For Thanksgiving, I took a break from WRITING pizza reviews, but I didn’t take a break from EATING pizza. One of the pre-holiday grocery store trips took me to Wegmans in DeWitt – widely rumored to be the very busiest store in the entire Wegmans empire. Wegmans has been updating the pizza ovens in some of its stores, and the update has made its way to DeWitt (read more about the new thin pizza in Rochester area Wegmans on the Rochester Pizza Blog).
I’ll admit that I have succumbed to the temptation of the easily accessible pizza at Wegmans on more than one occasion. It was medium thick, pan-baked (UPDATE: see comments – no pan) in a conveyor oven, and not too bad for a quick bite in a grocery store. Some of the stores still have the old ovens. Now that DeWitt has a new oven, it is time for a fresh look at the product. Note that the spiffy new oven has five clear doors, well-lit interiors, and timers to the right of the doors. Consider that the average baking time is probably 10 minutes or less,
that the oven capacity is at least 10 large pizzas, and you can imagine that you could literally bake the pizzas as fast as you could shovel them in and out.
I observered a pizza worker feeding a piece of dough through a press repeatedly to flatten it, then finishing the stretch by hand. The rest of the prep area was not visible from the front counter. There were at least 7 large pizzas available for slices, which appeared to be 1/8th cuts from approximately 20″ pies. They looked reasonably good, with some large crust bubbles and attractive toppings. I chose a pepperoni slice ($3.01 incl. tax), which had been sitting under heat lamps and was not reheated.
The crust was soft, foldable, not crispy, and with a fine bubble structure (which you would expect from mechanically flattened dough). Actually, I was surprised that some of the pizzas had very large bubbles at the edge, given how small the interior bubble structure was. Generally speaking, the crust was thin all the way to the edge. The flour used for this pizza produced a very white and spongy interior, with less gluten than a true NY thin crust. You could squeeze it between your fingers and it didn’t really spring back. I also felt it was somewhat undercooked (i.e., not browned very much), and very dusty on the bottom from corn meal.
This sauce was unique. It had a very refined and smooth texture, with flavor that carried an almost “soupy” quality. I don’t mean that it was thin and runny, but rather it tasted like a small amount of tomato soup was one of the ingredients. A plentiful amount was applied, and it carried a rather mild spice load with few visible flakes, and it was a little salty. A reasonable amount of cheese was applied; it had some oil separation, but tasted OK. Pepperoni was on the slightly spicy side. The toppings on the other pizzas looked fresh and plentiful.
Put all those factors together and what do you get? A reasonably acceptable, average pizza, but with some amount of “institutional” flavor. As I mentioned above, the interior of the crust is very white and spongy, appears to be somewhat underbaked, and the sauce has a little “tomato soup” flavor. Still, you could do a lot worse (and I have!), so the Pizza Geek rates this particular Wegmans pizza at 3 out of 5 slices.
Summary – Pros: wide selection. Cons: underbaked, institutional flavor.
What do YOU think? Have you tried Wegmans new thin pizza? Do you prefer the new or the old style? Click the comment link below and tell us about it!