Pusties & Pies A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY

Filet Mignon
2011/09/26 19:09:40
Friday Sept. 16th - Time once again for a trip to my hometown of Rome, NY to run the annual Delta Lake Half Marathon. Naturally, I had some RF goals in mind before I even bought my train ticket.  The plan was to go on a tomato pie/bbq ham sandwich quest to as many place as possible in 4 days along with trying out some other regional specialties.  It didn't work out quite as planned but I ended up being pretty happy with the results.  As soon as I arrived in Rome my uncle picked me up at the station and then I relaxed at my mom's house for a bit.  When her husband came home, we went out to dinner at our old standby, Teddy's Restaurant.  I love the likeness of TR as their logo.

Located in a fairly nondescript strip mall Teddy's had been serving up some tasty food for almost 20 years.

The two main themes at Teddy's are teddy bears...

and Teddy Roosevelt.

Mom and I split an order of Italian Style Greens, a local favorite (aka Utica Style Greens), Teddy's sautes escarole with garlic and olive oil as do many other restaurants but they also add capicola, bread crumbs, romano cheese and hot peppers.  I passed on the peppers as I didn't want anything too spicy within a couple of days of the race.  These were really good.  The earthy flavor of the greens was present, they had a slight crunch and the other ingredients rounded it out nicely.  

I opted for a Chicken Parmesan sandwich with french fries.  The fries were not fresh cut but good nonetheless.  The sandwich was great as I've always had a great experience with their parmesan.  The chicken is crispy underneath all that sauce and the browned mozzarella.  

WWbbD?  WWbbD?  I do love Coconut Cream pie and their pies ARE homemade, but...

I don't find Toll House Pie on the menu in very many places so I had to get it.  As a nice bonus, the waitress asked if I wanted it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Uh, YES!!  Just like a Toll House chocolate chip cookie (with nuts) in convenient pie form.  I think BB would approve.  A very rich end to a terrific meal.  

More to come...
post edited by billyboy - 2012/08/25 12:09:39
TJ Jackson
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/09/26 20:28:01
Is it just me, or is the name "pusties" rather unappetizing, no matter how good the actual eats are?
Kinda like it is something that erupts on your skin and is painful and ugly :-)
post edited by TJ Jackson - 2011/09/26 20:29:04
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/09/27 08:53:48
That's a great casual meal...the greens look really good!
Is it a "runner thing" to avoid spicy foods a day or 2 before a race?
Filet Mignon
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/09/27 12:14:03
TJ, ewwww!
Brad, thanks!  One of my faves at Teddy's.  I'm guessing it is a "thing" for many runners.  Personally I have experienced heartburn while running after having spicy food so I decided to cut it out close to race day.  Between races, however, is another story.  Love my spicy food!
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/09/27 12:46:15
I most definitely approve, although I would have probably gone for the peanut butter cup pie.  But then, I'm silly that way.
Looking forward to reading about pusties!
ann peeples
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/09/27 13:09:04
Isnt it fun to go home and still have great food? Looking forward to more...
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/09/27 14:14:18
For those who might be more familiar with the Italian names of foods: what are called pusties in the Utica, NY region are really pasticiotti.  It's a Utica thing with Italian food.  For instance, there's a pasta called hats that's very popular in Utica.  These are actually orecchiette (which, in Italian, means ears, not hats - but they do look more like hats).  Chicken riggies is easier - rigatoni - but I've never heard anyone in Utica call them anything but riggies.
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/09/27 14:53:21
I'm from the Utica Rome area and  calling rigatoni, riggies is a relative new expression. The  dish has only been around since the 80's, originating either in utica or clinton ny depending who you ask. As it is no two restaurants make them the same, the sauce can range from alfredo, pink or marinara
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/09/27 15:27:38
billyboy, I had to make a slightdetour to Utica on my way home from Boston a couple weeks ago, and all I kept thinking about was the pictures of pizza you posted.  I stopped several places around the city trying to pirate some internet service, all I got was NOTHING!  I ended up at Voss', which was excellent as usual.
Also, I couldn't find a beer distributor.  Heck, there is one on every corner in my area.  I wanted to take some Utica Club home for my Father-in-Law.  I ended up at a mini-mart just outside of the city.  They had stacks of beer all around the store.  I asked for UC, the girl looked at me strange and said they don't carry it.
Next trip I hope to get some time to make plans from your trip reports
Filet Mignon
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/09/27 16:09:01
UPDATE:  On a sad note, Sugared Plum Ovens Bakery closed at the end of July 2012, owing the the local economy in Central NY.  They posted it on their Facebook page.  Thank you to Roadfooder ynotryme for the heads-up.  Saturday Sept. 17th - I began the day on a quest for tomato pie and bbq ham sandwiches but it turned into something slightly different, which wasn't a bad thing...  I started doing research on where to go and soon found out that in addition to local bakeries, many pizzerias sold tomato pie but only as a whole pie.  I was hoping I could walk in and they might have a slice available.  If I hadn't yet tried the pie at a particular place I didn't want to commit to buying a whole pie only to find I didn't really like it.  My first stop of the day was at Sugared Plum Ovens Bakery in Rome, NY.  Nestled on a side street near the Capitol Theatre where I first performed as Benvolio in "Romeo & Juliet", this has been on my radar for a while.

