and then. So I agreed to receive a sample of Aunt Nellie's canned beets.
Even before I tasted them, I noticed that these come from Marion, NY, only about a half hour's drive from Rochester. So that was cool.
I got two samples, of simple canned beets and pickled beets. The former had a remarkably mild flavor, sweet but not cloying, and a firm texture.
The pickled beets were much closer to what I remember disliking as a kid. But as I said, my tastes have changed.
There is something both weird and intriguing about pickling a naturally sweet vegetable, especially one with as distinctive a flavor as beets. These had the same firm texture as the canned beets, but with a balance of sweet and vinegary and ... well, beety.
One nice thing about Aunt Nellie's beets is that they come packed in glass jars, so you don't get that canned aluminum taste, nor do you have to worry about the chemical linings that go into some metal cans. And while you can eat them straight up, Aunt Nellie's beets can also be used in many recipes, which you can find on their website or on your favorite recipe site.
Keep an eye out for Aunt Nellie's beets. Right now you can find them at Walmart, but I suspect you'll be seeing them on more store shelves in the near future.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Good Fellow's, Culver Rd.

A helpful reader recently alerted me to new place, Good Fellow's on Culver Road, near Parsells. I stopped in for a couple of cheese slices last month.
They looked pretty good, with a thin crust, narrow lip and a thin but proportional layer of sauce and cheese.
From their outward appearance, I would've thought that these were New York style slices. A peek underneath, though, showed otherwise. The underside was docked, i.e., pockmarked with holes (not a problem in itself), and ranged from deep to very dark brown. It was soft, and smelled of cooking oil.
Nor did things get much better when I took a bite. The crust was lifeless, with little evidence of rising, and chewy but uninteresting. The sauce was OK but basic, like an average canned sauce. The cheese was likewise serviceable, but covered in spots with a thin layer of orange-colored oil that had exuded during the baking process. Like the sauce, it wasn't bad, but it didn't do anything to elevate this slice or compensate for the poor crust.
This is a short review, but that's about all there is to say about this pizza. It wasn't that good, and it wasn't as good as it looked. I had the feeling that there was a good pizza lurking in there somewhere, if it had been prepared a little differently, but as it was, this was just a thinner version of the pizza that you tend to find at a lot of quick, inexpensive places. The crust needs work.
I'll refrain from grading this one, since this is a pretty new place. Maybe things will get better. But this was a below-average slice of pizza.
Good Fellows Pizza & Deli, Culver Road, Rochester
1157 Culver Road
Rochester, New York 14609
(585) 482-1977
Hours unknown at this time

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Amore (Wegmans East Avenue)

