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Buffalo Pizza Review

Quest begins to rank the best Buffalo pizza, starting at Wise Guys

Hi, I’m @SexySlices and I am on a quest. Yes, a quest. There’s no dragons or wizards, and in all humility not much magic, but by definition definitely a quest. Look it up. Just setting expectations in advance so you can’t blame me when the elves don’t show up by the third review. That’s on you, bud.

Since 2015, I’ve been anonymously documenting my quest to rank all the pizza in Buffalo in the hunt for the "sexiest slices." It's a quest I’d likely have abandoned had I known it would involve tackling 600-plus pizzerias and losing a little dignity along the way, but who’s laughing now, Dad? To date, I’ve officially reviewed more than 100 of Buffalo’s fine (and not so fine) pizzerias across my social media platforms (@SexySlices on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook). Now, I’m bringing the action to you in The Buffalo News, where I'll regularly report back on another area pizzeria.

I grade “A” through “F” on four categories (dough, cheese, sauce and pepperoni), and average the scores for an overall grade.

Ranking guide:

  • A: Certified "Sexy"
  • B: Solid
  • C: Meh
  • D: Bad
  • F: Garbage

I have my rules: Only cheese and pepperoni pizzas to maintain the baseline. No special orders. No name-dropping. No tampering. No scrubs. Some things are going to score differently based on preference, so I try to call that out when appropriate. If you like sweet sauce, you can start sharpening that pitchfork now.

I eat and review pizza under the cloak of anonymity for a few reasons apart from the thrill of the masquerade. First is that I don’t want a special experience. No free pizzas. No bribes. No extra prep. No meet and greet. No baby kissing. I want the same amazing or terrible experience the person in front of me is getting. Buffalo is small and my handsome mug is stunning and memorable. Just ask my grandma.

[Related: How one anonymous man made reviewing Buffalo pizza his mission]

The other benefit is unbridled judgment. We’re a city of passionate pizza people, as it should be. @SexySlices is set up to keep the focus on the product.

There’s a lot to tackle, so let’s get right into it.

[Related: This is Buffalo, where pepperoni pizza matters]

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Slam that pumpkin spice latte, buttercup, because we're leaving the lululemon in the pumpkin patch in favor of U-pick pizza. You're on my time now and your Instagram followers will thank you. An all-season fruit, today we're harvesting in the sketchy gardens of South Buffalo on Seneca Street at Wise Guys back where the @SexySlices pizza review all began in 2015. Long ago part of the Zip’s-Wise Guys on Hertel Avenue that has since closed, this location, strictly branded Wise Guys, was split off, sold and is now cranking out pies as an entirely separate faction. Another yarn line is pinned to the corkboard of Buffalo Pizza connections.

Dough: (A-) If the Wonder Bread basket of Western New York has got you down, Wise Guys might be the alternative you’re seeking. A rare thin variant on the tender fluffy Buffalo dough, it’s crisp, perfectly chewy and slightly poofed, but sheds the sometimes gummy heft of the common regional recipe. Missing the cracking crunch I tend to prefer on the undercarriage, it gets bonus points for dough bubble action. Stop popping crispy pockets of fluffy oven love, Buffalo.

Cheese: (A-) A pinnacle of proportion with top quality product. A couple of gaps in the blanket, but Tiny Tim’s gonna make it to next Christmas under the molten bubble of this heavy-handed mozzarella mat. Caramelized to near perfection, the salty bite and chew on this cheese adds great flavor and textural contrast to the fatty crunch of the pepperoni-pocked surface. Just a few thin spots.

Sauce: (A+) It's advertised as a sweet sauce, but thankfully it’s not coming across that way for me. Force-fed the crimson molasses that ran red in the streets of my Northtowns youth (still mad, fam), I can’t stand a pie tainted by sugary sauce. If this is sweet, then it’s incredibly well-balanced with an acidic bite and fragrant herbaceous finish. A touch velvety, but never rich. Firmly in my Top 3 in the category.

Pepperoni: (A) On a good day, you’re hoping for eight to 10 pieces of pepperoni per slice. Wise Guys is over-indexing and it’s with ol’ reliable cup-and-char. Spicy, crispy, tongue-coating chewy grease pools – I’m not suggesting you sip 'em like a fine whiskey, but I’m not not suggesting that either. More char and a thicker cut would bump this to the beyond.

Overall: (A) Up from B+ in 2015. I’m proud of you, Wise Guys.

A Seneca Street staple in the heated pizza battleground of South Buffalo, Wise Guys Pizza is making a pie you can't refuse (I’m so sorry). You might be one small step further from the grave by abstaining from a slice. Who knows? The science is still shaky on the long-term side effects of cheese and pep. What is known is this is a certified bomb pizza that as your greasy consigliere I’m advising you associate with. A hybrid style Buffalo pie with a slight New York accent, Wise Guys is honoring tradition but doing so one step outside the lines.

Wise Guys Pizza Manager Stephen "Stepheno" Olson. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

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Wise Guys Pizza

Address: 1965 Seneca St., Buffalo (826-8406).

Hours: 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Thursday and Friday, 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday.

Lunch deal: Two slices and a 20-ounce pop, $6.

Large cheese and pepperoni: $17.

Deal: $12 large cheese and pepperoni pie on Tuesdays.

Exotic pizza: Tony Soprano ($22 for a large): Beer cheese base, spicy chicken, provolone, mozzarella, cheddar, topped with sun-dried tomatoes and thick-cut bacon drizzled with Buffalo Brewing Company's 1841 Irish Ale Glaze.

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