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Friday, April 24, 2015

T.C. Hooligans Giveaway

Thanks to the generosity of the folks at TC Hooligans in Greece, I've got a $25 gift card to give away to a lucky reader.
My daughter and I shared a couple of pizzas at Hooligans recently, and I came away impressed. Their menu prominently features wood-fired pizza, and they do a very nice job.
I got my usual Margherita, which Hooligans tops with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, shredded basil, olive oil and garlic, while my daughter got her usual meat lovers (mozzarella and red sauce, bacon, pepperoni, ham and sausage). (Check out their other pizza offerings here.)

We sat at the bar, where we were able to watch our pizzas being prepared. The (gas-assisted) oven was blazing away with a hardwood fire, registering about 700 degrees F.

The results were good indeed. The crusts on both our pies were thin, crisp but pliable, with some charring underneath and along the edges. The toppings were tasty and well baked. All in all, they made effective use of their oven, to achieve pizza that was evenly charred, neither pale nor burned, and crisp but still bready.

Hooligans' menu is extensive, and includes, beyond pizza, wings, "hand pressed" burgers, sandwiches, wraps, salads, and a range of sides and specialties, including "pickles and peppers" (fried pickle chips and banana pepper rings, served with cajun ranch dipping sauce) and mac 'n' cheese. My daughter doesn't yet have quite the tolerance for heat that I do, so we enjoyed a side of fries, which were nice and crisp.

As I said, we sat at the bar, right in front of the pizza oven. There's a separate dining area, but at dinner time on this evening, I had no problem sitting at the bar with my daughter. I don't know how things are later in the night, but the atmosphere was lively but civilized.

I'd go back, maybe to check out some of the other items on the menu. Those pickles and peppers sound very intriguing. But I'd also like to explore the pizza menu a little further. Based on this visit, they're doing a good job.

Why not see for yourself, on the house, to the tune of $25? To enter to win, simply email me at, before noon next Friday, May 1. I will announce the winner here, on Facebook and Twitter, and directly by email. I will not use your email address for any other purposes. If you win, I will need your full name and mailing address.

The $25 gift card is good toward anything on TC Hooligans' menu, so you need not use it on pizza, but I highly recommend that you do. My thanks again to TC Hooligans for their generosity!

TC Hooligans, 134 Greece Ridge Center Drive (at Greece Ridge Mall)


Mon. - Sat. 11 a.m. - 2 a.m., Sun. noon - 2 a.m.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Five 50º, Dewey Ave.

Over the course of writing this blog, I've written a few posts about Checker Flag, a now-defunct pizzeria at 1481 Dewey Avenue in Rochester, at the corner of Ridgeway. Checker Flag was best known for its dollar slices, which weren't bad, for the price.
Now comes Five50º, named, I assume, after the oven temperature. As the full name -- Five50º Pizza and Chicken -- implies, it's not just, or even primarily, a pizzeria. Five50º serves a range of items, many of them fried.
There's nothing particularly remarkable about Five50º, but it gives me occasion to say a few words about - what shall I call them? - inner-city pizzerias.
This particular neighborhood is on the lower end of the income scale. And I've learned through experience that the pizza in economically poorer neighborhoods tends not to be as good as in more affluent areas. Its main virtues are that it's fast, cheap and hot. 
Having said all that, the slice I got recently at Five50º was not bad. It wasn't great, but it wasn't bad.
Just inside the front door is a heated display case, containing an array of items to go, many of which consisted of fried chicken parts, of one sort or another. And pizza, available by the slice.
I got a pepperoni slice. It was reasonably good, and for two bucks, I had no major complaints. The crust was thin-to-medium thick, and while the bottom was more brown than charred, it was firm, and wasn't oily or soggy. The well-formed edge was reasonably bready, and not just a throwaway "pizza bone."
As a whole, the slice was decent, with a blanket of well-melted, gooey cheese, a proportionate layer of slightly sweet tomato sauce, and thin-sliced pepperoni. All in all, it was one of the better-made examples of the kind of pizza you get at these to-go places. I don't mean to damn it with faint praise, but it was a reasonably good slice.
As I said, Five50º offers a range of items. Pizza comes in medium, large and sheet sizes, either red or white. They have seven meat toppings and seven vegetable toppings. They also do calzones, burgers, wings (seven sauces), hot and cold subs, fried chicken, and a few sides, as well as freshly baked cookies, and cheesecake.
As far as a rating's concerned, I think it's fair to say that this slice was, overall, of average quality. Nothing I'd go out of my way for, but it was OK, with a well-baked crust, nicely melted cheese, rounded out by a proportionate layer of sauce and decent pepperoni. So I'll give it a C.

Five50º Pizza and Chicken, 1481 Dewey Ave. (at Ridgeway)
254-2550, 254-2522

Mon. - Thu. 11 a.m. - 11 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 11 a.m. - midnight, Sun. 1 p.m. - 9 p.m.