Mark’s Pizzeria, Syracuse (Eastwood)

Mark's Pizzeria, Syracuse (Eastwood)Mark’s Pizzeria is probably the largest “local” chain in Upstate New York. The “Mark” is Mark Crane, who opened his first pizzeria in Palmyra in 1982. There are now 44 locations, generally clustered around Rochester, Syracuse, and the area between. Today’s review took place at the Shop City location, in the Eastwood area of Syracuse.  At this location, there is no seating – this is a pickup and delivery site only.

Mark's Pizzeria, Syracuse (Eastwood)

Where's the pepperoni? One, two......uh,

I chose a pepperoni slice ($2.55 including tax), which was a 1/6th cut from a 16″ pizza. I asked about the age of the pizza and was told it had been in the holding case for about 30 minutes. I can’t call it a “warming” case, because it wasn’t particularly warm. No reheating was offered. I don’t know about all of the other locations, but this one uses a conveyor oven with a perforated pan to carry it through. The result is a dotted pattern on the bottom Mark's Pizzeria, Syracuse (Eastwood)(solid pans can trap air, creating bubbles that lift the dough and prevent it from baking). Although it looks a little funny, this crust was generally evenly browned.  A lot of oil soaked into the crust while it was in the holding case.

The rim of this piece was jagged and rather thick, lightly browned, soft, not crispy, and rather chewy. General crust taste was OK, with nothing unusual to note. However, away from the rim there was a problem.

Mark's Pizzeria, Syracuse (Eastwood)

Note the gooey, unbaked dough under the cheese.

Crust thickness in the main part was almost half an inch, but only the bottom half of that was actually baked.  The area directly under the sauce and cheese was still moist and gummy. This problem can be caused by using cold sauce, but I have no way to know if that was the reason here.

The first few bites at the point of the slice had a good amount of sauce, but there was less and less as I got closer to the crust rim. It was bright red, very smooth textured, and moderately spiced with a somewhat overcooked and acidic quality. I’d call it a generally average sauce. The cheese was browned in spots, extremely oily, and very orange and chewy. Pepperoni was somewhat on the spicy side, and tasted OK, but there was very little of it.

Perhaps a freshly baked pizza would not have some of these problems, but I have to judge by what I was served, and if a pizza shop serves poor pizza slices, that’s what I have to report. I’m guessing that a fresh pie would have a little crisper, less leathery crust, but I’d expect the cheese to be just as oily and orange, and sitting in the holding cabinet didn’t cause the layer of unbaked, gooey dough. It was tolerable at first, but then there was less sauce as I progressed toward the rim, and I became aware of the gummy, unbaked dough described earlier. I lost my appetite and tossed out the rest.

In case you think I’m unfair to give a poor rating on one visit, I will tell you that this was my second visit; the first was pretty much the same, and I couldn’t finish that piece either. The Pizza Geek rates it 2 out of 5 slices.

Summary – Pros: it came in a nice box. Cons: super-soft & chewy, not fully baked, extremely orangey and oily, little sauce.

What do you think? Have you been to any of the Mark’s Pizzeria locations? Click the comment link below and tell us about it.

Crust: *
Sauce: ***
Cheese: **
Toppings: ***
Value: ***

Mark’s Pizzeria – 376 Grant Blvd., Syracuse – 463-5672
Mark's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

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About pizzageek

Perhaps being an engineer makes me too picky, but I'm in search of really GREAT pizza in Syracuse.
This entry was posted in 13206 - Syracuse (Eastwood), by the slice, delivery, medium crust, slices rating: 2.0. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Mark’s Pizzeria, Syracuse (Eastwood)

  1. Mark says:

    I have been to Marks in Manlius. Not the best pizza I have every had, but far from the worst. Given the opportunity, I would have it again.

  2. Owen O'Neill says:

    I love your blog but wonder if you should be a bit less generous when the product is as bad as you describe. It sounds like a 1 out of 5. The overall description and photos make it sound like gas station pizza – but not as good.

    • pizzageek says:

      Hmmmm….maybe. I guess I felt that I was putting it at the very bottom of the heap, with room to go even lower if necessary. Gosh, I HOPE I don’t have to go lower…!

  3. Tom says:

    I agree- your too nice that gets a 1 out of 5. What is up with these pizza places that don’t offer reheating? These pizza shop owners need to visit NYC for a weekend and check any pizza shop they run into at any time of the day or night. Never had a joint in the city not offer to reheat even at 3am.

  4. Total agreement.

    This pizza is more on par with a cafeteria then a pizza place. The staff has no actual knowledge of food preparation and pizza skills and is trained more in the manner of a Mcdonalds or fast food location. As in “monkey see, monkey do”

    The turnover is huge, I lived in the plaza and often stopped in to chat with a friend and perhaps buy a bottled soda (to accompany my meal from the fresh Fish Cove). I was always offended to know that the tip jar was actually taken by the Owner to use for “uniforms and such” – as of this year that is not only unethical it is also illegal, hopefully that will put a stop to that practice!

    I worked and managed Pizza Places from NYC to Buffalo and would rate the food quality as being no better than a bowling alley snack bar.

  5. Michele says:

    Not pleased at all. Too much crust, so there is not enough toppings. Ordered chicken fingers, only got one. Pizza was barely luke warm. So I ordered their garlic bread with cheese and it looked like a hotdog roll. Never ordering there again – disappointed!

  6. Teedge says:

    Ive always raved about the Marks Pizzeria location on 57 in Liverpool, ive been ordering from there for years and havent encountered a bad pie yet. One of the things i love about their pizza is that the dough on the underside is never greasy, always thoroughly cooked, and never too thin. Might want to try that location, but also good to know to never stop by the Eastwood joint now!

  7. sean says:

    Why do you advertise your Chicken finger dinner as a “generous” portion of meaty chicken fingers and you give the same amount of fingers as you do in your regular appetizer ?? Pretty pathetic you advertise like that

  8. sean says:

    They advertise a chicken finger dinner as a “generous” portion of fingers but they only give you 4 which is the same amount as the regular appetizer

  9. LimTasky says:

    Have yet to go to the Eastwood location. But the Rochester, NY location on Mt. Reed Boulevard has been one of my favorite pizza joints for years. I recently moved to San Diego and not a day goes by that I don’t crave a slice from Mark’s. Or a sheet pizza for that matter.

  10. Michael Baretsky says:

    I’m so sad to see past ownership leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth. Just an update, this location changed hands to a gentleman who has worked with mark for 28 years. He entrusted me with getting this store on it’s feet, and up to the high standards that we hold at Mark’s Pizzeria. I moved to Syracuse a year ago from the Palmyra area, where I worked at many locations, including the original store with Mark. We have made great strides since this original post and would be excited to see if the Pizza Geek would give us another shot! Also, I don’t know what the “tip” jar was used for in the past, But what we have is a cancer jar. ALL Proceeds from the jar (and bottle returns) go to St. Mary’s Oncology in Rochester NY.

  11. Amber says:

    I’ve never had a problem with undercooked crust or under-sauciness, so this must be an issue with franchise management. I usually get a full pizza and not a slice, but I can’t imagine it would be different. We have been enjoying Mark’s since 1982 and nothing beats it!!

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