KENMORE, N.Y. (WIVB) — In a region known for its pizza and wings, there’s a pizzeria in Kenmore that’s standing out. But not just locally. Jay’s Artisan Pizza, on Delaware Avenue, can say they make a globally top-ranked pie.
At Jay’s, you’ll find two different types of pizza: a deep-dish Detroit style pizza, and a Neapolitan pizza. The latter is what won them 28th best pizza in the world recently, from a renowned group called “50 Top Pizza,” out of Italy.
“It doesn’t really sink in at all,” Joe Powers said, the owner. “I think about it once in awhile, and I’m like, ‘Wow, 28.’ If you think about it, 28 on planet earth… when you say that, it’s like, ‘woah this is kind of crazy.'”
The owner of Jay’s, 25-year-old Joe Powers, started out as just a fan of the food Jay’s Artisan was making.
“I had Jay’s Pizza for the first time at a Bills game actually, when he had the pizza truck,” Joe
Powers said, the owner of Jay’s Artisan. “Me and my dad just walked up to the pizza truck and had his pizza for the first time and were kind of hooked after that.”
Powers originally took a job working part-time at Jay’s while he was in college, majoring in hospitality. But he wasn’t loving that major. He wanted to dive into pizza making, and asked Jay how he could do more. Jay had a suggestion…
“(He said) ‘There’s this pizza place in Naples, I’ll send you,'” Powers said. “It was a video on YouTube… He’s like, ‘Watch it and see what you think.'”
Joe loved the idea. He flew out to Naples, Italy for two weeks learning about the importance of sourcing local, high-quality ingredients.
“We try to use as much local produce as we can,” Powers said. “It’s really important.”
And every afternoon at the school in Naples, the students would churn out countless pizzas in the oven. Powers learned how to cook a pizza to perfection.
“The oven is about 850-900 degrees,” Joe said, in front of their all-wood fired pizza oven. “It cooks in about 60 seconds.”
Not long after getting back from Naples, Joe said Jay was looking for different scenery, and asked if Joe wanted to take the place over.
His age at the time: 22-years-old.
“Everything happened by chance or luck or whatever… I don’t really know,” Powers said. “Yeah, some hard work in there too.”
And shortly after Joe took over, he received an unexpected message from that group called “50 Top Pizza.”
“They’re like, ‘You have been chosen as one of the 50 best pizzerias in the U.S.’ and I was like, “woah, this is crazy'” Powers said.
Powers said, the group from Italy sends inspectors across the world to rate pizzerias. Jay’s obviously made an impression, because that year, he got 28th best pizza in the U.S.
But it didn’t end there.
In 2022, he received an invitation to the awards ceremony in New York City.
“They stop at 15 and we still haven’t been called and I’m like sweating, ‘Did they like send us the wrong email? Send it to the wrong person?'”
Jay’s got 13th best pizza in the U.S. that year. And 71st best pizza in the world.
This year, he was honored with 8th best in the U.S. and 28th best in the world.
The others on top of that renowned list are from Naples, NYC, Barcelona, Tokyo, Rome, Beijing and other big cities.
“And then you just see, Kenmore, USA put in there,” Powers said.
Powers and his team are showing how hard work, a little luck and a great pie can put even a 1.4 square mile village on the map.
The team at Jay’s is small and includes Powers’ sister. He talked about the importance of keeping employees happy, and creating a loving work environment.
Also, he said to expect some improvements soon to the seating area inside Jay’s. A big renovation is expected to get underway this winter.