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Pizza Stop opens in Pittsford Plaza


2/20/2019

, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle -- Jim Staffieri has brought a piece of downtown Rochester — as well as a piece of New York City — to Pittsford. 

The owner of The Pizza Stop has opened the restaurant's third location in Pittsford Plaza, two doors down from Trader Joe's in the former home to Radio Shack. 

Staffieri has been making pizza on State Street in downtown Rochester since the late 1980s. While the menu includes stuffed pizzas and thick-crust sheet pizzas, it's the thin-crust New York-style pizzas that get the most accolades. 

Scratch that — it is not New York "style" pizza, Staffieri insists. That is what some of the other joints call pizzas that bear little resemblance to the downstate pies other than the thin crust, he said. 

Instead, Pizza Stop's pizzas are original New York pizzas, straight out of the city, said the native of Brooklyn and Long Island. The homemade dough spends one to three days in the fridge to give it flavor, a pleasing chew and just the right pliability for folding in half, the way Big Apple natives do. The sauce is homemade as well. The toppings range from classics like cheese and pepperoni to the more creative Buffalo chicken pizza to the wildly popular meatball Parmesan. 

“We're pretty much going to stick with what we’ve been doing," Staffieri said. Like downtown, the new location has an assortment of pizzas on display, at the ready for purchase by the supersized triangular slice. Orders are placed at a counter and tables and counter seating are available for those who which to enjoy their slices hot from the oven.

The look of the new shop is eye catching and unlike anything else around.

"The whole concept is to make it look like a building in Brooklyn," Staffieri said. As in the downtown location, graffiti adorns several walls. One dramatic two-story wall has a huge graffiti mural evocative of a subway map to the various boroughs of New York City. Its centerpiece: the Statue of Liberty holding a slice of pizza. From a clothesline strung across the ceiling hang Pizza Stop T-shirts from through the years.

Staffieri noted that the graffiti on State Street has become popular with visitors, who take pictures and selfies with the colorful art and post it on social media. His attention to this detail comes naturally; he studied graphic design at the Fashion Institute of Technology and worked as a graphic designer in New York City before moving to Rochester to open Pizza Stop with his brother, Joe. (Joe now owns Joe's Brooklyn Pizza.)

Staffieri acknowledges he may need to tweak the restaurant's formula to adapt to Pittsford customers. This could eventually include offering delivery through one of the national restaurant delivery services.

"It's not something I look forward to doing," he said. He tried and ultimately stopped offering the service downtown because of issues with inconsistent service. "I would rather have everyone come down and pick it up."

He believes he has a unique formula that Pittsford will embrace, but, characteristic of his downstate directness, he shrugged and said, "if you don't like it, go someplace else."

The hours initially are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. But the hours could well be adjusted to suit the demands in Pittsford, which Staffieri anticipates will be a drastic change from the primarily lunchtime crowd downtown. 

"This is a whole new world for us," he said. 

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