It was during blizzard conditions in the Old First Ward, when I pulled my car over to step inside The Barrel Factory. I heard that Buffalo’s Best Cucina had opened a couple of days earlier, so after meeting with friends over at the Hydraulic Hearth (just around the corner in Larkinville) for Happy Hour, I decided that I would stop in to pick up a couple of pizzas to take home.
After stomping off the snow from my boots at the front door, I moseyed over to the restaurant, which is set up in similar fashion to an eatery that you might come across at the EXPO (Market Arcade). I was met by proprietor Roger Bell, who was also on the cooking shift at that moment. Although I knew that I was in the mood for pizza, I took some time to mull over the menu, which was chock full of all sorts of interesting items, such as tuna poke, escargot, beer mussels, BLT deviled eggs, charcuterie melt, Buffalo steak gouda mac & cheese… take a look for yourself:
While I was certainly tempted to try a couple of the non-pizza items, such as the Brussel sprout slaw, I decided to stick with the two pizzas – beef on weck, and fig and goat cheese. After placing my order I headed over to Lakeward Spirits distillery for a drink, which is an awesome scenario for those who are waiting for food orders to arrive. The visit afforded me a chance to try a new IPA from Pressure Drop Brewery. It also allowed for the blizzard-like conditions to subside.
Once the pizzas were ready, I scooped them up, thanked Roger, and bagan my trek home. Upon arrival to my kitchen, I popped the pizza box lids open and immediately knew that my wife and I were in for a treat. Without even trying a bite, I realized that this type of pizza was different. The toppings looked straight out of a NYC-style pizzeria, especially on the fig and goat cheese. But the dough/crust was thicker, like a traditional Buffalo-style pizza. They looked to be a hybrid of the two cities. They were also cooked in a gas operated pizza oven that had the look of a wood oven.
It turned out that I was a fan of both pizzas, and couldn’t decide which I liked better. The beef on weck pizza was a lot heavier of course. I believe that the dough was even a tad thicker, but that could have been a trick of the mind, since it was so much denser in general. The horseradish cream on the beef on weck was also good, even though I wish it could have been stronger, maybe in pockets. Salt and caraway crust would have been pretty awesome too, in order to kick it into full Buffalo gear.The fig pizza was not overly sweet. The goat cheese was a nice addition, along with the peppery arugula. The red onion was also a good addition. Both pizzas were real winners in my book. My wife liked the fig pizza better, in general.
Not only am I super happy to have a new quality pizza joint to go to, I’m also psyched that it’s at The Barrel Factory – a place that I have become very fond of since they initially opened. There’s a wonderful atmosphere, great food and drink, in an area of the city that has been doing its best to captivate the hearts and souls of Buffalonians in recent years.