123 State Street, Downtown Rochester
Visited April 25, 2011
Written by Tyler
Pizza Stop is widely regarded as having the best New York-style pizza, and perhaps the best overall pizza, in Rochester. I had been to Joe’s Brooklyn Pizza in Henrietta, which has family ties to Pizza Stop, the previous summer, but finally made my long-anticipated visit to the original the day after Easter following a downtown interview. It will not be my last visit.
I walked in amid a decent lunchtime crowd in the small pizzeria, with a decent handful of tables for those eating in. There was also quite a variety of slices available.
Pizza Stop appears to be solely a pizza joint, not offering subs, wings or anything else. It offers pizzas in many sizes, styles and with many toppings, but is mainly a place to grab a quick slice or two. The thin New York-style pizza is not my preferred style of pizza, but it’s impossible not to like Pizza Stop’s version.
I opted for a regular-sized Buffalo chicken slice and a thicker pepperoni Sicilian slice.
I started with the Sicilian slice, which was almost identical to the slice I got at Joe’s last July. It was quickly reheated in the oven after my order, giving it quite a toasty crunch. I normally like my pizza quite crispy, but this was actually just a bit too crisp on the outside crust for me.
The interior, however, was bready enough to make the slice pleasant to chew. I’m not a huge cheese guy, but there was just the right amount on this slice.
Along with the sauce, all of the primary components worked together well to produce a good slice, but I would have preferred a little more sauce and a little less crispiness to the slice.
While I did have some minor reservations about the Sicilian slice, the Buffalo chicken slice was just about flawless. What the crust lacked in thickness it made up for in quality. It was toasted just right and was complemented by the perfect proportion of cheese and Buffalo chicken pieces. None of the contrasting flavors drowned out any of the others, and made for possibly the most balanced slice I have ever eaten. Most of the Buffalo chicken slices I’ve eaten have been relatively soft and doughy, but this one was baked to a perfect crisp.
I accidentally deleted my photo of my slices, but I found some photos of similar slices online, courtesy of the Rochester Pizza Blog, which has raved about Pizza Stop to a different level than of any other pizzeria in the area.
I had heard that Pizza Stop had questionable customer service. There was a sign saying something along the lines of, “This isn’t Burger King, you don’t get it your way,” and they don’t blow you away with friendliness by any means, but there is nothing to complain about. The staff does its job, respects its customers and efficiently churns out high-quality pizza.
When I return to Pizza Stop or Joe’s, I will definitely get another Buffalo chicken slice, but I’m also very intrigued by the Grandma’s slice, which appears to come topped with a spiral pattern of fresh extra sauce on top of the cheese, along with oil, two cheeses and several herbs. Sounds right up my alley.
Make sure if you want to try Pizza Stop, you catch it while it’s open. It closes at 5:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, and 7:30 p.m. on Friday, but is closed on the weekend.
Like I said, I prefer thicker and saucier pizzas, but that’s just me. A lot of people prefer the thinner New York-style, but everyone will probably love just about any pizza from Pizza Stop.
Service/Atmosphere: Seems like a place very popular for a workday lunch, with the closest feel of being an authentic New York City pizzeria in Rochester.
Food: Perfect balance of all the components of a pizza, and baked to perfection.
Value: $6 for my two slices seemed fair.
Overall: You can tell Pizza Stop a passion for pizza, and its staff is well-aware how good its product is. After eating here, it’s not difficult to see why this place has such a great reputation.
Grade: B+, but consider it higher if you’re a NY-style pizza connoisseur or purist.