Stare into the cheese and pepperoni Rorschach and tell me what you see. Love? A spark of joy? Pride and power are also acceptable answers, Junior, but we’re not working on daddy issues until we’re four slices deep.
Lovejoy Pizza – with two locations, including one in a neighborhood on the edge of Sloan – is a fitting name for a pie of passion, and it's clawing its way into the conversation for top pie in the city proper among the ultra-secret society of Buffalo pizza snobs (we meet at the Angola rest stop on Wednesdays).
Here’s the SparkNotes with some key talking points you can reach for should you be caught cornered with a Domino’s slice on your person while you wait for your lawyer.
Dough: (A-) The Lovejoy dough is about as high as I want climb on the fluff scale. It’s about a quarter-inch thick with textbook bubbly puff making up the bottom two-thirds and a chewy soft dough cap topping it off. Underneath it all sits a uniformly browned buttery undercarriage that flakes and mostly supports itself, but doesn’t quite crunch like it does in my dreams. Yet the crust, although tender inside, may crack a bit too much for my liking. Semantics.
In all, a great dough.
Cheese: (A+) Harry, we’ve reached the top! A gooey power layer nearly as thick as the dough it’s smoldering over. This cheese is top dog not only due to diesel quantity and a stretch certified to bungee-cord safety standards, but the beauty of the stained-glass surface shimmering 50 shades of brown.
It’s pretty much as good as it gets, and a lot of that is due to a patience and a commitment to cheese gluttons in perhaps nature’s most perfect symbiotic relationship.
Sauce: (A-) Variety is the spice of life, and spice is flowing, my friends. A pleasantly acidic bite on an ever so slightly chunky sauce adding some texture to what can sometimes be an all too mushy experience. A welcome subtle contrast to the typical liquid velvet that tends to ooze from every orifice on the classic Buffalo slice.
Pepperoni: (B+) Standard, deliciously spicy and fatty pepperoni in what I consider to be average quantity (eight to 10 per slice) with above-average char. Another crunch contributor to break up the goo ball that cheese and dough can sometimes form into when not properly cared for by a pizza professional. Consult your doctor and find out if cup and char is right for you.
Overall: (A) A testament to the power of a proper bake, Lovejoy is a pizza that seems outdo itself with every progressive order.
Allentown residents, this is the place you call when you want a bulletproof pie to evangelize the gospel of Buffalo pizza to unfortunate out-of-towners from the pizza desert no matter the circumstances. As the adage from the hit movie "Pizza of Dreams" goes, “If you brown it, he will come,” and Lovejoy Pizza is clearly following in the footsteps of the great Kevin Costner.
Pairing perfect oven love with sacred exacting dough and cheese ratios, Lovejoy is cranking out sexy slices in exemplary form and execution. Well done.
Address: 900 Main St. and 1244 E. Lovejoy St.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; noon to 8:30 p.m. Sunday. (Lovejoy location remains open an additional half-hour Monday through Saturday, and one hour later on Sunday.)
Lunch deal: Two slices and 20-ounce pop, $6.
Large cheese and pepperoni: $17.95.
Deal: Large cheese and pepperoni on Monday and Tuesday for $16.95.
Exotic pizza: The Yum-Yum Pizza ($21.50, large): Mozzarella, Romano, Parmesan, provolone, homemade Italian sausage, Capocollo, sautéed onions (available red or white).
. . .
A: Certified "Sexy"