Few eaters outside of Western New York are familiar with Buffalo-style pizza. is nothing like thin-crust pies typical of New York City and the northeast. Indeed, New Yorkers react to its very existence with disbelief.
The defining characteristic of Buffalo pizza is its square shape and a doughy, focaccia-like crust. Other attributes include the use of thick, salty tomato sauce and a generous coating of cheese that spills over the ends of the crust and gets baked on. It’s not as deep as Chicago deep dish, nor as brawny as a Sicilian or Detroit pie, although it does share the Motor City’s preference for charred pepperoni. It is rustbelt-hearty.
There are several places in the Buffalo/Niagara area to taste this unique regional variation of American pizza. Picasso’s comes highly recommended by Buffalo natives. There are a few things it does that make it stand out.
First, all of its pepperoni is hand cut. Thick, irregular slices provide a wonderful texture and get smoky when charred. Also, Picasso’s finishes with an herb, garlic and parmesan cheese blend that ups the aroma and makes it extra difficult to wait for it to cool. Picasso’s cuts its pizza in a strange way, too: first into quadrants, then cutting each square on the diagonal, creating triangular slices. Picasso’s serves slices, so if you don’t have a group ready to tackle a whole pie or don’t want your car to smell like garlic for hours, it makes a good stop for a slice break.
Like all pizza places in Buffalo, and most in America, Picasso’s serves wings. Being in Buffalo, its wings are better than most pizza parlor wings, but being at a pizza parlor, they’re not in the same league as the wings you’d get at a dedicated wing spot in town. They’re crisp, but dressed with the standard hot sauce and butter finish. If, even after all that pepperoni, you need something spicy and fatty, they’re worth a try.
Picasso’s is a family owned mini-chain, first opened in 1980, now run by a third and fourth generation with Italian roots. It has started to branch out into more locations, and is gaining a reputation beyond Western New York.