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Windbreakers, Duncan Yo-Yo’s, bowl cuts, and an addiction to pizza: I am an eighties baby. I love pizza more than any other food. Pizza is classless. It’s inexpensive to make, can easily be vegetarian without sacrificing its core value, and the only people who hate pizza are contrarian attention junkies. Just a couple slices a day can keep a crust punk healthy and fed. Quarantine wine deliveries literally carried our winery through the spring and early summer. I found myself looking forward to my delivery weekends. It was a selfish, obligated travel into society from the dystopian rural north, one that allowed me the privilege to enjoy many curbside pies. I was historically not the biggest Buffalo pizza fan, because I was ignorant about the amazing diversity of Buffalo pizza. Thanks to local foodie hero, Donnie Burtless I had a robust list to pull from. For each pie, you’ll find a beverage pairing, and a cold pizza/cannabis breakfast pairing. The review list is shorter than the actual list of the various pies consumed, an unfortunate factor of the second-day pairing requirements.

Carbone’s

A hefty classic. Airy dough with a heavy sauce and cheese that bites back. I ate two slices immediately. I planned to only eat one. Pairing anything other than a Genny red eye with this hot boy is foolish. On day two, the weight of the Sunday gravy and mozz had compressed the pillow of dough down like the weight of existence during quarantine. The cold bite showed a perfect balance. One would be pleased with a cold slice and some fresh Watermelon OG for a (less than healthy) breakfast.

carbonespizza.com

(Lovejoy and South Buffalo)

Bocce Club

I am very concerned with humility lately, or at least with corrected moments showing a lack of humility. The ego tends to cloud judgment, and my desire for favoring a lesser known pie has kept me in the dark for too long. I once was lost, but now Bocce is my favorite non-neo pie in WNY. The foundation is as if angels netted clouds made from dusts of grain and char. The sauce is tangy, but not acidic; the fifth slice didn’t burn the mouth like a red warhead circa 1998. This is Burgundy Pizza. Pommard Pizza. Pinot Noir Pizza. Day two was just as beautiful. The tangy sauce and puffed pillow pair perfectly with Sour Banana Sherbet and mimosas.

bocceclubpizza.com

(Bailey Avenue and Williamsville)

Franco’s

Remember the old Buffalo? Remember the hopelessness portrayed in Buffalo ’66? The perpetual slushy winters are the grayer days of nostalgia that set the stage for this husky pie. What else will warm your heart when it rains in February better than dough as tall as a Buffalo snow bank? Thick sauce with enough acid to hang the sweetness on and spicy cups pinging the lace veil of cheese make that slushy walk back to the bowling alley worth it. I’d grab something light and bubbly, like a spritz, or a Truly. Go for glory with a munchie-inducing Jack Herer and too many cold slices on day two.

francospizza.com

(five locations)

Pizza Oven

Its beautiful structure is like someone made a pie on top of cascading winter clouds. The cheese and ’roni situation is spot on. The sauce is sweet enough to give your grandkids diabetes. Pizza crack. I have eaten an entire Pizza Oven pie in the ten-minute drive to my house. Pride doesn’t come close to describing the moment I swallowed the last bite. The feeling is ineffable. Pair this saccharine salvation with some Steampunk Hojack Cider from Leonard Oakes Estate Winery. On day two, this pie becomes candied pizza. Pair this sweet daddy with some Girl Scout Cookies and a free schedule.

lockportpizzaoven.com

(Lockport)

La Nova

I spent a lot of my seventeenth year at Keuka College in the Finger Lakes. I wasn’t attending, but I knew a lot of people who were. This gang was called the Sloppy Crew. If they were to have an official Buffalo pizza, it would be La Nova. My truck wishes that I had packed a fork, or that it was owned by a more sensible person. The dough is charred, but still three-quarters baked. A Rust Belt excess of cheese and sauce rests on top, like a puddle of rain resting on the bosom of a maple leaf after a storm. This is slurping, oyster-method pizza consumption. Pair this sloppy cat with something bright and hoppy from CBW. Pair that next day slice with some more beer and a tolerance break.

lanova-pizza.com

(Buffalo and Williamsville)

Village Pizzeria

Village Pizzeria is just close enough for me to skateboard two larges, ten wings, and two liters of soda back to my house without inconvenience. The pie rests somewhere in between Bocce and PO, but it’s not a middle-ground pie. Village offers options with its sauce, which keeps my cavity-loving family content, and the ’ronis are spiced just enough to catch you off guard if you inhale the third slice a little too fast. Pair this sneaky favorite with some champagne, because quarantine has been hard, and you’re worth the $35 liquid treat. I like to save the little triangle pieces for the next day’s Gold Leaf and peach bellini breakfast.

myvillagepizzeria.com

(Middleport)

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