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Add Lovejoy Pizza to list of iconic area pizzerias

Buffalonians are a loyal lot, especially to pizzerias. We’d like to add Lovejoy Pizza to the list of iconic joints that includes Bocce, La Nova, Imperial and Blasdell.

The original location on Lovejoy Street is in the heart of Buffalo’s Iron Island. In October 2012, a second location opened near the Medical Campus.

Little did I know when I moved into Sloan with the Significant Other I’d gain access to the famed pie joint. Friends and family often ask us to host a “Lovejoy Pizza Party.” (We thought they were coming to see us.)

The menu is loaded with choices from tacos, fajitas and wraps ($4.50-$6.50) and salads ($6.50-$9.95) to pizzas and subs. The food has names that make us laugh, like Frank’s (an owner) Three Cheese Steak Pizza. Under “Anthony’s Classics” (another owner) folks will find subs that feature iconic Lovejoy streets or references.

Subs come whole (12-inch) or mini (8-inch), like the Reiman St. steak sub ($9.74/$8.50) topped with sautéed mushrooms, onion, spinach and baked with mozzarella.

Named for the giant water reservoir at the end of Lovejoy Street where kids hang out, the “Rez Monster” ($9.25) sub is filled with deep fried Atlantic cod, Swiss and American cheeses, tartar sauce, lettuce and tomato. Funny!

The Big Timer’s Club is a private Italian club down the street from Lovejoy Pizza. The Big Timer ($10.95/$8.95) is also a steak and Italian sausage sub with mushrooms, onions, hot or sweet peppers.

It goes on and on.

Our mini Davey St. ($8.25/$6.95) came with three large meatballs dipped in meaty gravy on a perfectly toasted roll. It was delicious, especially because of the mound of hot and gooey mozzarella.

The mini William St. ($10.95/$8.95) chicken sub came on toasted garlicky roll with tons of spinach and sliced stuffed hot peppers, plus a mountain of melted mozzarella. There’s also a steak version.

We’ve had good chicken fingers with fries from Lovejoy ($10.95 for five/$20.95 for 10). The large chicken finger wrap ($5.95) is just as good with a decent amount of fingers, lettuce, tomato and onions, served medium as requested. A side of straight cut fries is $3.50, so the combo is a little cheaper route to go.

Lovejoy excels at pizza — traditional, white and specialty. Just about all of the pies can be made personal (9-inch). A cheese and pepperoni is $7.50; white $8.50.

Lovejoy’s crust is not too thick or thin. Flavored crusts (garlic, sesame, onion, poppy, hot pepper, Cajun, deluxe) are no extra charge.

Our personal Papa Frank ($9) was topped with ricotta cheese, spinach, mozzarella and Romano cheeses. We had red sauce, but white is available. The perfectly crisp crust was topped a healthy amount of cheeses, including creamy ricotta and just enough red sauce to keep it clean, not sloppy.

The personal Kansas Steak Pie ($9.50) was absolutely delicious. Marinated steak, mushrooms, roasted peppers, onions, fresh garlic, then Parmesan, mozzarella, provolone and cheddar. We loved the meaty-mushroomy taste under all that cheese.

The quintessential Lovejoy pie is Big John’s (another owner) World Famous Stuffed Hot Pepper ($9.95). We’ve had regular sizes, so we bet the personal is just as good. Topped with sliced stuffed hot peppers, it’s cheesy and spicy at the same time.

Don’t hesitate on the meaty wings. Single ($9) come regular sauce or “from the pit” ($10 single) in a variety of types like Asian, char barbecue, honey garlic, honey mustard and Louisiana Cajun. (It’s not on the menu, but ask about honey sriracha.)

Like most pizzerias, Lovejoy Pizza has everyday pizza and wing specials including a large cheese and pepperoni for $14.25 on Monday and Tuesday. The pizza box reads, “Simply The Best” and we have to agree.

Lovejoy Pizza

Where: 1244 Lovejoy St.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 3 to 10 p.m. Sunday (noon during football season).

Where: 900 Main St.

Hours: 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and noon to 9:30 p.m. Sunday.

Info for both locations: lovejoypizza.com

Extras: Limited seating at both locations with bar stools/shelf table. Takeout and delivery.

Wheelchair accessible: No.

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