Ask any vegan what kinds of take-out they wish was readily available in fully plant-based form, and one of the first answers you'll get is "pizza." It's not that vegan-friendly pizza isn't available in many places - it is. Often, though, even the best vegan pizza doesn't quite replicate the gooey, decadent satisfaction that one gets from a traditional takeout pizza.
Well, if you live in the Buffalo area, I can tell you that your search for a great vegan pizza is over! The Wurlitzer Pizza Company, located at 1401 Nash Road in Tonawanda, so completely exceeded our expectations that we can't wait to go back - despite the hour and 10 minute drive!
For starters, Wurlitzer's vegan menu is huge, particularly for an establishment that caters to vegans and ominvores, alike. If their 12 (yes, 12) vegan specialty pizzas aren't enough, their extensive selection of vegan appetizers, subs, sandwiches, and wings easily provides something to satisfy just about any craving. We went with the Deluxe Veggie pizza, which proved to be a beautiful pie piled high with fresh vegetables (mushrooms, onions, hot & sweet peppers, green & black olives, spinach, broccoli, and tomatoes) covered in both mozzarella- and cheddar-style vegan cheese. The crust was crisp, chewy, and packed with flavor - something that many pizza crusts (vegan or otherwise) can lack; the sauce was rich, bright, and carried just a hint of heat that complemented the vegetables beautifully. The occasional hit of hot pepper was also a wonderful surprise and gave the pizza as a whole a truly unique flavor profile. If you are particularly sensitive to Scoville scale-worthy peppers, however, I would recommend asking the chef to remove them.
Wurlitzer's menu notes that all of their vegan pizzas are available only as medium-sized pies, but in our estimation that is enough pizza to serve 3-4 people. We took quite a bit of pizza home with us, right alongside the two subs we ordered to taste-test the following day (I mean, you can't drive over an hour to a restaurant that offers loads of vegan options and only have one meal)! What were the subs, you ask? Well, I opted for the Vegan Sausage Hoagie, and Christine got the Mild Buffalo "Chicken" Finger Sub. The first thing I appreciated about both subs were their size. Served on 8" Italian rolls, both sandwiches were large enough to be a full meal, but small enough not to leave you feeling overstuffed and uncomfortable. And the flavor? Fantastic! I was pleasantly surprised that the sausage used in the Sausage Hoagie was minced, as opposed to a more standard link-style sausage. For me, this created a really unified texture between the sausage and the peppers, onions, and vegan mozzarella that accompanied it. Now, I can't be sure about this next comment, but I have a feeling that the sausage, itself, was house-made. Both the texture and the flavor were so spot-on that it is hard to believe that the sausage could have been a mass-produced meat substitute. If Wurlitzer's chefs are, in fact, making their own vegan meat substitutes - let me tell you - they know what they're doing!!
This was even further evidenced in Christine's "Chicken" Finger Sub. The fingers were definitely house-made, with a tofu-based interior that was breaded, fried to super-crispy perfection, then topped with mild Buffalo sauce, lettuce, tomato, vegan cheddar cheese and vegan mayo. This sub was so delicious, that Christine finished it by saying that it was an awesome replica of an animal meat-based chicken finger sub, and that it was likely to fool even the most dubious of omnivores!
We also have to give Wurlitzer a huge gold star for maintaining a designated cooking area for vegan items, and for making that very clear on their menu! When eating at most omnivore-focused restaurants, vegans will often wonder whether or not their vegan dishes are being prepared on the same grills or in the same fryers as animal products. At the Wurlizter Pizza Company, however, you can order all of your favorite vegan treats knowing that they've been prepared in their own space, free of potential cross-contamination. Thank you, Wurlitzer Pizza!!
So, if you're anywhere in the Buffalo, NY area and are looking for truly great vegan pizza, go right ahead and walk, run, bike, drive, or rickshaw your way to the Wurlitzer Pizza Company! The only downside? Well, for us it's that they're too far away to get delivery - though that's probably a good thing when I think about it.