Saturday, April 24, 2010

Great Northern Pizza Kitchen

1918 Monroe Avenue, Brighton
Visited April 3, 2010
Written by Tyler
Great Northern Pizza Kitchens on Urbanspoon

I know, Brighton isn’t exactly on the west side, but somehow it managed to fall in our “gray area.” I have family in Brighton, so we stopped by Great Northern after visiting them on an unseasonably hot spring day.

Great Northern has three locations in Greater Rochester; this one, Henrietta and Bushnell’s Basin (between Pittsford and Victor). There used to be a location Greece which I had been to, and I remembered its gourmet slices and soft crust and wanted to see if things were as I remembered.

My mom had been craving a salad she recalled having at Great Northern, so this was an opportune time to dine here again.

Brighton's Great Northern is in Twelve Corners Plaza in a busy inter-section. There is plenty of seating, especially in the back, in a fairly dimly lit dining room. There are several pizzas on display, plus calzones and pasta, among other items.

By-the-slice appears to be the preferred way to order pizza here, and the workers simply cut a slice from whatever variety you want (that is on display) and heat it for a few minutes. There are also soups, salads, wraps and sandwiches available.

The slices are quite large, as expected, but fairly thin. Jake and my grandma each ordered a “Sauced’ Up Buffalo” (chicken wing) slice and I opted for “Bar-B-Que Chicken” slice. I would have liked a little more chicken and more of a barbecue flavor on mine, as well as a more fresh taste, while Jake thought his actually had a little too much bleu cheese.

Thankfully, the crust turned out to be the real prize. The crust was larger than that of most other slices I have eaten, and very soft, though not exactly doughy either. It was a good end to an otherwise average slice.

As expected, my mom enjoyed her Caribbean Chicken salad, which included pear, golden raisins and almonds, with a honey-lime dressing. It came with a side breadstick, which I ate most of – and was one of the best I’ve ever had; a lot like the pizza crust, but with a more typical breadstick texture.

We also sampled the large cookies, which sat on the counter in three varieties. The cookies appeared very, very, extremely soft, which equals very, very, extremely good to my tastes, and the cookie ended up being just that. I should have bought some more for the road.

There are so many specialty/ gourmet slices available you wonder how they do it. There are 14 types of chicken pizza, 13 types of veggie pizza, seven with different combinations of the traditional meat toppings, four types of pasta pizza, and other interesting choices like “Potato Skin Pie.”

Although many of the specialty slices included a lot less of the ‘specialty’ than desired, I rate Great Northern highly because of its variety (I could probably go back every day for a year and not get the exact same thing twice), and they were still decent slices. It would be interesting to see how a fresh-baked, made-to-order pizza from here would taste.

With that said, I will definitely return to Great Northern, even if just for its delicious cookies, crust and/or breadsticks.

Service/Atmosphere: The service was quick and friendly, and it had a good atmosphere for a gourmet pizza joint, very fitting for the area.
Food: The actual pizza didn’t quite meet expectations (wasn’t too fresh, a little lagging in toppings), but there are a few things (most notably the crust) that surpass expectations. There is a ton of variety here, and if you are a fan of oversized and soft bread products (like me), you’ll love it.
Value: A little on the pricy side, though most specialty items are priced higher at any pizza place, but the portions are filling.
Overall: The variety and large portion size, along with being a dough-lover’s dream, help Great Northern rate highly despite not quite meeting expectations on the slices. Like I said, it would be interesting to see how a fresh pizza from here is.
Grade: B+


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