They do sell whole tomato pies as well as slices.  

I opted for a slice and I apologize for the low quality of this shot, the best of a bad lot.  I spoke with owner/baker Ronda Bauer for some time and she said that the sauce and dough for this are from a family recipe.  The sauce had some herbs in it and a good texture that wasn't pasty as some can be.  The crust was chewy and a had a slight crispness to it.  This was a good slice and I would definitely come back for more.  The display case may have said hot but this slice was only somewhat warm which is exactly how I like it and how most tomato pie I have eaten over the years is traditionally served.  

When I spied the pusties, I knew I'd have to try one.  Though Ronda and her staff make seasonal goods and that pumpkin version looked good I went with a classic vanilla.  The more commonly known name for these treats is pasticiotti but in casual conversation I have always called them and heard them referred to as "pusties".  

The way to tell the chocolate and vanilla apart is the vanilla has the little button on top and the chocolate one does not.

Nice ratio of filling to crust and the vanilla had a fresh flavor to it.  The crust had a hint of sweetness to it and the texture reminded me of shortbread.  Ronda said this dough was also a family recipe.  She was really sweet and a joy to talk to.  I plan to make it back on my next trip to sample much more of her menu!

post edited by billyboy - 2013/06/06 09:09:03
Filet Mignon
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/09/27 16:57:36
07/19/15:  NOTE - B & L Italian Bakery has been closed for some time but I had forgotten to update this thread.  I can gone back to Rome to visit family and stopped at Big Daddy's for a sub when I noticed they were using different rolls and looked across the street to see that B & L was no more.  The next stop of the day was one I had passed on my way to Sugared Plums.  B & L Italian Bakery has been a mainstay on North James Street in Rome, NY for as long as I can remember.  Sadly, this was the first time I had ever set foot in here.  Upon walking in to the tiny, dimly lit space I immediately realized I had been eating their rolls for years.  They supply the sub rolls for my beloved Big Daddy Sandwiches across the street!  I didn't feel comfortable taking pictures inside as it was so small.  Not much fanfare here, just a local place doing the same thing for many years.  The woman at the counter was pretty nice.


And they have pasticiotti!  Chocolate or vanilla.  

I found that many places in Rome & Utica tend to have varying hours so I thought posting them might be helpful, but as the Roadfood motto goes, "Call ahead!".  

Mixing it up a bit, I bought a chocolate one this time.  One of my friends had recommended their cinnamon buns but I was on a quest to keep it real (regionally real, that is!) whenever possible!

Taken on the armrest in the car!  The dough was crumbly and a bit sweet but there was enough filling and that threw it somewhat out of balance for me.  I enjoyed it but not as much as I wanted to.  Definitely would go back for more of their baked goods.  

Ferlo's Bakery on the corner of East Bloomfield Street and Floyd Avenue in Rome, NY is another place that has been around (115 years!) and yet somehow I never went in there until this trip.  Talk about a Roadfood blind spot!

Everything on here sounds good to me.  I could go for some macaroni and sauce right about now with a crusty loaf for swiping my plate at the end!

 They only had tomato pie by the box...

but I asked if they would sell me a slice and they happily obliged.  I thought the sauce had a sweetness and was well balanced by the romano cheese but the crust seemed somewhat bland and lacking in crispness.  I like a crispy/chewy texture.  I did make a mistake in not asking for a corner slice with more edge crust.  Perhaps a return visit is needed...!

Homemade cinnamon sugar donuts?  Hehehe!

Of course I had to buy one.  Like that WASN'T going to happen!

An excellent donut.  Soft on the inside, nice crispy outside and plenty of cinnamon sugar coating.

They also make another local specialty, the half moon cookie, which I insanely passed on to instead try...

a pustie!

Chocolate once again.

A decent version but the filling didn't have a great chocolately flavor that I had hoped for and it could have used more to avoid that air pocket in the middle.

Even though not everything was a winner for me, I'd come back again to work my way through their breads (and maybe a half moon or two).
post edited by billyboy - 2015/07/19 13:53:59
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/09/27 17:16:45
the best Italian bread in the us. Billyboy, you never went  to DanDee Donuts growing up? They were the former home of Ferlos
Filet Mignon
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/09/27 17:31:40
After I left Ferlo's Bakery around 12:00noon (and found a $5 bill on the ground in the parking lot) I figured it was time to head over to Utica to tackle a large number of stops I still had on my list.  I had already missed out on a diner that made a bbq ham sandwich as they would be closing before I got there and one of the tomato pie places tends to run out before they close at 3pm so I had to make haste.  
Stop number 5 for this day was Joe's Pizza in Whitesboro, NY (between Rome and Utica)


They do bake at home pizzas but having been making them for 47 years I think I'll leave it to them and not my own pizza baking ability!  The one catch with their tomato pie is that you have to call in and order it 24 hrs in advance.  Not sure why and I forgot to ask.  They usually have a few slices wrapped up in the refrigerated beverages case.  I had a nice conversation with the woman at the counter and I explained my tomato pie quest saying that many people in NYC don't know what it is.  She told me the story of a man from Long Island who orders about 2 dozen every year after he had brought them to his friends years ago and now they demand them!

