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Roma Sausage & Deli

2029 Bleecker Street, Utica, NY - (315) 792-1445
Posted By Bill Homan on 7/26/2015 12:20:00 PM
Roma Sausage & Deli is an Italian provisions store on the edge of a dicey section of Utica, NY. Inside, one can find just about anything for a hearty meal. Homemade sausages, meatballs, sauce, imported cheeses and cold cuts as well as made to order submarine sandwiches, locally made cheese curds and their justly famous tomato pie.

I've been eating tomato pie for as long as I can remember. It's a local specialty most often found at bakeries, pizza shops and in stores like Roma Sausage. It does look similar to a Sicilian slice, but I think it has more in common with Rhode Island bakery pizza strips. It doesn't come with toppings or mozzarella cheese and is almost always served room temp or just a bit warmer. The crust and sauce tend to differ slightly at each place and of the countless versions I've had over the years, Roma's is the best. A crust that is chewy, crispy and full of flavor, like a really good focaccia, chunky, sweet tomato sauce and a liberal dusting of romano cheese, their tomato pie is one of the few foods that I never, ever tire of eating. One would be well served to call ahead as they close in the early afternoon and have been known to run out of pies an hour or two before closing.

As it is a grocery/provisions store, Roma's doesn't have any seating, so if you want to tear into your sub sandwich or put away a few slices, do what I do, dine al fresco on the hood of your (or in my case, your mom's car!) Despite all of the times I have been there, I have yet to put a box of tomato pie in the car fully intact. It's just too good to resist and the funny thing is, that I have gotten countless looks and knowing nods from other people walking out with their pies getting ready to do the exact same thing. The pies come in half sheets (24 slices) and single slices. To be honest, I have yet to try anything else, as I can't break away from those pies, but I would go out of my way and alter my schedule to come here any chance I can get.

The Boilermaker 15K Road Race has been on the second Sunday in July since 1977 and the Utica community comes out in full force to watch it and cheer on their friends and family, as well as thousands of strangers running by. Roma's is just off of the race route and countless people wait in line to stock up on tomato pies, subs and much more for their race day viewing parties. If you happen to be in the area that weekend, stop in, get yourself a classic taste of Utica, NY with some tomato pies, grab a few lawn chairs and take in one of the premier 15K races in the USA!

UPDATE: I visited Roma's second location at 3921 Oneida Street New Hartford, NY for the first time back in Sept. 2013 and had an excellent half sheet of tomato pie that was just as good as the Bleecker Street original. I had since read fellow Roadfooder Robin Renee's follow-up review from August 2014 and I was concerned that perhaps things had changed so I made it back on Sunday July 12, 2015, just hours after I ran the Boilermaker 5K Race. I picked up another half sheet of pie and mentioned to the woman behind the counter that I had heard the recipe had changed ands that they were cutting half sheets into 12 instead of 24 slices. She said that they haven't changed the recipe at all but that they had hired a couple of new guys a while back and that there may have been a few "off batches" when they first started.

Happy to hear that, I took my pie out to the car and commenced dining "a la car hood". This tomato pie was definitely in the same style and the chunky, sweet sauce, grated cheese & herbs and the chewy, slightly crispy crust were just as good if not better than any I have had in the past from Roma's. I spent the next 24 hours putting a good dent in this pie as a late night snack and for breakfast the next morning, though I did manage to share some of it with my uncle and his girlfriend!

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Tomato Pie (half sheet)
Sauce
Tomato Pie (slice)
Cheese curds
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

As evidenced by the outer crust, this is only half a pie and what a beauty it is.
"As evidenced by the outer crust, this is only half a pie and what a beauty it is."
Bill Homan





Roma's sometimes has slices for sale and it's the perfect size if you've never tried tomato pie before.  I've never been able to limit myself to less than three slices.
"Roma's sometimes has slices for sale and it's the perfect size if you've never tried tomato pie before. I've never been able to limit myself to less than three slices."
Bill Homan


Locally made cheese curds have been part of my 'diet' since I was a little kid.
"Locally made cheese curds have been part of my 'diet' since I was a little kid."
Bill Homan


And my half sheet (24 slices - party cut) from the New Hartford location on July 12, 2015. I had heard that Roma's had changed their recipe and was cutting this into 12 slices, but this was the same style and just as good, if not better than my pie from 2 years ago.  The chunky, sweet tomato sauce, a sprinkling of grated cheese & herbs and that chewy, flavorful crust, with a hint of crispness at the edges is one of my most favorite CNY specialties.
"And my half sheet (24 slices - party cut) from the New Hartford location on July 12, 2015. I had heard that Roma's had changed their recipe and was cutting this into 12 slices, but this was the same style and just as good, if not better than my pie from 2 years ago. The chunky, sweet tomato sauce, a sprinkling of grated cheese & herbs and that chewy, flavorful crust, with a hint of crispness at the edges is one of my most favorite CNY specialties. "
Bill Homan


Roma's is a grab-n-go kind of of place, no seating available so I've taken to dining a la 'car hood'.  Despite countless visits  not a single pie has made it into the car fully intact.
"Roma's is a grab-n-go kind of of place, no seating available so I've taken to dining a la 'car hood'. Despite countless visits not a single pie has made it into the car fully intact."
Bill Homan


The day before the Boilermaker 15K Road Race produces some bigs lines for tomato pies, cold cuts and much, much more for race day viewing parties.
"The day before the Boilermaker 15K Road Race produces some bigs lines for tomato pies, cold cuts and much, much more for race day viewing parties."
Bill Homan


My half sheet (24 slices - party cut) of tomato pie from the New Hartford location in Sept. 2013.  Dining a la 'car hood' is the way to go.
"My half sheet (24 slices - party cut) of tomato pie from the New Hartford location in Sept. 2013. Dining a la 'car hood' is the way to go."
Bill Homan


After eating lots of delicious, rich food a tablet or two might be a good idea.
"After eating lots of delicious, rich food a tablet or two might be a good idea."
Bill Homan


Lot of olives as well as cheeses, pastas, cold cuts, subs and so much more.
"Lot of olives as well as cheeses, pastas, cold cuts, subs and so much more."
Bill Homan


I'm so glad my friends brought home a couple of tomato pies some years ago.  It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship...between myself and the pies.
"I'm so glad my friends brought home a couple of tomato pies some years ago. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship...between myself and the pies."
Bill Homan


In addition to making their own bread, meatballs and sausage, Roma Sausage & Deli makes sub sandwiches, carries a full selection of pastas, cheese and sauces, as well as locally made cheese curds and Syracuse-based Terrell's Chips. (This picture is of the New Hartford location)
"In addition to making their own bread, meatballs and sausage, Roma Sausage & Deli makes sub sandwiches, carries a full selection of pastas, cheese and sauces, as well as locally made cheese curds and Syracuse-based Terrell's Chips. (This picture is of the New Hartford location)"
Bill Homan


And they make their own pasta sauce.
"And they make their own pasta sauce."
Bill Homan


Boxes of full pies and half sheets ready to go.  I never knew they had boxes that large and the woman ahead of me who was picking up 3 full pies needed my help just to get them through the door.  (Behind the register at the New Hartford location)
"Boxes of full pies and half sheets ready to go. I never knew they had boxes that large and the woman ahead of me who was picking up 3 full pies needed my help just to get them through the door. (Behind the register at the New Hartford location)"
Bill Homan


Outside of the Oneida Street location in New Hartford, NY.
"Outside of the Oneida Street location in New Hartford, NY."
Bill Homan



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