Monday, May 9, 2011

Cold Cheese Pizza. Oneonta Gets Weird With Cheese (and Pizza)



Ever hear of "Cold Cheese Pizza?" Here we have a peculiar animal indigenous to Oneonta, NY. Incidentally, Oneonta is also the home of the Upstate NY institution that is Brooks BBQ. I should probably do a post about that joint (and their church haunting) someday...

Anyhow, today we are talking about Cold Cheese Pizza. I have heard it told that this creation was born at Tino's Pizza on Main St., Oneonta and I have no reason to believe otherwise. Simply stated, a slice of "Cold Cheese" is your standard, work-a-day slice of pizza covered in (surprise) cold cheese (usually a normal pizza cheese, vaguely reminiscent of mozzarella). Ever since hearing about this concept I have been strangely fascinated and made a firm mental note to make a visit to Tino's the very next time I get out that direction.

Well, twern't I just tickled when I spied the "Cold Cheese" offered locally on our very own Murray's Pizza's (Deleware Ave., Delmar) menu. I am not the hugest fan of Murray's but ordered anyway, for science! This is what showed up.



Here we have a small pizza and a bag labeled "Cold Ch." I am sure you have already guessed, but the idea is simply that you heap a bunch of cold mozzarella onto your slice before you go to town.



You know what?, the "Cold Cheese" pizza experience is sort of intriguing. You have a lot going on in your maw when you are chewing away on a big hunk of this crap. You get the salty, cold punch of the pizza cheese along with the warm, crispiness of the slice. It is not an altogether unpleasant sensation. In fact, I could see very good pizza with very good cold cheese being fairly delightful. I always used to scoff at the "salad pizza" craze of a few years ago, but I kind of get the whole cold/warm on the same slice at the same time thing.

I recommend that every resident of Upstate America try this at least one. Everyone else, I don't really care what you do. But you should try this too.

81 comments:

  1. Went to Oneonta state and cold cheese pizza was the 3:00am staple when staggering home from the bars on a Saturday night. Mmmmmm.....so good

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    1. RUFFINOS PIZZERIA ARE THE ORIGINAL THINKERS
      They have been in business since 1972. 44 years they have been doing cold cheese. Tino's blows. if you wanna get a skimpy slice of pizza a bottle of beer and possibly into a brawl go to Tinos Pizzeria. you would think that the "Home of The Cold Cheese Pizza" wouldnt need to put that on their sign if they "Really" came up with that concept.

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    2. Good one Anonymous, if you want to taste the shittier side of pizza go to RUFFINO'S PIZZA.

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    3. Yes, started at Tino's as far as I know. Was there in 1991 and it was delicious!

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  2. Just wondered why many foodnatics love cold pizza? I preferred more hot rather than cold. Especially when i see that the cheese is slowly melting down in pie. : )

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    1. Cold Cheese Pizza is not cold. It is hot pizza (right-out-of-the-oven hot) with cold cheese heaped on top. AMAZING

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  3. Cold Cheese is also indigenous to Pizza Buono in Plattsburg...yum

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  4. I went to Cobleskill & Plattsburgh. Cold Cheese pizza with a side of blue cheese to dip into still pulls at my heart strings.

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    1. YES! COBY! I had many a Cold Cheese too at Coby in 91/92

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    2. Cobleskill (pizza shack) and Platt (Pizza Bono)- one cold cheese slice and one slice with blue cheese side!

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    3. Wait - I was at Coby 91-93...how did I miss this whole 'cold cheese' thing?

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  5. what about a raw dough pizza? did anyone ever try one of those? I actually prefer a pizza with very little cheese, and I would rather no cheese than plastic 'pizza cheese' which is really not so tasty.

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  6. Man - I haven't thought of cold cheese pizza since working in Cooperstown. It's totally gross, except at 3am when it's close to godliness.

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  7. Hmm. Mr. Dave, because of you, I will douse my next slice of pizza with some cold, unmelted cheese.

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  8. Lived in Otown for 5 years, Frankie at Mama Nina's made the best cold cheese, put it together with a bucket of beer and few buddies, anit a better way to spend a cold winter night.