One slice to go and ready for it's close-up on a nearby newspaper box.  I enjoyed this as I did last year on my first visit before the Boilermaker Road Race.  The sauce has some herbs in it and is slightly sweet.  The crust had a nice brownness to it but the texture was more bready than pizza crust to me.  

The pre-baked pizza shells.  Not a style seen too often, I had a mozzarella and mushroom last year with my friends (extra crispy crust requested) and it's definitely worth a visit.  Thanks again to Roadfooders ynotryme & euclid for putting me on to this place.

I couldn't resist getting a shot of this!

Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/09/27 17:41:08
As always, a great report!  A question about one of the menu items at Joe's Pizza -- what is a "Hot Tunnel?"  Is that a hero sandwich / sub sandwich?
Filet Mignon
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/09/27 18:10:22
BB, thanks!  I've got 2 more pustie stops coming up as well as a couple of pie stops that are not tomato pie.
Ann, thanks!  It's amazing how many places I simply wasn't aware of growing up here but now that I think about food so much more the eating landscape has really opened up for me.
Bruce, I don't think I have ever tried hats anywhere in Utica/Rome before despite seeing them on menus for years.  Any time I have seen or made orecchiette it always looked like ears and the hats that I have seen others eat always looked like the conical hats that (Italian?) clowns wore.
Ynotryme, I may be from that generation that has always known them as riggies.  You're right, there really isn't a clear story on who or where they were first created.  I think I probably did go to Dan Dee but it feels as though it has been so many years that remembering is like looking at a faded photo in a shoebox.
JoeRogo!  I managed to squeeze in 2 stops at Voss' on this trip!  There are beer distributors in Utica but I didn't think you drive there and buy beer.  I thought they just brought it to the local sellers.  There are two that I know of Tri Valley Beverage on Rte. 233 in Westmoreland and McCraith Beverages on Burrstone Road just down the road a ways from Voss'.  I think they may only do wholesale business.  I'm not sure who is brewing Utica Club these days but you may want to contact the F.X. Matt/Saranac Brewery.  I never really drank it but you might be able to contact them about where to find it.  Here is their Family Brands page:  http://www.saranac.com/page/family-brands.  Ahh, I forgot about Marcy Discount Beverage Center:  http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/3860/
Filet Mignon
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/09/27 18:14:40
Ivy, thanks!  I think "tunnel" is what many sandwich/pizza shops in the region use to describe a hot sandwich (meatball, chicken parm, eggplant parm, etc...) on a long (hero, hoagie) type of roll.
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/09/27 18:29:56
to really appreciate Joe's you have to try at least a slice of thier sausage pizza, it's spread across the shell before they add the cheese
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/09/27 18:44:19
billyboy the hats that I have seen others eat always looked like the conical hats that (Italian?) clowns wore.

Me, I think they look most like Chico Marx's hat.  Either way, they are a very comical pasta.
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/09/27 22:35:47
TJ Jackson

Is it just me, or is the name "pusties" rather unappetizing, no matter how good the actual eats are?

Kinda like it is something that erupts on your skin and is painful and ugly :-)

You mean like a pustule?
They both have creamy centers.
Filet Mignon
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/09/27 23:02:27
Bruce, THAT'S the hat I was thinking of!!  Chico!
TJ Jackson
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/09/27 23:42:19
so pusties are never filled with something savory, only sweet custards?
Filet Mignon
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/09/27 23:59:04
TJ, I think so.  I've never heard of a savory one.
Filet Mignon
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/09/28 02:43:47
If there is one place I absolutely must stop when I'm in town, then it has to be Roma Sausage & Deli on Bleecker Street in Utica, NY.  I'm not sure how many years it has been around but my family and friends have been telling me for years that it's a great place to get fresh pasta, sauces and sausages that are all made in-house and everyone I speak to has said they make the best tomato pie around.  I was first introduced to it when my sister brought home two whole tomato pies a couple of years ago and it was love at first bite for me.  My reaction upon tasting this for the first time was similar to that of my first bite of the burger at Peter Luger's in Brooklyn and the Florentine cannoli from Mike's Pastry in Boston.  I felt as though something special was going on and it really was a transformative experience for me.  Just knowing something this good exists in the world makes it a better place.  

They do close earlier on Saturdays and Sunday so I made sure to call ahead to verify their hours for today.

Homemade sauce

Homemade hats, cavateli, fusilli and at good prices too.

They also carry cheese curds from a local dairy, another big seller in Central NY.  These ones are regular, spicy and pesto flavored.  I didn't try any this time but perhaps next trip.

I saw these thought of Tony Bad mentioning this on the NYC Nosh tour last Nov. as well as my friend Marisa having this in her apartment.

Luckily I didn't have to contribute!

I was planning on getting a whole pie anyway but in the interest of fair comparison to the other places I tried I felt I should get a slice that was pre-wrapped and sitting out on the counter.  Having a fresh pie and a slice that has been sitting out (or in a refrigerated case) for a while are two very different experiences.  

