Quick Bites: Pizza Amore and Lake Effect Ice Cream

Pizza Amore isn’t technically a “food truck” but instead a trailer that has been converted to a mobile wood-fire pizza oven.  The trailer is run by the Perri family of Grand Island.  Though they have been around since June 2011, they have recently started to park in front of the First Niagara Center in downtown Buffalo which has generated a lot of (good) attention.  Alli made a visit last Wednesday to finally try some of their wood-fired pizza and see what the buzz was all about.

Quick Info:

  • Restaurant Type: Food Truck
  • Cuisine: Pizza
  • Price: Under $7 for Pizza with drink

What began as a brick-oven in their backyard has grown into a pretty tasty mobile lunch option.  Dave and Diana Perri and their four children have been operating their trailer at local festivals, events and the Erie County Fair but have started to expand their locations to include the FNC and will be parked with many of the other Buffalo Food Trucks at the “After Party on Mississippi” after Thursday at the Squares this summer.

I (Alli) arrived at the FNC around 12:30pm to find a fairly impressive line.  I was nervous that the wait was going to be long since pizza isn’t normally a quick food to make.  I was very pleasantly surprised and impressed with how fast the line moved.  The staff was incredibly efficient.  They don’t mess around and everything looked like it was running perfectly.  Pizza’s are made to order and once they are placed in the oven, which gets up to 750 degrees, is ready in under 5 minutes.  Even though there were at least 10 people in front of me in line, I had ordered and received my pizza in less than 15 minutes.

They offer a few different varieties of personal pan pizzas, from a traditional pepperoni ($5.50) to specials that included (at least the day I was there) Buffalo Wing, Margherita and Veggie ($6.50).  All prices include a drink (can of pop or water).  While I was waiting, they cut up an extra Chicken Wing pizza and gave samples away.  After the sample I knew immediately that the pepperoni pizza I had ordered was going to be a great lunch.  The crust was light and airy and had a great char and slight smokey flavor that you can only get in a wood-fire oven (I actually just read that they use a low-gluten crust recipe).  The sauce had a nice savory flavor and the small pepperonis (in my opinion, the best kind of pepperoni for a pizza) were wonderfully curled up around the edges and gave that little bit of spice that I love on typical Buffalo style pizzas.  For $5.50 it was a fast and tasty lunch.

Overall, I was impressed with my first trip to Pizza Amore.  The service was very friendly and fast and I enjoyed watching them cook the pizzas as I waited.  I am looking forward to trying more varieties (the small bite of Chicken Wing that I had was delicious).  For now it seems you can find them at the FNC every other Wednesday as well as some other locations (check their calendar here) but soon they will be around after Thursdays at the Square, at summer festivals (Italian fest, etc), and plan to open a brick-and-mortar location in Grand Island (on Grand Island Blvd).  Follow them on twitter and facebook for updates on their location and their upcoming Grand Island restaurant.

For all the coverage we’ve had of Lake Effect Ice Cream, it’s a shame we never made it out to Lockport to get a sundae from their actual shop last summer.  While our freezer is always stocked with at least 3 of their pints (which can be found at a growing number of WNY stores like Tops and Lexington Coop), Alli and I knew we had to get out to their shop for a sundae on opening day this year.  We actually were out at their shop a few weeks ago to record an Eat it Up podcast with owners Jason and Erik (which will debut on May 22nd) and left excited to return on May 5th when they opened their doors (or shop windows) for the 2012 season.  Before opening day they posted the new sundae menu on facebook so we knew ahead of time what we wanted to order, though it was a hard choice since everything they offer sounds amazing.  Last Saturday we drove up to Lockport and luckily the sun was out and the weather was warm enough to justify waiting outside for ice cream (though I would wait outside in the snow for Lake Effect Ice Cream).

  • Restaurant Type: Ice Cream Shop
  • Cuisine: Ice Cream
  • Price: Sundaes $3-6 (small/large)
  • Location: Lockport

We had a couple days to think about what sundaes we were going to order but it really wasn’t that necessary.  I knew when we arrived that I was in the mood for the Levitre Land (pictured above, right), which was co-designed by Buffalo Bills offensive lineman Andy Levitre.  While that’s cool in its own right, it was the words “chocolate covered pretzels” that really sold me.  The sundae includes Levitre Land ice cream (cheesecake flavored) with a sweet strawberry sauce, rich homemade whipped cream and little chocolate covered pretzels.  I loved it.  I’m quite the sucker for strawberries and chocolate pretzels but what surprised me was how much I really enjoyed the ice cream itself.  Normally, I’m not a big fan of cheesecake but this creamy, rich ice cream worked as a great base for the sundae.

Alli ordered the Glazed Red Velvet Donut, made up of Lake Effect’s new Red Velvet Ice cream paired with their Silver Cloud Vanilla, crushed up red velvet donuts from Paula’s Donuts and topped with a cream cheese glaze.  While the toppings were fantastic (you honestly cant go wrong with Paula’s Donuts), Alli (like me) was most impressed with the actual ice cream.  As a lover of all things red velvet, she was not disappointed.

Alli and I are enormous fans of Lake Effect Ice Cream, Jason and Erik are doing some really creative things with ice cream (plus, they are really awesome guys).  If we could get to Lockport any quicker we would be making a weekly trip to their shop.  I’m looking forward to seeing what kinds of crazy sundae’s they’ll be debuting and luckily those in the city of Buffalo will be able to get scooped Lake Effect from The Buffalo Cakery (in the old Sweet Tooth) this summer.  But if you want the real deal, plan a trip to Lockport soon and enjoy the canals with some of the best ice cream you can buy.

Photo Gallery:

Lake Effect Ice Cream on UrbanspoonPizza Amore on Urbanspoon

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