By: Gabby Reagan
If artisanal pizzas, craft cocktails and farmer’s market-inspired charcuterie plates seem all too prevalent on your Instagram feed and you’re not sure how many avocado toasts you’ve liked in the past week, you are not alone. This is no knock against foodie culture — as a moonlighting food writer, it’s undoubtedly a passion — but it’s important we all acknowledge that familiar hankering for something simple and uncomplicated. Something classic.
Enter Pizza Man pub of Baldwinsville, a 35-year-old family operated pizza and wings joint managing to maintain a small town feel in an ever-shifting food climate.
“To come in here and order a pitcher of Bud Lite, you don’t need the fancy arugula pizza,” said owner Luke Delia. “That’s just not our scene. Our core is pizza, and wings, and it always will be.”
Luke and his brother Jim Delia, with whom he who co-owns the pizzeria, have been docking dough since they were kids, look it up, working alongside their father Jim Delia, Sr., who opened Pizza Man in 1982. Jim Senior had been offered a lucrative position at GE but decided to take a gamble on his passion, a tiny pizza shop in the center of town. Even when down to his last dollars, Jim Senior still had faith in Baldwinsville and its potential. Year by year the Delia’s family business has grown, and though Jim Senior retired two years ago and passed the torch to his sons, Pizza Man’s classic recipes and suppliers have stayed the same, making Pizza Man of Baldwinsville a community staple.
“The longevity of this place speaks for itself,” Luke said. “As soon as you tell someone you’ve been open since 1983, people know you must be good.”
Pizza Man isn’t the only pizza in town. What sets this particular eatery apart is its tavern influenced full service dining room. Adjacent to the old familiar pizza counter of yester year, sits a dark wood and accented bar featuring wine, spirits and 17 draft lines, many dedicated to rotating local craft beers, enveloped by a spacious table layout. Ten big screen televisions draw big crowds, whether it’s SU or NFL. Kids sports teams can be found crushing slices post practice or big game. With trivia every Wednesday, live acts most weekends and a fried haddock dinner every Friday, creating space for community beyond the walls of takeout has concreted Pizza Man as a neighborhood destination.
“This place is an extension of our family,” Jim said. “I think it’s hit a good nerve with the community. All my father’s good will has manifested itself. People know us and they know what to expect when they come here.”
As for the pizza, Jim and Luke describe their family recipe as a classic pan pizza: not the greasy thin New York slice, but not quite a Chicago style deep dish either. In addition to classic and specialty pizzas, an assortment of pub fare dots the menu, including fries, tenders, poppers, onion rings and boneless wings. Subs, wraps and salads are also available and according
to the Delia brothers, the garlic, broccoli, tomato, mozzarella and ricotta pizza has a cult-like following.
Yet the classics never go out of style. Despite that particular Pizza Man appeal, Jim and Luke continue to stay informed on new ways to liven dining experience without forfeiting nostalgia. To stay relevant in the pizza game, the family has attended a fair share of pizza shows. Luke attended his first when he was a sophomore in high school. Think thousands of exhibitors boasting the latest and greatest on everything pizza in hotspots like Atlantic City and Las Vegas. To a foodie, it sounds like a dream. Instead I suggest you swing by Pizza Man for a slice or two. Or three.
Pizza Man is located at 50 Oswego Street in Baldwinsville, open weeknights at 4 p.m. and noon on weekends. The kitchen closes at 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 11 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Bar remains open to volume. For more information contact the Delia’s at [email protected] call 315.638.1234.
Photos by Steven J. Pallone