I made it to the hood of mom's car for the "centerfold spread" for the Sept. '11 issue...  As I was shooting a woman walked by and arched a brow or two my way while I did my best Austin Powers impression with that slice.  "Yes, the camera LOVES you, baby!"  She said, "And you're taking pictures of tomato pie because...?"  I explained that I live in NYC and not a lot of people down there or in other parts of the country are familiar with it and that I post on Roadfood about my eating experiences.  This seemed to make sense to her as she smiled and said, "Have fun and click away!"  This pie is still amazing, even the slice that has been out for a while in plastic wrap.  I prefer their sauce as it is really sweet with lots of chunks of tomatoes and no herbs in it.  I just taste sweet tomatoes.  They are always generous with the romano cheese (or maybe parmesan) on top and some slices get a more liberal coating than others which makes each one a surprise on the tongue.  The deal closer for me is their crust.  It strikes a perfect balance of crispy and chewy each time and it always has a great flavor to it.  This particular slice had some errant cheese at the edge than baked right into the crust and amped up the flavor even more.  

By this point I'm guessing that some of you might be thinking, "Hey Billy, don't you have a big race tomorrow morning?  Exactly how much Roadfood are you planning on eating today?"  Well, I'm glad you asked because I had a plan.  I would eat half of what I bought and bring the rest home for the family or I could nibble on it over the next two days.  I did break that rule at Roma by also scarfing down three slices from the box before getting in the car.  Two eyewitnesses to the crime, Mr. Shame and Ms. Guilt disappeared soon after and have not been heard from since.

Within walking distance from Roma Sausage is Napoli's Italian Bakery & Deli.  

An Italian provisions store similar to Roma, they carry pastas, sauces and a variety of cold cuts.  I think they make their own pasta but they are primarily a bakery.

I've heard that the sausage and spinach rolls are good so that may go on the master list for another trip to CNY.

I came here last year to try the tomato pie and thought it was okay.  I still feel the same way about it.  The sauce has some herbs in it that distract from the tomato flavor and the crust is okay bust doesn't really stand out to me in terms of texture or flavor.  Still, I would return again only I would check out their spinach and/or sausage rolls.  


Taking a break from tomato pie for a few minutes I drove down Bleecker Street, through a dicey neighborhood to say the least, and hoped I wouldn't run into the Italian festival that was happening on this day.  As luck would have it the festival was small enough to be held in a vacant lot and I found my next destination, the RF reviewed Florentine Pastry Shop with plenty of parking across the street.  


I'm guessing there must enough people still around from the old country to have hours in both languages.

My name is Billyboy and I approve this message!  Sorry Cliff, had to steal that one from ya!

Florentine makes lots of pastries but locals in the know come for the pasticciotti or pusties as they are informally known.

I picked up a chocolate pustie... 

and W-O-W!!!  Everything about this was so incredibly right from the very first bite.  The dough had a crispy, crumbly, buttery texture and flavor to it and the ratio of filling to dough was just right and the filling tasted of rich chocolate custard.

I spotted this Coconut Cream pasticciotti... 

and just when I thought this experience couldn't get any better...

DOUBLE W-O-W!!!!!!  First, I was drawn in visually by the golden and singed coconut on top and was justly rewarded with a flavor not unlike that one marshmallow that burned a bit too much at the campfire (that always seemed to happen to me!).  But just a hint of that and not overwhelming in any way.  The dough was just as good as the other one and the filling inside tasted like the best coconut cream pie I have ever had.  Cliff, if you make another trip through Utica you really must stop and try these pusties.  Definitely worth a detour to say the least!  The only bad thing I have to note is that I had to keep my promise to myself to only eat half.  I ended up taking both halves home and giving them to my mom which she thoroughly enjoyed later that evening while we played a card game of pitch as I, um, carb-loaded for the race with more slices of tomato pie.  Hey, that crust HAS carbs!

When we return:  more pie (tomato and then some!), pusties, bbq sandwiches and yes, some running!  Stay tuned...
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/09/28 08:08:32
When we were headed to the Baseball Hall of Fame a few months ago, we stopped in at Florentine Pastry Shop and were wowed also.  We purchased one of four different kinds and their wasn't a loser in the bunch, but I think the vanilla was my personal favorite.  Thanks so much for the tips on the other pusty shops around Utica, too.
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/09/28 11:27:27
And the story behind the backwards "z"s in "Joe's Pizza" is...?
I do believe I'd like a slice or 2 of that garlic pizza from Sugared Plum!
Filet Mignon
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/09/29 12:38:08
BB, think I may have to return to Florentine to try more of them.  I think they had apple, raspberry and lemon too!  There is lots of unexplored RF in that section of Utica east of Genesee Street.
Brad, that garlic pizza did look good and I was tempted but I didn't want to overdo it at my first stop of the day.  Not sure about the "zz"s but I'd guess the signmaker may have made a mistake and they just left it that way.
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/09/29 13:04:50
Joe's original location burned down and they moved to another location on rt 69 before they moved back to main street and all of their signs had backward zz's in their signs.
Billyboy , don't you eat rumcake anymore? you have to order it the day before if you want one.
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/09/29 15:42:25
Why do I come on this site when I haven't eaten lunch yet? Awesome job and nice photography!
Filet Mignon
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/10/01 08:43:01
After leaving swooning over the pusties at Florentine I made my way to the Patio Drive-In on Oriskany Blvd. in Utica.  For some reason I had never heard of this place until fellow RFer cecif had gone there back in 2009.  After reading about her wonderful experience I was very eager to try it for myself.  I had attempted to stop there Labor Day weekend 2010 but they were closed (for the holiday, I presume).  

