Dinner for breakfast
Buffalo Pizza & Ice Cream Co.
Sacramento, CA 95818
I’m probably not the only one who has driven past Buffalo Pizza & Ice Cream Co. in the Curtis Park neighborhood and assumed it was closed or perhaps just a figment of my imagination. But with a simple phone order—for a personal “breakfast pizza” with pepperoni and jalapeños, and a “lunch pizza” called a Cavaleros Creation (featuring chorizo, olives, onions and green peppers)—I finally proved those assumptions wrong. I soon ventured into the small storefront across from St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery to pick up the two pizzas.
The eatery has all the quirky characteristics one might expect a local foodie to love: a unique product (breakfast pizza) and a small location (actually, it’s take-out or delivery only, no dine in). It also has limited hours (7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Saturday). There are no tables, no fancy decorations and no credit cards accepted here; all of these give way to make room for Buffalo to deliver heavily on creativity and taste.
Customers can choose from two types of pies: breakfast or lunch. There are 12 preset topping options for breakfast, and a dozen for lunch, too, or you can create your own. Breakfast pizzas consist of standard pizza dough, on top of which rests a thin layer of egg, cheese and toppings (read: no sauce). They resemble quiches, but have the added bonus of being ready to eat with your hands. They also don’t have that pesky, overly buttered pastry-crust shell often found on quiches. In other words, these breakfast pizzas are a perfect morning food for people who want to eat semigourmet chow on the run, or people who enjoy eating leftover pizza for breakfast (this critic included).
My first morning pie, topped with pepperoni and jalapeños, appears to start off well, but then the dough disappoints. It doesn’t quite fit in either the “thick” or “thin” category; it’s not yeasty enough, and too chewy and firm. The egg doesn’t quite have the moistness of a typical breakfast quiche, and the pepperoni is just standard pizza-topping fare. On a different day, a mushroom-and-spinach quiche-styled pizza offers better texture, as well as the rich flavor one would expect of an eggy breakfast pastry. The chorizo-and-jalapeño option, with its copious grease and spice, certainly qualifies as a guilty pleasure.
Lunch pizzas here are less unique, but still hit a nice mark via a few standout ingredients and several playful topping presets. Though it’s a bit on the dry side, the garlic pizza reaches a nice balance of sweet and salty with a creamy white garlic sauce, mushrooms, onions, pepperoni and sausage. The Whole Herd is Buffalo’s take on a combination pizza, with olives, mushrooms, Canadian bacon, salami, sausage and pepperoni (bell peppers are optional). It tastes just like a standard combo pizza. Chorizo is the best stand-alone topping, while the garlic pizza and Cavaleros Creation were the two best standard offerings sampled.
Overall, these breakfast pizzas are a great value. A large could easily be stored in the fridge and serve as breakfast for an entire week, or (as several reviewers on Yelp have suggested) used to cater a morning business meeting. Buffalo also offers Gunther’s Ice Cream, side salads, fried chicken and canned sodas, but there’s nothing particularly noteworthy about them. The breakfast pizza is likely drawing the majority of customers.
There is certainly plenty of pizza diversity in Sacramento. From Chicago-style deep-dish pies to vegan Neapolitan pizzas cooked in 800-degree ovens, local pie lovers can find nearly every style imaginable. Many of Sacramento’s pizzerias enjoy strong cultlike followings. It would be surprising if Buffalo Pizza & Ice Cream Co.—which claims it’s the “home of the original breakfast pizza”—doesn’t already have its own.