Crust Pizza in Buffalo’s Allentown
At the tail end of our 28 Days of Pizza, we visited Crust in Allentown. Sure, we wanted to see how the pizza compared to traditional Western New York pizzas, but our visit could not, WOULD NOT be all about the cheese & pep without any review of the concept, space, service, prices & of course, the menu offerings.
Crust is pretty new, not brand new. Shortly after Crust’s opening, a similar project opened in Tonawanda called Pi Craft. At the time we (SOB team) were intrigued about pizza via a “Chipotle-like line”. Since then, we’ve completely jumped on board (which didn’t take much) and think it’s a wonderful idea. If you’re against it, I wonder about you.
As we walked into Crust, we were greeted by the owner’s cousin who is super friendly and helpful – and patient I might add. He asked if we had ever been there before, we said no. He described how it works, including the toppings they offer, specialty pizzas and featured pizzas of the day sitting on the cutting board, begging to be eaten. He also explained to us the crust they use – a traditional Roman Style crust that is super hydrated making it fluffy, thick, filling, delicious (my adjectives, not his). It’s par baked and cut in a square shape, ready to be topped with red or white sauce, cheese, meat, veggies, etc. If you’re thinking you’ll go all out, note that it’s not all you can think-up toppings at one price.
Here’s the run down:
Cheese Pizza $7.5 or Cheese & Pepperoni Pizza $9
Custom Pies $9.95 :
Choose a style:
- red tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese
- white mozzarella, roasted garlic oil and herbs
- gluten free (add $2)
Choose 2 toppings:
- pepperoni, bacon, chicken, chorizo, italian sausage, rosemary ham, soppressata, nutritional yeast
- fresh tomato, mushrooms, broccoli, greek olives, roasted peppers, potato, vidalia onion, zucchini, hot peppers, roasted garlic, artichoke hearts, peppadews, sundried tomatoes, filetto di san marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella. (additional toppings are $1.50 per item)
- after baked toppings
- arugula, fresh cheese curds, gorgonzola, goat cheese, prosciutto, fresh basil. (add $1.50 per item)
Our first choice was already made by the 28 Days of Pizza – red style, cheese & pepperoni. You may think this was a sad mistake, but the pizza was very good. I wouldn’t go so far as to tell you to bypass the other toppings, but it was darn good – simple. The crust is the star of the pizza, and with fewer toppings you can really enjoy the quality of the dough. The pizza made at Crust is somewhat artisanal, but not so much that it compromises the pizza tastes we know and love. Each element of the pizza stood out individually, the cheese fresh, the sauce pure, the crust anything but soggy. We came to the hypothesis that because the ingredients combine for only minutes in the oven, there isn’t a chance for their flavors to fuse. Like I said – it’s a hypothesis.
In an effort to save myself from overwhelming my pizza (see any homemade pizza I’ve ever made, you can hardly lift them) I chose a specialty pie called Nico’s Chorizo. It has a red base, chorizo, roasted red peppers and mozzarella ($12). I’m not too sure what the incentive is to order a specialty pie when you could get the same thing (red sauce, cheese, chorizo & roasted peppers) for $9.95 as a custom pie. Not a huge deal, but it doesn’t exactly make sense. The crust was similar to the cheese and pepperoni pizza. The flavors were bigger thanks to the chorizo, & peppers. This pizza was definitely cooked longer, as you can see by the crispier edges in the photo above. It was still very good, cheese a bit more toasted. Next time I come I’d like to try the rosemary ham or soppressata, maybe some fresh mozzarella & peppadews.
We also sampled a rice ball called an Arancini with prosciutto, peas, cheese and tomato sauce for dipping; and a potato croquette with yukon gold potatoes, provolone, bread crumb topping and roasted garlic aioli on the side. They were both good, soft on the inside, crispy on the outside. I recommend the potato croquette which had some nice flavors, plenty of provolone. The garlic aioli dipping sauce was delightful and added a lot of flavor.
Alcohol is one for the plus column at Crust. Choose from a nice list of canned beers (some craft) or taps (Flying Bison, Goose Island, Ithaca Brewing, Saranac.) We enjoyed two – what goes better with pizza than beer? They also have a couple wines available.
It’s all very casual. Go through the line, grab your tray, and take a seat at one of the nice tables on the loft or a large tall boy by the window looking to Allen. The vibe is comfortable, laid back, simple. Eat in, take out, or have it delivered. Either way, you have got to taste this crust.
242 Allen Street
Buffalo, NY 14201