I grabbed a seat at one of the cool counter stools...


I know that chili dogs are a specialty of the house but I was on a quest for a ham bar-b-que sandwich! 

The potato salad was mayo based, creamy and quite good.

While the Patio doesn't butter and toast the bun as I have grown used to at many other places, the bun was pillowy, soft and very fresh.  And as is the custom for this kind of sandwich, the ham was pulled from a warm water bath and warmed up/sizzled on the flat top and and doused with bar-b-que sauce.  Many places put thinly sliced/shaved ham on a bun but here it is a bit thicker and with a little more character and chew and I liked that.  

I was eager to try some of their homemade pie as cecif had tried it and really liked it on her visit.  I saw this table top sign when I first came and maybe I'm getting cynical but it just seemed a bit too professionally staged so I asked the girl behind the counter, "Where do you get your pies from?"  "Sysco", she replied.  I passed on trying the pie.  BB, did you have any pie here when you were in the area this summer?

While I was let down by the pie, I really did enjoy this place and I hope to return for the chili dogs and to spend a bit more time here chatting with the staff.
Next on the hit list was Holland Farms Bakery & Deli on Oriskany Blvd. in Yorkville for a slice of tomato pie and a ham bbq sandwich.  Just look for the twin cows!

No half moons for Billyboy today.  Unfortunately, there is only one person at Holland Farms who knows how to make the ham bbq sandwich and she only works Mon-Fri so it was not to be on this day.



I started out with a very rich, tasty Byrne Dairy chocolate milk.  

There were about 2-3 slices of tomato pie left pre-wrapped at the cash register.  This was just okay.  A bit chewy but lacking in any crispness and the sauce had a taste similar to tomato paste.  

While in line to pay I spied pusties in the case ahead of me so I picked up a chocolate.  Very good with a pronounced chocolate flavor and a sweet shortbread-like dough.  Be careful when eating this though as the filling will drip out and I almost caught some on my sneaker! My apologies for not getting a shot of the cross section as I may have been approaching a food coma at this point!

I was experiencing some issues with my phone on this day and I had missed some phone called from my family and from my friend, Marissa who I was supposed to meet as Voss' Bar B Q for lunch. When we finally got in touch she was across town and we agreed to meet at Pumpernickel's Deli in the New Hartford Shopping Center to pick up some pie.  She had told me they make some great homemade pies and I was sold.   Finding the shopping center is was easy enough but there really isn't any signage  to indicate where this deli is located and as it turns out it is down a tunnel leading to a courtyard in the middle of the shopping center.  They were about to close but Marissa made a phone call before we arrived and asked if they could just stay open for us long enough to grab some pie to-go.

    The owner is a big New York City fan and also of Broadway shows so we had a lot to talk about!

    This is just one of many displays featuring Playbills from hundreds of Broadway shows.

    Hmmm... what to do?  What. To. Do.

    They feature a mushroom stew which seems to be a regional specialty that shows up on local menus in the fall.  Sounds like a perfect meal around the time the leaves start crunching under my feet and the air gets that crisp feel!

    Marissa went for the Coconut Cream.  This was very good.  Light, creamy, with a nice scattering to toasted coconut and the crust is definitely homemade.

    I almost never see butterscotch pie on a dessert menu so I had to get it.  So good.  I wish more restaurants had this for dessert.  

    The crust was definitely homemade but it seemed a bit underbaked and could have benefitted from a bit of salted butter to give it some more flavor.  The only other quibble is that I think the whipped cream was from a can and it didn't transport well.  By the time we made the next stop it had melted and was a white puddle at the bottom of the container.  Still, I would definitely come back here to check out more of those desserts as well as the rest of the menu.

A couple of twists and turns after getting the pie we found ourselves at Voss BAR B Q on Oriskany Blvd. in Yorkville, NY.  

She had a hot dog while I picked up a bbq ham sandwich with extra sauce and  Mexi Burger.  I know, I broke my own rule by eating spicy food the day before a race but I just can't resist with this place!  Their sandwich is the one I use to measure all other CNY bbq ham sandwiches.  

A very sweet dog named Noble, doing his best Joe Cool impression!

And posing for the back-to-school catalog.  Very studious looking, wouldn't you say?

That's it for this day.  Coming up next...RACE DAY!!!
post edited by billyboy - 2015/07/19 13:56:27
ann peeples
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/10/01 10:44:07
Pusties sound like someting I would really enjoy.Especially the coconut!And the bbq ham sandwich is definately something I would order. Is it baked ham, or boiled ham? Is there a certain brand most restaurants use?
Filet Mignon
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/10/03 07:14:02
Sunday Sept. 18th - Well, race day finally came though I took these shots of the bridge, dam and Delta Lake the day before so I could concentrate on my run.  I came across the bridge around the 11.5 mile mark with my family waiting for me with Gatorade and cameras ready!

