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Friday, May 26, 2017

Papa G's, Penfield

I saw an ad recently for a new pizzeria, Papa G’s, on Linden Avenue in Penfield. The site has been home to several pizza places over the years, including Bonafede’s and Gianna’s. I’ve also seen a reference to a place called Linden Hill Pizzeria & Deli at the same location, but if it ever existed, I wasn’t aware of it at the time. Most recently, this spot housed Lisa’s Quality Catering and Café, which I believe is still an ongoing enterprise, but which is now strictly a catering business. At any rate, I don’t think Lisa’s ever offered pizza. Point is, the site has seen a lot of businesses come and go.

Ordinarily, I’d have to wonder why somebody would plunge in where so many others have come and gone, but I’m not sure that all of those places literally failed. People can sell a business, retire, or otherwise move on, for all sorts of reasons. But if somebody else wants to go in and offer pizza, I’ll be there, eventually.

Sometimes, when a place changes hands, not much changes other than the name. Not so here. I reviewed Bonafede’s in 2010, and Gianna’s in 2011, and the pizza was qualitatively different both times.

That pattern continues to hold at Papa G’s. I got a single pepperoni slice (the only variety available during my lunchtime visit), and that was plenty for a satisfying lunch. The slice was quite thick, much more than at Bonafede’s or Gianna’s. The screen-marked underside was rather pale, but the interior had a pleasant, breadlike aroma, flavor and texture. The corncione had a good exterior crunch and that same bready interior. I liked it but I was wishing I'd asked for a cup of dipping sauce.

Topside, the crust was covered with a moderate layer of sauce. A few bits of dried herbs were visible, but this wasn’t a highly seasoned sauce. It had a good balance of saltiness and tomatoey sweetness.

Atop that lay the cheese, of mostly uniform thickness, with a few small pockets of sauce along the rim and near the tip. It was OK, but the texture wasn’t particularly smooth or “melty.” I can’t say for certain what it was, but I think a full-fat, whole-milk cheese would have improved things.

The pepperoni slices were thin and mildly spicy.

So, some pros (nice interior on the crust, toppings well balanced, sauce had a pleasant flavor) and a couple cons (pale bottom, cheese could’ve been better). But all in all, not a bad slice by any stretch, and an interesting contrast to the pizza that was served here by Papa G’s predecessors.

Papa G’s Catering & Café, 514 Linden Ave., Penfield (just off Rt. 441)

585-673-2949 (café) 585-203-2090 (catering)

Café open for lunch Mon. - Thu. 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., Fri. 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. (catering hours may differ, I don’t know)