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THE BEST: Pizza in New York State (not City)


DeVeaux
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As a native Western New Yorker, I thought I'd see how posting about other parts of the State went over.

Anyway, I nominate Buzzy's Pizza in my hometown, Niagara Falls. Thin crust pizza that I loved since I was a kid.

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."

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I can't speak for the rest of the state, but the best pizza in lower Westchester can be considered a tossup between Johnny's in Mount Vernon & Sal's in Mamaroneck.

Johnny's is a thin crust pie, slightly burnt on the bottom, and Sal's is more suburban style pizza, but done excellently.

"Long live democracy, free speech and the '69 Mets; all improbable, glorious miracles that I have always believed in."

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My favorite pizza of all-time is Martios in Nanuet, NY. They serve both wood burning and regular pizza. They are both amazing, but I prefer their regular pizza. The crust is

absolute perfection. I have eaten at many of the best NYC spots, and only DiFaria's can compete with Martios in my opinion. The address is 171 Main St, Nanuet and the phone number is (845) 623-8109. It is off Middletown rd, just before the Nanuet mall. In fact I am going to see Sin City at the Palisades Center on Monday at 4:45pm followed by a Martio's run. If anyone wants to join, post here. I promise you will not be disappointed with the pizza. Only 1 person is allowed to make the pies and if he is sick, the restaurant will not open. I have eaten over 50 pies here and EVERYONE is made exactly the same. Their pasta fagioule is also incredible.

-Al

Edited by schmooty (log)
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I can't think of anywhere in my hometown of Rochester that was particularly jaw-dropping. Cobbs Hill Pizzeria and Chester Cab Pizza are both quite good, though I wouldn't necessarily consider them the pinnacle of pizzadom.

So far in New York City, I've been impressed with Lil' Frankie's on 1st Avenue (near 1st Street) and PINCH (www.pizzabytheinch.com). Frankie's has been consistently excellent -- and every time folks come in from out of town, that's where I take them.

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Can you get those nasty Rochester white hots in NYC?

Nasty?!? How can you describe a classic component in a "Garbage Plate" as "nasty"? I love them white hots.

But back on topic, I sadly can't think of any especially great pizza around Rochester, where I grew up. Most all I have come across have been decent, doughy, comforting things that look like pizzas, but the prevailing aesthetic does seem to be thick, soft, bready crusts with bushels of toppings. That's not without appeal, but it's not really the same species as tends to get discussed in the pizza threads here. I get back there often, so I too would love to know if anyone has a good pizza source in that vicinity...

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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Niagara Falls? I think that's home of the thick, Sicilian pie. In the Buffalo area, La Nova has to be near the top (their wings are the best though).

Rochester ? Chester Cab make a solid pie with a nice crust and tasty sauce. Carbone's in the suburbs make one of the best pies as well. We used to do a pizza taste test every year where you bring your two favorite cheese pies - consistent winners have been Carbones, Tom & Nancy's, Mark's, Brandani's, Chester Cab, Guida's. This year's dark horse prediction is TK's by a fellow pizza lover.

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Can you get those nasty Rochester white hots in NYC?

Only if you order them from a store in Rochester - Calabrisella's in Gates.

Gordon, I'll admit, Mark's wasn't bad -- but I have to echo what PhilaDining said: a lot of the pizza joints seemed to have the same kind of thick crust, which can be a bit much after a while. I've learned (from eating pizza in NYC) that less is definitely more.

Unfortunately, I can't make crust that good myself at home, but I'm working on it.

I'm surprised no one from Buffalo has chimed in yet. I'd think they'd have some fairly decent pizza.

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While I have had plenty of serviceable pizze in upstate Ny, I have never had anything truly outstanding. :sad:

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Upstate NY pizza might not be considered great, but even the pizza we got from Pudgy's when visiting my Grandma in Elmira beat the hell out of chain pizza here in Kansas.

Gordon-

Pizza in the Falls differs depending on where you go - the pizza at Mom's in LaSalle was thick, square and had very sweet sauce, much different from the thin, crispy pizza at Buzzy's. I remember Bocce Club had the best pizza in Buffalo, but since we moved away in 1978, I have no idea what is still in business.

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."

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Syracusans (at least some of us) have long lamented the passing of Arturo's Pizza - known for "cold pizza and warm flat beer (in reality anything but).

Cosmo's on Marshall Street near the University is often a contender in the classic NYC style (i.e. not the super thin coal oven type but a great classic slice to fold over and eat). But consistency is lacking. The medium pies are never as good as the large and the crucial balance of cheese, toppings and sauce varies depending on who's working that night.

Johnny's Pizza in the Julian Plaza on Colvin Street was my long time local fave but "Junior", the owner ,sold the business to someone who lowered the quality standards and eventually went under. Junior is reopening the joint on April 11th featuring the classic recipe his dad (a former longshoreman in Staten Island) brought here in the late 1950's when they built Suburban Park, a long since defunct amusement park.