The view of the dam from the bridge.  I spent many a day fishing near the base of that dam.

It was really quite peaceful running by the lake.  Cool, breezy and just very quiet.  A nice respite from the craziness of NYC.  I had a nice surprise as my running coach, Doug, was in Syracuse visiting family and he shot over to Rome to run this with me.  He really liked the course and the conditions and hopefully we can make this a tradition.  There weren't a lot of spectators on the course as can be found in some of the bigger, more established races so when I approached the 2 mile mark and saw 7 members of my family all sitting in a row cheering me on and one of them ringing a cowbell I was pumped up.  Some of the runners I was keeping pace with wondered who had so many people waiting for them this early on a Sunday morning!


There were about 160 runners on this day and we passed by many corn fields as well.  

And a better shot of the dam.  When I was a kid, my grandma and I would walk down this road pretty frequently just to get some exercise, take in the dam and listen to the water rushing down over it.

My niece was waiting across the street from my former elementary school with Gatorade and water for me.  A welcome sight.  At first she was a bit shy when some of the runners came by and then one runner said, "Take the water from the little girl!" and then she really got into it.

Coming down the stretch towards the bridge.  Just a few of us left.  

Crossing the finish line...ahhhhh!!!   I came in about 3 minutes under my time for 2010 and ended up setting a personal record for myself at this distance!!

Did I just run that?  Am I really thinking of running 4 more miles?  Yup.  I knocked out 4 more that day to keep on pace with my marathon training.

The finisher's medal.

The organizer's put on a great race this year, had free massages at the end, raffle prizes, lot of food (Chobani yogurt, yesss!) and these really nice long sleeved tech running shirts.  

COMING UP NEXT...the Hall of Fame, back to Voss' BAR B Q, some pies and a half moon, finally!
post edited by billyboy - 2011/10/03 16:27:22
Filet Mignon
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/10/03 07:25:32
ynotryme, never cared much for rum cake or any cake or pastry that has alcohol in it for that matter.  Like alcohol, like cake, don't like them mixed together.
DirtDude, thanks!  Glad I could help!  
Ann, the ham is usually a slices or thinly shaved ham.  I'm not sure if it is boiled or baked but it seems that each place uses something different.  Not sure of the brands.  Some places keep it in a metal pan with warm water and then heated up on the flat top that also gives it a slight crust.
Filet Mignon
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/10/03 07:38:51
Monday Sept. 19th - My mom and I made a trip to the National Distance Running Hall of Fame in Utica, NY.  I had been meaning to come here on my last couple of trips but the timing had never worked out.  They are open Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm and weekends by appointment only but they do recommend that you call ahead regardless of the day you want to come as they may close early or be out to lunch.  Below is the countdown clock to the 2012 Boilermaker 15K Road Race.  Less than 293 days to go!  WOO HOO!!!


    The members of the Hall of Fame.

    The Ted Corbitt was the founding president of the New York Road Runners, the running group I joined two years ago when I first started on this crazy, awesome journey.

    Bill Rodgers is credited with igniting a widespread interest in running in the late 1970s-early 1980s that brought more than just lifers to the sport but everyday people looking to improve their health as well.  He ran the Boilermaker in 2010 as did I.  That's one of the great things about races.  You can run on the same course with professionals, cross the same finish line and receive the same finisher's medal.  Not too many other sports allow the average person to do that.  I'd love to run the base paths at Fenway but they might arrest me if I tried!

    Fred Lebow, founder of the NYC Marathon and president of the New York Road Runners for 20 years.  The race they run in his honor in Central Park every year is one of the first official races I ever ran.  Pretty cool feeling to cross that finish line.

    Amby Burfoot, editor of Runner's World magazine which has been very helpful to me in the past two years.

    Grete Waitz, 9-time NYC Marathon champion and huge presence and influence in women's running all over the world.  Sadly, she passed away earlier this year.

    Some servicemen in Baghdad ran their own Boilermaker in 2008 in honor of this local tradition.

    I love this ad and it really does sum up how I feel on many days.  Just getting out there and doing it is the goal.

    The evolution of Nike running shoes...



    One of my favorite publications (right up there with the Onion and Pre-mid 1980s Mad Magazine)

    Kathrine Switzer, the first female to officially enter and run the Boston Marathon (1967).  She was running alongside her boyfriend and at some point a race official rushed up on her and shouted, "Get out of my race!" and tried to grab her and force her off of the course.  Her boyfriend shoved him out of the way and she finished the race.  An inspiration to women everywhere.

    A likeness of Steve Prefontaine, the University of Oregon and Olympic runner who held numerous records in various distances and still is a huge influence on many runners today and whose life was cut tragically short in a car accident at age 24.

    Fred Lebow's memorabilia

    Kathrine Switzer's memorabilia

    Grete Waitz's memorabilia

Mom and I had a great time at the Hall of Fame and for me it brought another level of appreciation for what it takes to go out there day after day and put in the hard work and how running can be a something wonderfully transformative.
post edited by billyboy - 2011/10/03 10:54:58
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/10/03 10:48:46
What a terrific trip report, BB! I enjoy your focus on just a few food items that are specific to the area you are visiting. I thought I had read them all here on Roadfood, but "pusties" and "tunnels" are new to me!
Filet Mignon
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/10/03 15:26:57
This next RF stop was brought to you in part by the letter "E".  