    Well, maybe...

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    1. Yes Frankie made it best!!

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    2. Yeah, Mama Nina's... Definitely!

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  9. Clifton Park DanMay 11, 2011 at 1:51 PM

    I went to Plattsburgh and Cold Cheese Pizza was THE eats of the town. A slice of Bono's Cold Cheese with a side of Frank's, excellent!

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  10. Cold Cheese Pizza is a great way to end the night in O-town. Tino's does have that claim to fame (Frankie doesn't do a bad job, he's just not the original) and for awhile you could get it at Madison's in Albany if Dino was working (Oneonta guy himself.) It's very difficult to explain to those who don't get it and I'm thrilled that you get it!

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  11. Likewise Dan, Class of '04 here, but I'm pretty sure it was imported from Oneonta.

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  12. Deborah is right! I too went to SUNY Plattsburgh back in 2000 and would always get Cold Cheese Pizza from Pizza Buono when the bars closed at 2 AM.

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  13. 1990 Sovrana Pizza, Albany; cold cheese. Yes, I'm old.

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    1. I'm old too! Loved Sovranos after a night out at T's or the Branch. Yummy

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    2. Sovrano's is one of the best slices of pizza I've ever had, anywhere

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  14. Sal's does it best!

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  15. It's fantastic when drunk because you don't burn the roof of your mouth and can just MOW DOWN!

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  16. Cold cheese has been eaten by drunk college kids in Oneonta at least back to '93...great stuff!

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    1. Wasn't just the college kids eating it lol. The hot dog cart was also awesome at three a.m. LOL

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    2. And the hot dog guy does magic tricks

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    3. I was at Wick in 89. I ate Cold Cheese on the way home when the bars closed.

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    4. I witnessed the moment when hot dog guy finally had enough, flipped his cart over, and stormed away into the night. I can only imagine the shit that guy had to put up with to make a buck.

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    5. O'state in '86... and it started in the pizza place at the Black Oak!

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    6. Tino sr had the place in the black oak. He was in the store on water street before that. He and others were snacking on cheese out of the bin around 1980. I dont remember a charge but he would put cheese on slices for some folks. I went back ten years or more later and it became a big thing.

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  17. I'm pretty sure Sal's created the cold cheese and they have the best damn pizza. Plus they sell cigs, beer, dutches, and they're open till 4 am on weekends!

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  18. I've lived in Oneonta for most of my life, not counting college. I consider myself somewhat of a local pizza expert.

    I remember getting cold cheese slices as far back as 1990 or so. The first place I had it was at Ruffino's - they actually didn't know what it was, but I was with a friend who swore by the stuff, and he instructed him to simply throw some cold cheese on a hot slice.

    Oneontas love to debate the origin of the cold cheese, most think it was Tino's, some Sal's... doesn't matter much to me, as long as they keep serving it.

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    1. Cold cheese pizza was created at Pizzaland Extension,between the Black Oak and paradise Lost, in 1985. I was working there when we started it, because we were too busy to put any toppings on pizza, except cold cheese.

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    2. Doug I believe you are correct. I went to Oneonta from 82-85 and Pizzaland Extension was where we got our cold cheese on top of a regular hot slice so that you didn't burn the roof of your mouth because you were so drunk.

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    3. Yes! Exactly as I remembered. Although you guys eventually put the spin on it that it was for the drunk people so they didn't burn the roof of their mouths. Had many a wonderful night at the Black Oak drinking and then topping it off with a cold cheese slice!

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    4. Correct... '86, Black Oak, Dark beer and cold cheese Pizza!

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    5. I went to Oneonta '85-'89 and we always went to Black Oak for a slice with extra cold right after last call at Paradise or Sip and Sail. Yummmmm!!!

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  19. I went to Oneonta in the 1990's. I am from Troy, NY where putting cold cheese on was created. My friends and I would always get a slice of cheese from I Love NY in downtown Troy and cold cheese as a topping was pretty standard. I'm pretty sure that I started this tradition at Tino's in Oneonta. I'm not saying I invented it, I just brought it from Troy.

