Crust: Allentown’s very own Pizza al Taglio

The corner of Allen St. & College St. is the new home of Crust pizza. A Rome inspired pizza rustica right in our favorite day to late night neighborhood! We had the pleasure of sampling some pizzas and meet with Peter McConeghy, the general manager, last week before they officially opened on Monday, October 28th. I got a little education on proper Roman pizza and some yummy tastes of what they are brewing up over there.

Peter and the two owners, Elizabeth Buscaglia and Sharon McConeghy maintain that “our inspiration comes from two places: the neighborhood Pizza al Taglio places you find in Rome, and the emerging trend in the pizza industry to bring ingredients forward into the customer’s view so they can tailor their own experience.” Elizabeth Buscaglia is also a local Buffalo architect who designed the bright, sleek interior space for Crust. It is well laid out for efficient service yet comfortable in house dining.

Peter says “Crust” pizza’s philosophy is simple: provide standout ingredients and then let the customers’ imagination take over to create their own signature pizza combinations.”

Crust-Buffalo-NY-6

After checking out the upper & lower areas of the restaurant, we started to build our pizzas and try some of their offerings. Crust makes beautiful airy, crispy, homemade crusts with the traditional Italian “00” wheat flour. A true “Lazio” style crust is a bit thicker than a Neapolitan crust with air pockets and a crispy bottom. Unlike pizza from Naples, they are cooked in an electric oven not a wood fire oven. At Crust, they are premade fresh daily and then topped to order with the customer’s specifications. They have all the ingredients right in front of you to choose.

Crust-Buffalo-NY-5

All pizzas are prepared on 10” square crusts and start at $12.00 for either a red or white pizza with two toppings (a protein and a vegetable choice). The “red” pizza is made with a balanced San Marzano marinara sauce and mozzarella. The white pizza starts with mozzarella, roasted garlic and olive oil. In order to keep the price down, they have opted to use domestic mozzarella instead of the traditional Buffalo mozzarella. (I say offer it as an upgrade.)

Buffalo-NY-Crust

The pizzas are assembled and popped into special electric ovens that are designed for this preparation. The pizzas come out hot, crispy and melty in just a few minutes. You also have a choice of adding some toppings after baking like arugula, fresh cheese curds or fresh basil. We tried a traditional Margherita with Italian sausage and a custom one with red sauce, mozzarella, wild mushrooms and hot peppers then topped with fresh arugula. Both were really good and the crust held up to the description Peter gave us.

Crust-Buffalo-NY-1

Crust also offers other options such as salads, arancini and stuffed cherry peppers. They have a liquor license in process and hope to be serving assorted beers and wine in a month or so. It will be so great to be able to go out for pizza, sit down and enjoy a glass of wine with it.

After our outing to visit Crust, I was intrigued to learn more about the Roman vs. Neapolitan approach to pizza. There is much controversy in Italy about pizza styles and process but from what I have seen they take great pride in their perspective preparations, almost as much as Buffalo pizza makers do! Many “imposters” have opened places in Rome with lesser standards and some folks have taken action. I found a court case on line that was published in 2010 to clarify the specific process that deems a pizza “Roman pizza al taglio.” It is quite fascinating.

Overall, Crust in Allentown is bringing a little bit of Rome to one of our beloved neighborhoods and featuring a style of pizza that differs from many in Buffalo.

Grab a slice or a whole 10” pie and have a treat.

Crust
242 Allen St.
Buffalo, NY 14201
716.551.0781
www.crustbuffalo.com - Facebook
Hours: M-S 4pm-2am

 

About the author  ⁄ Kristine Hornung-Pottle

16 comments
paulbuffalo
paulbuffalo

... they have opted to use domestic mozzarella instead of the traditional Buffalo mozzarella.

You mean cow instead of water buffalo.  (You can get domestic buffalo mozzarella.  There are still shops in Brooklyn that make it every day.)  It's too bad.  So much for standout ingredients.  Buffalo mozzarella is the traditional cheese used on margherita pies and it makes a world of difference.

And, what's with the electric oven?  The reason that wood and coal-burning ovens are used on the best pizzas is because they generate a much hotter temperature in the baking process.  Electric ovens are like glorified toasters.

In any case, this restaurant does seem like a step up from other pizza restaurants in the area.  I hope they succeed.

flexme
flexme

Too bad they don't offer soy cheese for us vegans, i guess it's back to Pizza Plant for us.

elmdog
elmdog

Looking at the  storefront and the nice character good planning presents ...When I think about the inner harbor and the space around the beer garden/childrens museum I envision cool brick building with customized floor plans for restaurants, small shops and other retail..Very inviting exteriors, many small storefronts and alot of outdoor seating..This creates a place to spend time and hang out...

readingcomprehension
readingcomprehension

Read the article again. The electric oven is Roman style. They are not doing they Neopolitan pizza, which would be the oven. Different crust, different process, different region.

TanyaMarie1
TanyaMarie1

@flexme FYI: "Allentown Pizza" at the corner of Allen and Elmwood has a few varieties of vegan pizza, including vegan cheese and vegan sausage. 

TanyaMarie1
TanyaMarie1

@flexme Totally agree with you "flexme."  How much space does it take to keep a bit of soy cheese on hand? And yet with this small investment of space and money, a business brings in a whole new client base. 

paulbuffalo
paulbuffalo

@readingcomprehension 

Clever.  Sure, electric ovens can be used for Roman style but that style of pizza from a wood oven has so much more flavor.  In other words, Roman style doesn't require the use of an electric oven.  If you like electric ovens, though, good for you.

flexme
flexme

Hreat, thanks for letting me know, i will give it a try

flexme
flexme

sure we have big boobs and tiny waists

paulbuffalo
paulbuffalo

@Joel AltreKerber

Joel, are they using a baking pan?  It doesn't say.  If so, then, yes, I understand the electric oven preference.  If not, wood-fired is more traditional although it still comes down to personal preference.  The pizza above looks more like a hybrid of two styles: rectangular with thicker crust and round with thinner crust (and I don't mean Neapolitan style).  I've eaten my share of both Lazio styles.

Lazio-style pizza is also available in pizzerias (pizza restaurants) where it is served in a dish, is traditionally round in shape with a crisp, quite thin crust, and usually cooked in a wood-fired oven. Lazio-style pizza is the most famous of all types of pizza in the capital city of Rome.

http://www.culinaryarts360.com/index.php/lazio-style-pizza-18615/

Wood-fired and coal-fired ovens are more expensive (and often tougher to get permitted) so electric ovens are used in most establishments for all kinds of pizza.

paulbuffalo
paulbuffalo

@Joel AltreKerber

Joel, Roman style does not require the use of an electric oven and there are restaurants that serve that style of pizza using wood ovens.  The thicker crust on Roman style is often reserved for the outer edges only.  If this place make it even thicker then a baking pan and electric oven are necessary.  (The photos don't seem to indicate that thickness, though.)  If you prefer electric ovens, that's great.

Joel AltreKerber
Joel AltreKerber

@paulbuffalo @readingcomprehension Uh, Paul - Roman is a different style. No wood. The crust is thicker and does not lend itself as well to the wood fired method. If that is what you like, go to a place that uses a wood fired oven.

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