After the Hall of Fame Mom and I decided to get lunch before I was to take the train back to NYC.  Mom was leaning towards Panera Bread but I convinced her that Voss BAR B Q would be the better choice!

Pancake breakfast, Spaghetti dinner benefit, Voss' usually has some local goings on posted in their window.

They just started selling ice cream pies!!  Yes!!!

My turkey BBQ sandwich (with extra sauce, of course).  Mom saw this and thought they had spilled the sauce by accident.  I assured her it was per my request and all part of the plan!  Plenty of sauce to mop up with the bun and as a dip for my fries.

A hot sausage sandwich with homemade chili on top.  Tasty but I wish the sausage had been hotter. The chili brought some of the heat I was looking for and a whole other layer of flavor.


A vanilla malt (with extra malt powder, ordered "thin").  I enjoyed it but I think I would order it thick next time as I think I just prefer them that way.  Good malt flavor but I'd like even more.  Too much is never enough for me.

Our last stop of the day was at North Star Orchards on Rte. 233 in Westmoreland, NY.  A favorite of mine for years with local produce and an in house bakery.

For all of your Halloween decorating needs...

If you think these items are seem far fetched...in the fall of 1997 when my friend Greg and I were roommates in Boston we picked up a carload of hay bales for people to sit on, corn stalks to staple to the window frames and a block of ice in which we carved a channel for "luge shots" of Jaegermeister at our Halloween party.  Good times!



Some really nice looking grapes.

And some interesting flavors of popcorn made locally in nearby Little Falls, NY.

I opted for a mini cherry pie.

I couldn't wait until I got back to the apartment so I broke this open on the train.  I bit more "filling" (as opposed to fruit) than I like but there were plenty of cherries and the flavor was great.  The crust could have been browner/golden but there was no mistaking the homemade taste and texture.  

And I couldn't leave CNY without one of my most favorite treats, a chocolate half moon cookie.  Perfect.

Though these pies weren't from this trip I felt the need to shoehorn them in somewhere.  My friends Doug & Marisa had been telling me about the homemade pies at Green Acres Farm and Bakery near Craryville, NY (near the southern NY/MA border) for some time and have been introducing me to them for the past year.  I have been up that way but just never had time to stop and check out the place for myself.  However, these pies blew me away every single time I've tried them that I feel obligated to post some pictures.  
This is the peach pie that Marisa's mom brought to their first house the weekend I was helping them move in (August 2011).

We would paint, then hear Marisa call out, "Pie break!".  Move some furniture, pie break.  This happened a few times over the weekend and I ended up with half of this pie back at the apartment.  It was the perfect combination of fresh fruit and buttery, flaky crust.  I still dream of it.  Best pie I ever hung a lip on so far (I know, miles to go...)!

Apple-Raspberry pie.  Another winner and the flavors of both fruits really shone through.  

Apple-Cranberry pie from Thanksgiving 2010.

Pecan pie from Thanksgiving 2010.  All of these were just incredible.  My apologies for not having more info about Green Acres.  Next time I talk to Doug & Marisa I'll get the info and update the report.  It's definitely worth drive and not too far from the Roadfood reviewed West Taghkanic Diner in Ancram, NY.  

