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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Leo's Bakery and Deli, East Rochester

My wife, daughter and I had lunch on Sunday at Leo's Bakery and Deli in East Rochester. It's a local institution going back to the 1940s, but I believe this was my first visit.
My main reason for going there was to try their pizza. My understanding from news reports is that it's a reincarnation of Surace's pizza, which used to exist on West Commercial Street. Surace's, which I reported on in 2009, suffered a devastating fire in 2015.
I say that's my understanding because I haven't found any mention of it on Leo's website. And when I called Leo's some weeks back I was told, rather curtly, that no, it's not officially on the menu. I got the impression that they seemed to be de-emphasizing the pizza, or at least the Surace's connection. That's all I can tell you.
In terms of the physical layout, Leo's has a bakery/grocery side, adjoining the dining area and food counter. Both were clean, attractive and comfortable.
We entered through the bakery side, and headed for the food counter, where I spotted three pizzas available for slices: cheese, pepperoni and Buffalo chicken. I got a cheese slice.
Based on my 2009 Surace's review, it was pretty similar to what I had then. Thin, firm but not crackly underneath, with a light dusting of flour on the bottom. And as before, some oil toward the tip of the slice, i.e. the center of the pie, which probably seeped down after the pie was sliced. But it wasn't greasy, and the crust had a pleasant aroma of fresh bread.
The slice was a bit on the salty side, from the sauce, I think. I didn't especially mind it, as I like salt (probably more than I should), but it was noticeable. Overall, think more salty than sweet. The cheese struck a nice balance between melted and chewy, with some lactic-tangy flavor.
My wife and daughter opted for a wrap and sub, respectively. I didn't try either so I can't say much about those other than that everybody seemed to like what they got. 
Aside from what we had, I was struck by the breadth of Leo's offerings. The cookie display was particularly impressive, but they also had a variety of breads and pastries, cold cuts, sausage, and imported foods. You can read about all their offerings on Leo's website.
In 2009, I gave my Surace's slice a B-minus. When I assign grades these days, I try to avoid pluses and minuses, as I think that gives a sense of exactitude that is unwarranted for something this subjective, but I feel comfortable giving this slice a B. It was good, basic pizza, fresh and flavorful.

Leo's Bakery and Deli
101 Despatch Drive, East Rochester
Tel. (585) 249-1000
Fax: (585) 249-9231
Mon. - Sat. 8-8, Sun. 8-6