I’ve been planning to visit Cam’s Pizzeria in Camillus for a while, and finally the day came. I needed the address, so I looked it up online, and to my surprise, found that it is a regional chain of 12 restaurants. Locations range from Penn Yan to Watertown, and Spencerport to Syracuse. Before I realized this was a chain, I had thought the name “Cam’s” was short for Camillus. Anyway, I noticed a location near Le Moyne College on Salt Springs Road, and thought I’d try that instead since it was much closer to the office. Although it is a stone’s throw from DeWitt, and is listed on the web site as DeWitt, it is within the Syracuse city limits.
This is a rather new building, which has a large, casual seating area, a Dunkin’ Donuts, a Barnes & Noble mini-bookstore, an ATM, and outdoor seating. Its location adjacent to Le Moyne College (and the fact that they accept Dolphy cards) ensures that a good amount of students will be mixing with the “townies” such as me. If you’re trying to find it from Salt Springs Road, you’ll need to look carefully because the parking and entrances are on the back side of the building. Delivery is available, and you can even order online.
Most of the pizza on display was thin NY Style, but thick Sicilian is also available. My thin slices (cheese $2.29, and sausage/mushroom $2.99) appeared to be 1/8th of a 20″ pie, baked on the stone. This was one of the thinner crusts I’ve run across, about 3/16″. It was rather floppy and foldable, yet crisp on the bottom, with a crisp and chewy rim. Inside, I found it to be well-risen with excellent structure. Crust taste was rather subdued, especially given the “punch” I got from the sauce and cheese.
By “punch,” I’m referring to the salty, somewhat acidic flavors that dominated. Sauce was very sparse and soaked into the crust and cheese (pretty typical for a very thin crust), so I couldn’t discern whether the saltiness came from the sauce or the cheese, or both. Some spice flakes were visible, and the spice load was mild to moderate. There was a slight sweetness, but no fresh tomato taste. Cheese was bit oily due to the sauce boiling up through it – again, pretty common with thin pizza. Toppings were good quality, although a bit sparse on some of the pizzas available for slices.
The big challenge that is faced by any chain is quality control. If you make the pizza consistent from location to location, it is very difficult to avoid introducing some amount of “institutional” characteristic, and there is a slight amount of that here. You also have the realities of staffing, where most of your employees are new to pizza making, and they don’t make a career of it. In spite of these challenges, Cam’s delivers a pretty decent product for a chain. The balance of crust, sauce and cheese was very good for a very thin pizza. I would have liked a bit more toppings, though. I think I’ll bring the office gang here soon for a taste of fresh thin and thick pizzas. For now, based on these slices, I’ll give a score that might be higher than what my nitpicks would suggest. This was a generally pleasant pizza, so I’ll give Cam’s a Pizza Geek score of 4 out of 5 slices.
Summary – Pros: good crust/sauce/cheese balance; relaxing and comfortable seating. Cons: slight “institutional” taste.
What do YOU think? Have you tried pizza from and of the Cam’s locations? Please leave a comment and tell us what you think!
Cam’s Pizzeria, 1135 Salt Springs Road, Syracuse – (315) 449-2267