Field Report: Mario & Salvo's, DeWitt, New York

Here's some community member intel from upstate in 'Cuse country reported by Brian Smith (aka billbillet on Serious Eats). Thanks, Brian!

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[Photographs: Brian Smith]

Two months after moving from Manhattan to Syracuse, New York, several unsuccessful pizza sojourns have proven to me that places touting "New York-style pizza" do so because they have little identity of their own. And not much flavor to boot. But Mario & Salvo's in Dewitt, New York, a stone's throw from Syracuse city limits, does no such boasting, instead relying on above-average Neapolitan pies to do all of their talking.

Greeted by several still-warm pies in the display case, I ordered a plain and a mushroom slice, both of which took a minute turn back in the oven. The plain's somewhat salty cheese was mellowed out by a well-balanced sauce during my most-recent visit. In earlier stops, the sauce was too garlic-powder heavy, so it was nice to see, and taste, that the garlic had been toned down a bit. The slice was cheese- and sauce-heavy, but welcomed because they married well together, and the crust could handle it (more on that later).

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The mushroom slice was an exemplary blend of topping, sauce, and cheese, aided by chopped-garlic oil that is added midway through the baking process. It's that kind of attention to detail that helps Mario & Salvo's stand out from their Central New York competition.

The crusts on both slices were uniform and outstanding from tip to end crust, with the latter having a heavenly, almost bottom-of-the-bagel consistency that yielded to delectable chewiness. In other words, the crust basically had its own crust.

Mario & Salvo's menu is limited to calzones, a few pasta dishes, salads, Buffalo wings, and cold and hot sandwiches (including a crusty, gooey meatball parm I devoured during my first visit). The bright corner store in a strip mall opened in 1992, and the clean, simple decor of eight or so white formica tables and red chairs lead me to believe that not much has changed in 19 years, including the pizza-making process.

In an area with plenty of pretenders, that's a very good thing. —Brian Smith

Mario & Salvo's

4326 East Genesee Street, Dewitt NY (map)
315-446-8479

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