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    1. Sorry, we were serving cold cheese pizza at Pizzaland Extension which later became Tinos since 1985.

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    2. Sorry, Dude. I was in Oneonta in the summer of 1985. Had CC pizza then. When I went to Hartwick in 1989-1993 we had it every time we went downtown. It predates you.

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  20. This was the best back when i was there in 1993. Haven't seen a place that does this anywhere else.

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  21. Biz,

    It was around in Oneonta before the 90's as I was there in the late 80's.

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  22. Sals, Ruffino's, Mama Nina's, and the Black Oak to name a few in Oneonta that served this "pizza with extra cold cheese" - too good!

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    1. The black oak is not a place to get anything other than whisky in a glass cleaned with spit. Another stoneonta staple. Tinos is a separate entity next door. Too many of those cocktails and it gets confusing.

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    2. The Oak used to have a pizza window where you could get a slice from next door

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    3. The window is where Tino's started.

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    4. Tino moved from it's location into the Black Oak Tavern in late 1985. The Black oak is actually the only bar around that washes it's glasses in a dishwasher. Tino moved back into it's original location in 1987 because the drinking age had been raised which decreased his business. The Oak continued to make pizza until 1993. Tinos was sold and was renamed Cosmos. Tino's pizza was then reopened in Cooperstown. After five years Tino's son reopened back in Oneonta where it is thriving today

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  23. Cold Cheese pizza is a "thing" on Long Island also...sorry to burst your bubbles! =)

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    1. Nobody cares

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    2. Because most of Long Island went to SUNY Oneonta... I grew up there and it was definitely around in the mid 80s.

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    3. It's a thing on Long Island, particularly Little Vincent's in Huntington, because college kids would come home from upstate on breaks and request the cold cheese.

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  24. In my journalism class YEARS ago, I wrote an article on Cold Cheese Pizza. The origin was actually Mamma Nina's (recently renamed by a new owner) on Elm Street/Main Street Oneonta in the 1970's. The man who helped create it was out one late night. He wanted to eat the pizza he ordered right away but was tired of burning the roof of his mouth on hot cheese, so he asked the then owner of Mama Nina's to throw some cold cheese on top. Tino's Pizza is still my favorite pizza joint in town though!!

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  25. Of course it's a thing in Long Island, all the little overprivelidged kids from there go to school in oneonta, then bring the idea back with them.

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    1. The majority of kids ON (not in) Long Island are not overprivileged. If they were, they sure as hell wouldn't be going to school in Oneonta (which I did, and I'm from Long Island). Way to be an ignorant jerk. P.S. - Cold cheese pizza rocks.

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  26. I had to laugh that you mentioned Brooks BBQ. I went to school with their son (Charlotte Valley Central School). In all the years I lived in Upstate NY and spent many many many nights and days in Oneonta (lived in Oneonta as well) but never heard of this. Guess because I pretty much only hit the pizza joint in Delhi (Presto Pizza) since that was the one place we used to hit when we were in middle school at Delaware Academy.

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  27. i can definitely corroborate the journalist. my dad used to own Mama Nina's from 1982 until i believe 1988. he also owned tinos (prior to tino's and it was named Pizza Land extension. my father and uncle who currently owns Pizza Land in Oneonta were serving (back then we were open until 4AM) and a drunken student came in asking for a slice and wasnt waiting for it to cool off. so my dad and uncle joked ok lets not burn his mouth so lets put in a cool layer of COLD Cheese which he proceeded to drop on the floor and eat another.. i respect Tino's and they do an amazing job and have carried on the legacy i am a fan of their pizza.but it was invented by my dad and uncle...

    i am entering this as anonymous as folks know who I am :)

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  28. I hate to disagree but being born and raised here sine 1966 Tino's is not the originator of the cold cheese pizza. That honor would go to Mosca's Pizza, Nina's (when owned by Mama and Frank) or The Italian Kitchen. All of them predate the 80's. You could also get cold cheese from Ruffino's in the 70's.

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  29. Tino's hasn't been in oneonta that long. I think sal's came up with the idea.

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    1. Tino's left for a few years but came back in a new location.

