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Schenectady Tour de Slice: Nominations

February 20, 2018

Would you believe it’s time for the winter tour? I wouldn’t believe it either. Except it’s true.

Look. Sometimes we run behind. But the last FUSSYlittleTour was all the way back in September when we ran through the gauntlet of the best apple cider donuts one can find at our regional farms.

The time for the winter tour is upon us. The fact that it may feel like spring is a fluke of nature. Dammit, this is still supposed to be winter.

Fluctuations of the seasons aside, the next FUSSYlittleTOUR is scheduled for Saturday, March 17 and it’s going to be an evaluation of the better New York style pizza slices one can find in Schenectady. Let me say this now, Schenectady is a strong pizza town. I don’t know what it is about the electric city. But the pizza is strong within its borders.

So it’s very possible that the best pizza of Schenectady is the best in the Capital Region. And it’s the goal of the FLB to put it to the test. However, before we put pizza place up against pizza place, it’s only fair to open the floor to nominations.

But before you do, here are a few thoughts on the matter.

There are lots of ways to eat pizza. It’s correct to say that the best way of evaluating the craft of a pizza parlor is to order their pies. Then you can see how well the place is able to execute the task at hand.

However, pizza is also an amazing convenience food when sold by the slice. And when you are on the go, the pizza slice can be a lifesaver.

The slice has become a unit of measurement. What makes matters trickier is that a slice to go may look very different from a slice of a takeaway pie. The slices offered at pizza shops for a quick reheat are often larger and thinner than their corresponding cousins which can be had in the context of an entire pie.

What I would like to try and do is categorize the differences among the Schenectady slice shops to answer the question of which one reigns supreme.

To answer this question, I’ll lead a brave group of eaters around town, and we’ll eat slice after slice until we find the very best one. You are invited. Save the date. Mark it on your calendar. The call for participants will come later.

Right now, the big question is which five slice shops should we visit. I have my thoughts, but I want to open up the floor to nominations.

The focal point of this tour should be downtown, so Pizza King and Nico’s are definites. The other three slots will be harder to choose. Part of me really wanted to try and keep this a walking tour of downtown Schenectady, but I think that might be too limiting.

Upper Union Street has an I Love that is one of my personal favorite slice shops in the area. Not everyone may agree, but I would love to see how it stacks up against the two downtown giants.

Nikki P’s is also further out and beloved by locals. They shop didn’t fare the best on the Tour de Italian Deli, but maybe their slices would represent their food a bit better.

Paulie’s Pizza is the highest rated pizza shop on Yelp, and it has been entirely off my radar. I’m intrigued.

So that’s five right there.

Someone will invariably say we should go to Marino’s. But for starters Marino’s isn’t a thin crust New York style pizza place. Secondly, it’s not a slice shop. Slice shops have a variety of pies on display, because slices are the bread and butter of the business, not an afterthought.

Prima Pizzeria does good work, but the last time I was in there, the slice options were extremely limited. And that’s fine. It just doesn’t work in the context of this tour.

What we haven’t included is Isopo’s which is also right downtown and focuses on slices, and I would really like to see how they measure up to the more established places in town.

People also like Broadway Joe’s, and as long as we’re considering Rotterdam, this should get some consideration.

And if we extend this to Rotterdam, Scotia shouldn’t be ignored. I’ve heard great things about Visco’s Vley Road Pizzeria, although I have never been. This could be just the excuse that we need.

What do you think?

Every time I do these tours, people weigh in at the end and say that we should have made some other stop. Well, this is your chance to influence the tour. While I do want to hear from you, this isn’t a vote to see which stops will make the tour, it’s a forum to help me make the decision. So if there’s a spot you think we should visit, make the case in the comments section below.

Statements like “It’s the best” or “ZOMG I’ve never had a better slice” tell me nothing. Talk about the crust, the sauce, the cheese, the craft, the char, the lift, the bubbles, the toppings, the caramelization of the cheese, the fermentation period on the dough, the proportions, the quality of the ingredients, or any other meaningful details that sets your favorite place above the rest.

Thanks for weighing in. This is going to be a hard decision, and I appreciate the input.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. February 20, 2018 11:47 am

    Isopo’s is right downtown too – on Broadway – def a local favorite Schenectady slice shop

    • Buffsoulja permalink
      February 20, 2018 11:52 am

      You mentioned it in this post. Sorry I read too fast. With Pizza King, Isopo’s, Nico’s all downtown, I think this could be mostly a walking tour with a little drive to I Love and Prima/Paulie’s

  2. Chad V. permalink
    February 20, 2018 1:27 pm

    If possible, it would be nice to keep the tour contained to Schenectady given there’s no real shortage of pizza places unless there is any place outside that would be in contention for Best of Region or a life altering slice.

    • Benjamin Maggi permalink
      February 23, 2018 4:10 pm

      Totally agree. Opening it up to Rotterdam and Scotia will turn it into something it is not.

  3. February 20, 2018 2:15 pm

    Make sure there aren’t any parades that will interfere with your plans!!!

  4. February 20, 2018 2:37 pm

    I may participate for the fun and fellowship, but am seriously troubled by this concept of a slice contest vs pizza in general….. especially with the exacting specs you have listed for the judging criteria. It is as if, when we had the Italian sub tour last summer, you had restricted it to establishments that had pre-made sandwiches wrapped in the deli case.

    Would you not agree that a slice is a convenience product, and likely inferior to a custom made pie? If so, why not just order and taste whole pies?

    • February 20, 2018 4:21 pm

      Inferior? Perish the thought!

      A slice thrown into the oven to reheat crisps up. For those that love a crisp undercarriage, slices are superior to their chewier (and all too often) soggy, whole pie cousins.

  5. Rhonda Rosenheck permalink
    February 21, 2018 12:31 am

    Daniel, all I can say is that, as a downstate New Yorker, the I Love NY on Union St. satisfies my slice jones every time.

  6. Phairhead permalink
    February 21, 2018 8:43 am

    I would suggest Isopo’s as well, they’re across the street from the biergarten on Erie. Broadway Joe’s is not good, very salty & not enough cheese stretch.

  7. Fuddley permalink
    February 21, 2018 12:40 pm

    A perfect way to lay down a base for the St. Paddy’s pub crawl to follow. Or possibly combine the two. Cold beer does pair well with pizza.

  8. Katie permalink
    February 23, 2018 1:50 pm

    Let’s try Luca’s! Although, it’s technically *not* a sell-by-the-slice counter joint, I’ve heard their pizza is on point 👂🏻 🍕

  9. Sam permalink
    February 25, 2018 9:09 am

    Broadway Joe’s is in Bellevue, not Rotterdam.

  10. Lauren Darman permalink
    February 28, 2018 2:59 pm

    I asked a co-worker. Marrotta’s – Rotterdam/Schenectady area.

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