Bear Country Pizza and Pastry, Chittenango

Bear Country Pizza & Pastry, ChittenangoFollow Route 5 through Fayetteville, travel a few miles past Green Lakes, in to Madison County, and you’ll come to Bear Country Pizza & Pastry on Chittenango’s western edge (it’s “Bear Country” because that’s the Chittenango school mascot). There is minimal seating. When I visited on a Saturday evening, very few baked goods were displayed. I took home a medium supreme (your choice of 5 toppings), with sausage, mushrooms, olives, onions, and green peppers. At $15.99 for 14″, it was just a little more expensive than average. Crust thickness was about 1/4″.

Bear Country Pizza & Pastry, ChittenangoBear Country uses a large conveyor oven, with pizza baked on a screen. I think it is a little more common for conveyor baking to be done in a pan, which essentialy fries the dough in a little oil. So, you might think that using a screen in a conveyor oven would make for a crispier, drier crust because moisture could escape, but not so in this case. As you can see in the photos, the crust appears well-browned and looks good. However, when biting into it, I found little or no crispiness, and dough that flattened and squished into “goo” when pinched. “Poofy” is another word that comes to mind. I’m no oven expert, but I’m going out on a limb to guess that moisture from the gas heat prevents a good, hard crisping of the crust. On the other hand, stone-lined ovens that heat the dough by contact tend to provide crispier crusts. Aside from the oven and crispiness questions, I’d say that the crust on this pizza generally lacked personality, which is likely a function of the flour and how the dough was fermented.

Bear Country Pizza & Pastry, ChittenangoNow that I’ve gotten my gripes out of the way, it is smooth sailing from here on out! The sauce was nearly perfect, with an excellent, slightly chunky texture (some bits of tomato peel were visible), mild spice load (with visible spice flakes and garlic chunks), and excellent fresh tomato taste that was slightly acidic and not salty. Also, it did not soak in to the crust or cheese. As I said, it was nearly perfect sauce! The cheese was excellent as well: soft, white, not oily, not browned, and not salty. Toppings were fresh and tasted great. While I would have liked a little more of some of the toppings, a five-topping pizza can get pretty soggy if you overdo the toppings.

All things considered, the quality of the sauce, cheese and toppings helps make up for the poofy, bland crust. I have no doubt that if you put this sauce, cheese and toppings on a better crust, you’d have a legitimate contender for a 4.75 or 5 slice rating! So, although it isn’t as good as it could have been, it was still a very tasty pizza, and the Pizza Geek gives it a rating of 4 out of 5 slices.

Summary – Pros: top-notch sauce, cheese and toppings. Cons: soft, poofy, bland crust.

What do YOU think? Have you tried Bear Country Pizza? Click the comment link below and tell us about it!

Crust: ***
Sauce: *****
Cheese: *****
Toppings: *****
Bang/Buck: ***
Overall:

Bear Country Pizza 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 13037 - Chittenango, by the slice, delivery, eat in, slices rating: 4.0, thin crust. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Bear Country Pizza and Pastry, Chittenango

  1. KMR says:

    Contrary to your observations, I’m accustom to seeing the flat mesh screens used with the conveyor ovens. Perhaps, as with using a pan in general, the use of the pan on the conveyor oven is a local trend.

    I was a loyal customer of a pizza shop in suburban Philadelphia for about 8 years until CNY became my primary residence. I had the pleasure of watching the pizza operation for years everytime I would pick my orders up. The primary means of cooking their pizzas was via conveyor with the flat mesh screen tray.

    I can recall a few details I observed over the years. Pizzas heavily laden with toppings would be precooked for a short amount of time in a conventional front door pizza oven. This led me to believe that the success of the conveyor oven is extremely dependant on the amount of mass it must cook in that predetermined amount of time it takes for the pizza to transit through the oven. Precooking the pizza for a few minutes in a conventional oven allows the pizza shop to bring the ingredients up to cooking temperature quickly, and complete the cooking in the conveyor oven for maximum consistency.

    Secondly, to a certain degree, the conveyor oven is more reliant on radiant heat to cook the pizza as both the entrance and exit are open to the atmosphere during cooking (rather than the high ambient temperature in a closed door oven). If a baking pan is utilized, it reflects some of the radiant heat away from the pizza, acting as a simple radiant heat shield. The flat mesh trays do not have much solid or reflective surface area, and do not suffer this disadvantage.

    I personally feel that the conveyor oven is superior, as it offers the most consistency possible when setup and utilized correctly. All of the front loading door ovens require the individual cook to judge completion time, rather than relying on the fixed cooking duration of the conveyor oven.

    • pizzageek says:

      Hi KMR,

      Thank you very much for the excellent observations! I can certainly appreciate that conveyors make it easy (and faster) for the kitchen to turn out consistently baked product. With regard to pizzas with more toppings needing more baking time, I have seen some places put lightly topped pizza farther in, and heavily topped pizza right at the beginning of the cooking area.

      Perhaps the crust differences I described are the result of more moisture in the dough. Thanks again for your comments; would you be interested in doing a guest review?

  2. Eric says:

    As the owner of Bear Country Pizza I would like to thank you for your positive comments on our pizza. As for the issue with the crust being bland I can tell from the picture that the crust has too much flour on it and potentially was not given enough time to rise properly. I will address these issues right away. I would also like to invite you back in a few weeks when we complete our move to out new location in Chittenango Plaza and would be more than happy to give you a behind the scenes tour. Contact me if you are interested.

    Thanks, Eric

  3. Fried Tomater says:

    I was just greatly disappointed by Bear Country Pizza. I’ve been a regular customer of both Bear Country and the new Roma’s for a while now. Tonight I tried to place an order with Bear Co. at 9:15 (they’re supposedly open till 10 on Fridays and Saturdays) and was told they “were not taking any more orders for delivery because they already had 4 lined up.” That’s it?Just 4? And it’ll take you 45 minutes to prepare and deliver all these? And you DON’T want MY $$$????? It’s ok though – I called Roma’s and they came through for me (I like their antipastas better anyways!) I had only called Bear Co. for their boneless wings (an item which Romas doesn’t carry) So~ if you want an order from Bear Country after 8:30 I suggest you call EARLY

  4. Eric says:

    Tomater,

    I am sorry to hear you were not able to get a delivery like you wanted. We do the best we can to offer fast free delivery to all our customers. I am not totally sure why you were turned down for delivery at 9:15 but I will look into this the best that I can. Our menu does state that we stop taking deliveries up to a half hour before closing. The reason for this is because we have such a large delivery area and at that time of night there is only one driver to take them. In order to assure the quickest service we possibly can and more importantly deliver your food while it is still hot we set a 9:30 cut off. In rare situations we may make that cut slightly earlier because it would not be possible to deliver a quality product in a timely manor. It may sound silly that 4 deliveries can take that long but we have a 6 mile delivery radius. If the driver has to go 6 miles in one direction and then come back and go 6 miles in the opposite direction he has to travel 24 miles for just the 2 deliveries which takes about 30 mins driving time. That does not include the time it takes to prepare the food, 10 to 15 mins, and time spent at the customers door, about 2 mins. So for just 2 deliveries it could take upwards of 45 mins to complete them. So in your situation being the 5th delivery you could be looking at an hour and a half to two hours to get your food putting your delivery time between 10:45 and 11:15. Although these types of situations are rare unfortunately they do occur.

  5. Alexis says:

    Had Bear Country pizza last night and must say it was some of the best pizza I have had in a long time!!

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