Remember the kind of walk-up slice you could get in NYC back in the days when a slice was really a slice? That's what Johnny's serves. April 11th can't get here soon enough.

I'll throw in an honorable mention for Roma Pizzeria in Ithaca. It's all that and a bag of chips. I never did get around to trying the pizza at the Nines in Collegetown but I can't believe it's all that and definitely not a bag of chips (them's fightin' words to some folks - of that I'm certain). I think people are so dazzled by the fact that the pizza arrives at the bar coming up on a dumbwaiter that they don't really taste with an unbiased approach.

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Upstate NY pizza might not be considered great, but even the pizza we got from Pudgy's when visiting my Grandma in Elmira beat the hell out of chain pizza here in Kansas.

Gordon-

Pizza in the Falls differs depending on where you go - the pizza at Mom's in LaSalle was thick, square and had very sweet sauce, much different from the thin, crispy pizza at Buzzy's.  I remember Bocce Club had the best pizza in Buffalo, but since we moved away in 1978, I have no idea what is still in business.

I wonder if Mom's if the place I'm thinking of. My girl has family in the Niagara Falls area and every family reunion - someone brings some of those bready, sweet pies.

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Niagara Falls is where I am. By Mom's, you mean the little restaurant on Niagara Falls Boulevard at Military ("Mil-Pine Plaza")? I've eaten average slop there a bunch of times, when I had to, but never saw a pizza. I would go over there and order one if that's the place, though.

Most of the places that sell pizza in the Falls don't specialize. One that does is Buzzy's (mentioned above). Remarkably good, thinnish crispy crust dusted with cornmeal. In WNY the thick, bready pizza loaded with cheese and stuff dominates, making Buzzy's a rare beast.

In Niagara Falls, you hear a lot about La Hacienda (3019 Pine Avenue), which despite the name is not a Mexican cafe. But for my money, I'd rather go next door to Michael's Restaurant and get one of their deep-fried calzones. Yeah, that's right: Deep. Fried. Calzone.

In Buffalo, two places about a half mile apart have the hearts of most locals: Bocce Club Pizza on Bailey Ave. north of the University at Buffalo's South Campus, and Leonardi's (614 Grover Cleveland Hwy., Amherst). Both feature a hefty crust, semi-sweet tomato sauce and lashings of mozzarella. Leonardi's also dusts its pie with romano, for a bit of extra savor. Bocce's cuts its pepperoni thicker and you pretty much want to drain that bad boy before consumption, but it's loverly.

La Nova pizza is OK Buffalo-style pizza, but only one of several local favorites, despite its extensive marketing campaign, and the cachet of having the FBI accuse its owner of being Buffalo's Mafia kingpin. (True story.)

As for its chicken wings, well, La Nova does make a decent "barbecue" wing, grilled wings soaked in bottled BBQ sauce. Its "Buffalo style" wings are merely ordinary, and in no way equal to the Anchor Bar's original chicken wing.

Of course, the No. 1 Buffalo-style chicken wing is actually found in Amherst, at Duff's (officially, Duff's Sheridan Patio, 3651 Sheridan Dr., Amherst). There are lots of tasty wings served all over the world, but when you want the canonical Buffalo wing, here's where you come. Only eat-in; hot wings in styrofoam takeaway boxes steams the crispiness out.

Just thought I'd make that clear.

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I'll throw in an honorable mention for Roma Pizzeria in Ithaca. It's all that and a bage of chips.  I never did get around to trying the pizza at the Nines in Collegetown but I can't believe it's all that and definitely not a bag of chips  (fightin' words I'm certain). I think people are so dazzled by the fact that the pizza arrives at the bar coming up on a dumbwaiter that they don't really taste with an unbiased approach.

Never tried the Nines, but I recall Romas as being pretty good. Not as good as Joe's back in the early '70's. And not as good as Scuteri's in my old hometown Watkins Glen, back in the '80's.

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La Nova pizza is OK Buffalo-style pizza, but only one of several local favorites, despite its extensive marketing campaign, and the cachet of having the FBI accuse its owner of being Buffalo's Mafia kingpin. (True story.)

As for its chicken wings, well, La Nova does make a decent "barbecue" wing, grilled wings soaked in bottled BBQ sauce. Its "Buffalo style" wings are merely ordinary, and in no way equal to the Anchor Bar's original chicken wing.

La Nova's Buffalo style wings are decent but for something unique and better than the average Frank's red hot sauce - their BBQ wings are hard to beat. The clean-up every year at the Buffalo Wing-Ding. Duff's are good but Buffalo style wings in general are not so unique that they can't be duplicated by other places as well or as consistently. Each bar has their own level of crispness, sauce methods, choice of size - moreso a matter of personal taste.

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Never tried the Nines, but I recall Romas as being pretty good. Not as good as Joe's back in the early '70's. And not as good as Scuteri's in my old hometown Watkins Glen, back in the '80's.

Hard to believe and I don't know what happened but Joe's Restaurant is closed. How a place that was busy damn near every night year round could go under is baffling to say the least.

