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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Menezes', Revisited

Way back in 2010, I did a blog post about Menezes' Pizza on Chili Avenue.  I aptly described it as a true neighborhood pizzeria, that goes back to the 1980s.

I liked the pizza, I liked the owners, but I hadn't been back in a long time. Too long.

I recently learned that Menezes has changed ownership, and I had a chance to sit down for a half hour or so with the current owner, Greg Wolfe. Before our conversation began, I ordered a large pie, half pepperoni, bacon and sausage, half peppers and onions. Here's a summary of our conversation, and a bit about that pie.

Greg has had a lot of work experience, in an array of fields, which did not include the pizza business. But about four years ago, as Greg was looking to transition to more self-employment, on his way to eventual retirement, Menezes' came up for sale. That especially fit with Greg's desire to stay in Rochester, his native city.

At that time, the business had somewhat lost its way, due to a variety of issues. Despite his lack of experience with pizza, Greg knew that the product was good and that the business was fundamentally sound. As important, there remained a core of experienced, reliable employees, and Greg also knew from his business background that good employees are a key to success. So he took the leap.

Since then, Greg has taken strides toward righting the ship, without changing the course. The pizza is the same, and Menezes' other big seller, the steak sub, uses the same premium beef as before. That will not change. And the core team of employees remains as well. As Greg put it, he's found that in any business, "It's always about the people."

After taking over, and after consulting with his employees, Greg made some modest changes. Some items that weren't selling, like cold subs, were dropped, but others were added. Those include a "massive" salad topped with grilled chicken, and Menezes' "Messy Meal," otherwise known to Rochesterians as a "plate." You can see the full menu here.

As I was conversing with Greg, I was waiting for my pizza. I took it home in my insulated pizza bag and my family had it for dinner.

The crust was medium thick, well browned underneath with light screen marks. The cheese, sauce and toppings were in good balance. The crust was chewy but not tough, with a firm underside. Cheese was smoothly melted, and the toppings were done right. It can be tricky, I think, to balance vegetable and meat toppings, but they pulled it off here. In short, this was Menezes' pizza, which is good, Rochester-style pizza.

Since taking over the business, Greg has faced some challenges, but he is optimistic that Menezes' has a bright future ahead. I'm inclined to agree. I believe in the principle that if you sell a better product, you'll succeed, more often than not. Menezes' is making good pizza, and I expect it to remain a mainstay of its neighborhood for a long time to come.

If you'd like to learn more about Menezes' Pizzeria, go to: and

Or just go there. Menezes' is at 445 Chili Ave. and is open Mon. - Thu. 11 am - midnight, Fri. & Sat. 11 am - 1 am. and Sun. noon - midnight. It's at 445 Chili Ave. Pnone: 585-328-3010

P.S.  Next visit, I'm getting a steak sub.

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