I always look forward to going back home to visit my family and friends.  It was truly wonderful to run alongside my coach and to see my family and especially my niece cheering me on and handing water to me on the race route.  I'm also glad that I was able to tackle a number of new-to-me food spots that I could share with you here.  That's all for this report, hope you enjoyed it!
"Eating is an adventure, enjoy the ride." - billyboy, 2011
post edited by billyboy - 2012/07/12 15:02:16
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/10/03 16:36:50
another first rate report, Billyboy. Still I wish you would take my advise and try Symeons while you are in the area. if for only the GALAKTOBOUREKO. a Greek custard baked in pyhllo with a warm honey topping.  I had to force my wife to try it and then I thought she was going to lick the plate, she enjoyed it so much. Now when we visit she insists on going there twice.
Filet Mignon
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/10/03 16:47:01
ynotryme, I will, I will.  Love Galaktoboureko.  Had it for the first time at a Greek place in Astoria, Queens a few years back and it blew my mind.  Never thought my heart could flutter over a non-chocolate dessert!  You probably scold me for this but my sister and her family were having dinner there the same time I was in Yorkville!!  I had my plan though for the tomato pie, bbq sandwiches and pusties and didn't want to deviate from it.  I knew I'd see them at my mom's house later that evening and the rest of the weekend.  
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/10/03 17:14:57
Grin, now that I have talked you into that one. I have another local favorite for you to try. Cream of pepperoni soup at the boulevard diner in whitesboro on oriskany blvd. i know it doesn't sound good but believe me, if you order a cup of it , you are going to wish you had ordered a bowl instead. the pepperoni is chopped into little bits and as they heat , they release their oil into the soup. the only thing is they only serve it on thursdays. fyi, joe's pizza is owned by the daughter of the owners of O'scuggnizzo's pizza in utica on bleeker street.
Filet Mignon
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/10/03 17:24:13
The 411
1.)  Teddy's Restaurant
       851 Black River Boulevard North
       Rome, NY 13440
       Ph # 315-336-7839
       Website: &nbsp www.teddysrestaurantny.com
       RF Review:  http://www.roadfood.com/R...4334/teddys-restaurant
2.)  Sugared Plum Ovens (CLOSED as of the end of July 2012)
       254 West Dominick Street
       Rome, NY 13440
       Ph # 315-533-5599
       Website: &nbsp www.sugaredplumovens.com
3.)  B & L Italian Bakery (CLOSED as of 2013)
       407 North James Street
       Rome, NY 13440
       Ph # 315-336-5522
       No website
4.)  Ferlo's Bakery
       522 Floyd Avenue
       Rome, NY 13440
       Ph # 315-339-8874
       No website
5.)  Joe's Pizza
       117 Main Street
       Whitesboro, NY 13492
       Ph # 315-736-1510
       Website: &nbsp www.theoriginaljoespizza.com
6.)  Roma Sausage & Deli
       2029 Bleecker Street
       Utica, NY 13501
       Ph # 315-792-1445
       No website
7.)  Napoli's Italian Bakery & Deli
       412 Culver Avenue
       Utica, NY 13501
       Ph # 315-798-8709
       Website: &nbsp www.napolisitalianbakery.com
8.)  Florentine Pastry
       667 Bleecker Street
       Utica, NY 13501
       Ph # 315-724-8032
       No website
       RF Review:  http://www.roadfood.com/R...florentine-pastry-shop
9.)  Patio Drive-In
       1401 Oriskany Street West
       Utica, NY 13502
       Ph # 315-724-0136
       No website
10.)  Holland Farms Bakery & Deli
         50 Oriskany Boulevard
         Yorkville, NY 13495
         Website: &nbsp www.hollandfarms.com
11.)  Pumpernickel Deli
         120 Genesee Street
         New Hartford Shopping Center
         New Hartford, NY 13413
         Ph #315-735-8121
         Website: &nbsp www.pumpernickelsdeli.com
12.)  Voss' BAR B Q
         Oriskany Boulevard (Rte. 5A) - near Main Street (New York Mills)
         Yorkville, NY 13495
         No phone
         No website
13.)  North Star Orchards
         Route 233
         Westmoreland, NY 13490
         Ph# 315-853-1024
         Website: &nbsp www.northstarorchards.com
14.)  Delta Lake Half Marathon
         Delta Lake State Park
         Rome, NY 13440
         Website: &nbsp www.romanrunners.com
15.)  National Distance Running Hall of Fame
         114 Genesee Street
         Utica, NY 13502
         Ph # 315-724-4525
         Website:  www.distancerunning.com
16.)  Green Acres Farm and Bakery
        226 Route 82
        Livingston, NY
        Ph# 518-851-7460
        Website:  www.greenacreshudson.com

post edited by billyboy - 2015/07/21 14:19:32
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/10/04 16:06:27

Why do I come on this site when I haven't eaten lunch yet? Awesome job and nice photography!

Don't you just HATE when they do that to you!?!?!?!?!?
BillyBoy, Buffetbuster and Wanderingjew ALL DO it to me!!!
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/10/04 16:18:08
What a wonderful trip report and excellent adventure.
That was some good looking tomato pie and pustie's.
I am almost drooling just thinking about them.
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/10/08 22:39:14
Another great report Billyboy! I think my favorite picture was the menu at Ferlo's Bakery. You know you're in a really local place when there are several items on the menu that an out of towner would have no idea what they are.
Keeping my mind out of the gutter, I'll leave a "meduim hard" and a "large hard" to the imagination (altough I can envison a Saturday Night Live Sketch evolving from that..). You did describe what a "tunnel" is, and I'm guessing that a "football" in some sort of large oval shaped roll.
I've been keeping notes, and Utica/Rome is on my backlist of 2-day food trips. Thanks for contributing heavily to that list.
PS: Aside to Joe Rogo: Last year when my wife and I did our day trip to Carbondale PA, I found cases of Utica Club beer at Clause's Beverage in Carbondale. You might want to try there, it's a lot closer to you than Utica.
Filet Mignon
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/10/09 18:12:59
Great Central NY food report, Billyboy!
I still am amazed by your running.
Filet Mignon
Re:Pusties & Pie A-Plenty in Rome/Utica, NY 2011/10/09 23:55:50
Hey tcrouzer, thanks!  I feel that even though I lived the first 26 years of my life in CNY and still visit often, I always find something new to me up there and that really is a great source of joy for me!
CK, glad to be of service!  ;) 
Ken, so many great looking things to try at Ferlo's and a lot of Italian provisions shops making their own pasta, sauce, meatballs and sausages.  Some of that bread would be great with it!  I think a tunnel should be on the short list for my next trip.  I still have about 20 more places to try tomato pie and about 10 more for pusties. 
Don, thanks so much.  I just logged a 21.75 mile run today, my last long run prior to the NYC Marathon.  They say if you can run 20, you can run a marathon!