Never tried Scuteri's but I used to enjoy a few ribs and some BBQ chicken every now and then from that joint with the big plywood chicken out in front. You know the one.... the shack on the road heading out of Watkins Glen? I don't think the food was all that but the funky bare-bones atmosphere was the real deal.

Upstate NY pizza might not be considered great, but even the pizza we got from Pudgy's when visiting my Grandma in Elmira beat the hell out of chain pizza here in Kansas.

That is SUCH a disturbing statement. What do they make chain pizza from in Kansas? Industrial waste products? Pudgie's offers one of and quite possibly the most vile and disgusting excuses for pizza that I've ever come across. Their sheet pizza (do they even make any other kind) might even be worse than Little Caeser's. That's bad.

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Pahelon-

Well, we've got Pizza Hut, Domino's and Papa John's. All bland chain pizza. I ate Pudgy's as a kid, when any pizza you got was good, so my memory might be hazy, but I've always prefered locally owned pizza to chains.

Sacre-

No, I think that's Mom's Coffee Shop. Mom's Pizza was on 56th Street, off Buffalo Avenue, in a house where the family lived upstairs - it may not be there anymore.

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."

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.. I ate Pudgy's as a kid, when any pizza you got was good, so my memory might be hazy...

I'm with you, when I was 10, if a sheet of pizza from Pudgie's was involved, that was a good party, man! But it very well may have been objectively a culinary crime.

I just had a pizza from (local chain) Pontillo's about a week ago, and it was decent quality and tasty and all, but of that squishy doughy style. Chester Cab touts its Chicago style stuffed pizza, is that what people liked, Gordon, or their regular? I like deep-dish pizza, but again, different animal.

I never thought of it before, but I wonder how pervasive the "sheet" phenomenon is? Up in Rochester it's pretty common to be able to order a small or a large or a sheet, maybe a half sheet of anything. Of course this is absurd to anyone who values a Neopolitan crust, but the indigenous pizza is almost half-way to Sicilian so that crust can really be whatever shape and size you want.

Of course, I've been ruined by Patsy's in East Harlem, and the Lombardi's in Philly, so almost everything else is kind of disappointing, but every once in a while I regress to that childlike state DeVeaux mentioned "when any pizza you got was good."

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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Chiming in from Buffalo about Pizza. When I first moved here in the early 70s, Bocce was all I craved. We would pick up our pies and eat them along the dumpsters in front of the Bailey Ave store. Now unless I order it with light sauce, it is way too tomatoey for me. My husband still likes it, but reminds me that pizza in Buffalo is "not that good". And he's a native. My favorite is Just Pizza which has several locations in the area. They make a great thin crust. La Nova also tastes pretty good but my order has been messed up there so many times that I have given up.

If more of us valued food & cheer & song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. - J.R.R. Tolkien
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Philadining-

That was always one of the high points of going to Elmira - my Great Aunt Alice always had all the cousins over for a pizza party at her house - it was across the street from St. Casimir's - we'd sit on her front porch and pig out on Pudgy's.

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."

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.. I ate Pudgy's as a kid, when any pizza you got was good, so my memory might be hazy...

I'm with you, when I was 10, if a sheet of pizza from Pudgie's was involved, that was a good party, man! But it very well may have been objectively a culinary crime.

I just had a pizza from (local chain) Pontillo's about a week ago, and it was decent quality and tasty and all, but of that squishy doughy style. Chester Cab touts its Chicago style stuffed pizza, is that what people liked, Gordon, or their regular? I like deep-dish pizza, but again, different animal.

I never thought of it before, but I wonder how pervasive the "sheet" phenomenon is? Up in Rochester it's pretty common to be able to order a small or a large or a sheet, maybe a half sheet of anything. Of course this is absurd to anyone who values a Neopolitan crust, but the indigenous pizza is almost half-way to Sicilian so that crust can really be whatever shape and size you want.

Of course, I've been ruined by Patsy's in East Harlem, and the Lombardi's in Philly, so almost everything else is kind of disappointing, but every once in a while I regress to that childlike state DeVeaux mentioned "when any pizza you got was good."

Pontillo's used to be the best in town (20+ years ago) with rapid growth comes reduction in quality. Chester Cab's deep dish is quite good (maybe not Lou Malnati's good but as good as Uno)

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Sacre-

No, I think that's Mom's Coffee Shop.  Mom's Pizza was on 56th Street, off Buffalo Avenue, in a house where the family lived upstairs - it may not be there anymore.

That place closed about 10 years ago, my associate informs me.

Another thing Falls people talk about is "Trusello's" style pizza, bready, thin layer of crushed tomatoes, olive oil, big whack of dried oregano and basil, dosed with romano and only a sprinkling of mozzarella. I'm told it's homestyle Sicilian, but I wouldn't know.

Trusello's was a bakery that closed, but there's a place on Pine Avenue (Rocket's) that claims to have "the real Trusellos" recipe. Some NF friends say hell, no. Both DiCamillo's and Ventri's sell "old fashioned Romano," which is close, minus the mozzarella.

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