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  30. I live in Oneonta now (and have before). I've recently come back from out west, and nothing compares to NY pizza. Especially cold cheese. I love Tino's, Sam's and Nina's.

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  31. I have to tell you that Tino's Pizza is NOT "home of the cold cheese pizza" NO WHERE NEAR IT! Sal's, Nina's and Ruffino's were a few of the first Pizza places in town to come up with the concept. Tino's barely puts ANY cold cheese on their slices and quite a few times were known for putting a slice of American cheese on a slice. Every time I had ordered there, which were only 3 times, I was immensely disappointed each time. First time, was one lonely string of cold cheese, the second time, the slices were so greasy that it was all you could taste and the third time was the lonely string of cold cheese again. All three times I had called and complained and all three times was given an attitude and poor service. Their employees have no respect for their customers. NEVER AGAIN will my family eat there and I'm not the only who feels this way. Nina's is the best in town, and their service is great! As a loyal customer I was given a dozen garlic knots for free. Such great people.

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  32. I am from Oneonta area and I never heard of Cold Cheese Pizza until I started working at SUCO in 1990. It was then that I heard it from the students, mainly those from Long Island. Tino's was not around in 1990 and is actually a fairly new Pizza joint in Oneonta. However, Tino's family did own a Pizza joint in Oneonta, but was not called Tino's and was owned by his father, I believe. I'm thinking it's not an upstate thing but a Long Island. It seems that many of them have liked it prior to coming to Oneonta. Not sure where it truly came from. Could be a little of both.

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  33. I've lived In Oneonta for 23 years and sal's was doing cold cheese way before tinos was even thought about being here. Get your facts straight please

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    1. Tino's Pizza was around for years, but they left for about five years. They were at Kosmos location (and whatever followed) next to The Black Oak.

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    2. Sals has been around before that crap joint Tinos ever was.

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  34. best food after a full night of hopping bars (all 20 or so of them when i lived there) and sals is the best place to get beer after hours but it is a bit pricey do yourself a favor and buy beer before you go barhopping your wallet will thank you.. as for the cold cheese pizza the best part about it is you get this hot fresh out of the oven crispy thin crust pizza you heap on some cold mozz cheese and it melts into this nummy cheesy delicious goodness that is exactly what you need in your life at that moment!

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  35. Pizzaland was always known as the originator of the cold cheese pizza, by the time i attended SUCO in the fall of 1987 it was available at the oak, ruffinos, sals and mama nina's. Pizzaland is on the west side of Oneonta, but the oak had a pizza window in the back. I was in oneonta when the college student took the bus for a joy ride at 3 am in the morning full of drunk students

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  36. Ditto, I started in Oneonta in 1988 and cold cheese pizza was already well established by then. For all of those people saying it sounds "gross", you're idiots!! There's nothing gross about it, it's one of the most basically delicious things anyone could ever eat. And the best was at Tino's, altho Sal's and Ruffino's were close seconds.

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  37. I used to get this in Albany at Sorvanio's. It was great after a late night out at the bars.

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  38. https://www.facebook.com/PondosRestaurant/?fref=ts

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  39. Pondo's is number one for good food in Oneonta.....they would probably smirk and give you cold cheese on your pie, real cheese.

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  40. Actually longer than that. I attended from 1988-1992 and we enjoyed a Tino's slice (or two) with cold cheese. Awesome memories.

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  41. It's disgusting.....nothing like a hot slice of fresh, thin-sliced pizza, with hot, melted cheese.....

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  42. Went to SUCO '74-78. Do not recall cold cheese pizza. Our drunken hunger was satified by Jet Subs.

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  43. COLD CHEESE ROCKS,... BUT ruffinos makes the best damn roni rolls on the planet... agree???

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  44. I went to SUCO from 1977-1981. A boyfriend worked at a little Ruffino's outpost in the line of bars by the Black Oak and served Cold Cheese Pizza from there. That had to be 1978-79.

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  45. Now I want some Cold Cheese Pizza -- it was the bomb. I definitely went to Ruffino's more often, it was amazing at 2 AM.

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