When I first read about Wegmans opening an Italian restaurant, offering pizza, adjoining their revamped East Avenue store, I was both intrigued and skeptical. Wegmans gets a lot of things right, but I'm not sold on them where full-fledged restaurants - or pizza - are concerned.
But I did want to check out Amore, the Italian restaurant attached to the remodeled East Avenue store. You can read about the details of the pizza, and the oven it's baked in, here. As I said, I took a wait-and-see attitude.
I went for lunch with two friends, which gave me the opportunity to try three pizzas. I went with my usual Margherita. One of my companions got a diavolo, and the other ordered a butternut squash pizza topped with shaved Brussels sprouts and roasted leeks.
Each pizza measures eleven inches across, making it about right for one hungry person, or just enough to take a slice or two home with you. The crust on all three was quite thin; not paper-thin, but thin. Think of several sheets of paper.
My Margherita was generally good The underside of the crust had a few char spots, and was reasonably crisp. I'll get to the toppings in a moment.
My friend with the butternut squash pie complained that her crust was not good, and at first I assumed it was just a matter of personal taste. Then I tried a slice. It was heavily coated underneath with flour, giving the underside a pasty texture and a flavor of raw flour. It's common to find some flour on the underside of a pizza, as it helps keep the raw dough from sticking to the pizza peel. But this was too much.The crust was also very blackened - burnt, in fact - along part of the edge.
The diavolo, topped with sopressata and roasted peppers, had a decent crust, similar to the Margherita's, and we all agreed that it was the best pie overall of the bunch. The combination of peppery sopressata, sweet roasted peppers and melted mozzarella made a very nice combination. Despite the name, it wasn't especially spicy, but it did have a little bit of kick. It also came with a small cup of hot oil for dipping, something I hadn't seen before. I tried it, but it didn't seem to me to add a whole lot to the experience.
As for the other pies' toppings, the Margherita wasn't bad. It was topped with a basic tomato sauce, scattered dollops of melted, fresh mozzarella, and torn basil, which were added after cooking. It was rather salty but tasty, and I liked it, even if the components didn't quite come together like the best Margheritas I've had.
The butternut squash pie was likewise not bad, but not quite as good as I'd hoped. It's usually unwise to have preconceptions, but I was expecting something along the lines of the butternut squash pizza that I had at Fiamma. That pie was topped with a squash puree, which made for a nice sauce.
This pie, on the other hand, was topped which chunks and bits of roasted vegetables, including diced butternut squash. They tasted good enough, but overall I found the pie rather dry.
The opinions expressed here are mine alone, of course, but one nice thing about sharing pizza with people is getting their input. And on this occasion all three of us agreed that if we were to rank these pies from best to worst, it would be:  (1) diavolo; (2) Margherita; and (3) butternut squash. I'm not going to grade them individually, because part of the issue with these pies was the crust, which can vary from one pizza to another. In other words, just because the crust on the butternut squash pizza wasn't so good doesn't mean that Amore's butternut squash pizza has a particular problem with the crust; the problem is not with that variety, it's a problem with consistency.
I'm giving these a C. There were some issues, as I've described. Overall this was pizza worth trying, and there were things I liked about it, but it wasn't great, and at $12 for an 11-inch pie, I expect a little better. A C just seems right to me.
Amore, 1750 East Ave., 14610
(585) 452-8780
11:30AM - 2:30PM, Sunday - Saturday
5:30PM - 9PM, Sunday - Thursday
5:30PM - 10PM, Friday & Saturday

Friday, October 18, 2013

Papa Roni's, Pavilion

PapaRoni's on Urbanspoon
During the course of my travels, I recently ran across a pizzeria in Pavilion, which is on Rt. 19 a few miles south of Le Roy.
Papa Roni's is at the corner of Routes 19 and 63.
I'd link to the website, but my computer is warning me that it "may harm [my] computer," so if you want to risk it, just do a web search. Here's a link to their Facebook page.
From the looks of it, I thought it might be one of these convenience-store operations, with just some prefab pizza sitting on a warming tray, but no, it is a "real" pizzeria, with hand-stretched dough and handmade pies.
Alas, my pepperoni slice wasn't so great. The crust was thin, with a medium-brown underside that was crisscrossed by screen marks. It had a rather soft surface and a chewy, uninteresting texture.
The pie from which it came seemed reasonably fresh, but a tad overdone on top. The cheese was rather browned, and not very smooth; a bit too chewy for my taste. Underneath it lay a moderate layer of basic tomatoey sauce, and up top, the thin-sliced pepperoni was nicely distributed and a little crisp. The toppings weren't bad, then, but didn't really do much to improve on the crust.
On the plus side, the pie was well made, in the sense that it was evenly thin, with a thin lip and, as mentioned, evenly distributed toppings. It just didn't add up to a particularly good slice of pizza.
Papa Roni's also does wings, subs, and ice cream.  There are a few specialty pizzas as well.
I like independent pizzerias, and every small town should have one. But I have to be honest. This pizza was OK, but below average, and so it gets a D from me.

Papa Roni's, 11090 Lake St., Pavilion, NY 14525
Phone:(585) 584-3170
10 a.m. - 10 p.m. daily, till 11 p.m. on Fri. and Sat.