Food Porn: Imperial Pizza

  • Restaurant Type: Pizzeria/Take out
  • Cuisine: Pizza
  • Prices: Pizza ~$15 – $20, Subs ~ $5/$8, Wings (10/20) ~$8/$14
  • Location: South Buffalo

I had a really good feeling about Imperial Pizza before I even tasted a slice. They have a cult like fan base and I’ve heard stories of how they have a line out the door before the Super Bowl.  They have an overall top 5 ranking on Urbanspoon, dispite not having a website or really any internet presence whatsoever.  When I asked my friends about the place, the ones who had tried their pizza didn’t just say they “liked the pizza” instead they told me they “absolutely loved it”.

Alli and I tried their pizza a few weeks ago and brought it back to our Allentown home but that’s not necessarily a short drive and I don’t think the pizza was as fresh as it could have been.  So we wanted to try it again before writing a proper Food Porn.  This weekend we ordered Imperial again and brought it back to my aunt’s hair salon, located only a mile down the street.

So did their pizza lived up to it’s legendary status?

It definitely did, well, at least for one of us.  Imperial’s Pizza (as well as Bocce Club) could really be used to showcase Buffalo’s unique style.  While Chicago and New York have their famous signature styles of pizza, Imperial’s Buffalo Pizza takes a cue from both cities.  The dough is very airy and thicker then most other pizza’s we’ve had in the area that tend to be a bit flatter.  Our first pizza was nice and thick and even had large air pockets inside, for our second trip we ordered a half and had less air issues.  Their sauce is on the thicker side compared to other other pizza places and has a sweet tanginess.  Piled on top of that sauce was large amounts of cheese that had a sprinkle of some type of seasoning (oregano?).  With our second visit the pepproni seemed to have a really spicy kick that was actually pretty awesome.  It was really delicious; actually, it’s the only pepperoni that has really made any type of impression on me in the last 3 years.  Unique tastes and textures aside, the actual presentation of the pizza was unique as well.  The large pizza was pretty damn big and took me 3 days to eat the entire thing.  The slices are cut to be really long and thin and when we ordered a half pizza it was literally a half of the large, in the shape of a half circle.  I later found out from my Aunt that their location was formerly a Bocce’s and they just continued that style of pizza.  I’ve still yet to try Bocce’s but from what I’ve read about, it seems like Imperial has prepared me for what I should expect.

Half Pepperoni and Cheese Pizza

We also ordered their Chicken Wings on both of our visits.  The first time we ordered our usual, a single order of Chicken Wings with Medium sauce.  I wasn’t particularly blown away but the wings were crispy, albeit tiny, and the sauce had a good combination of butter and hot sauce.  Good wings, but nothing that stands out in our city, let alone with other options in South Buffalo.  But for our second meal we decided to try their new BBQ Garlic Parmesan Chicken Wings.  These were actually really great and something different than your usual medium.  Alli especially loved them and can’t stop talking about going back for more.  We’ve had Parmesan Wings and we’ve had BBQ Wings but never combined.  Like other BBQ Wings they deep fry the wings, cover them in BBQ sauce (with Parmesan cheese mixed in) and then grill the wings afterwards.  You could taste that smokey BBQ flavor and the Parmesan cheese was strong and gave the skin an interesting texture.

Imperial’s location has virtually no seating inside, there’s literally one table with two stools, and some outside tables for when the weather gets warmer.  So if you are planning on trying Imperial, you better have a nearby location that you can go to and eat.  But it’s definitely worth it, if you don’t want to take my word for it maybe you can read the various notes from Stanley Cup hero (and South Buffalo native) Patrick Kane.  He has several autographed jerseys hanging on the walls, all with his ringing endorsement (“Best Pizza in the World”).  I know that I’ve been converted and will be thinking about that pizza for a while, I only wish they were closer to my house.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsLophe7YB0]

Photo Gallery:

Imperial Pizza on Urbanspoon

6 thoughts on “Food Porn: Imperial Pizza

  1. From these pictures, their pizza looks identical to Bocce’s; I don’t think anyone would be able to tell a difference based on look. I’m interested to see how you like this compared to Bocce’s when you finally try theirs!

    • Don Burtless

      I am so over due for a visit to Bocce, which location is the good one though? I don’t know the difference between Bocce and Bocce Club?

      • The first paragraph of this article (http://buffalochow.com/2008/07/bocce_a_local_legend_a_pizza_o.html) best sums up the differences between locations – it basically says that the Amherst and Williamsville locations are the best. Personally, I’ve only been to the Amherst location on Bailey and, after the 10 minute or so drive home, it’s still delicious! That location has virtually no seating, though. Not sure about the Williamsville one.

  2. Sean C.

    I worked the fryers & delivered here for some where around 5 years. The people that work here are great, some of the best co-workers I’ve punched a clock with. The pizza is a little different from Bocce’s. Next time you go try SullyBBQ wings. JIm & Dave (the owners) are two of the greatest guys you’ll ever meet. Places that struggle to keep their food & service consistent need to look to Imperial for guidance. It’s amazing how such a small place cranks out such a large quantity of good, consistent food.

  3. Imperial — my favorite pizza on the face of the planet. It’s been a while since I’ve had Bocce, so I can’t compare/contrast. But I’m a South Buffalonian, and Imperial is my heaven.

    Speaking of South Buffalo and Wings, Ben T. is really into the Smitty wings at Doc Sullivan’s. From what I hear, that particular style is common in SoBo.

    Long live the SoBo food.

  4. Sean C.

    Smitty’s can bet had at either Doc’s or Charlie O’Brian’s. I’m not sure if Charlie’s serves them with Sour Cream Blue Cheese or not but Doc’s does. I have never had them with out… the two pair unbelievably together.

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