Connecticut Dining: Frank Pepe Pizza Napoletana


Frank Pepe Pizza Napoletana
Locations: 157 Wooster Street / 164 Wooster Street (New Haven CT)

Web Site: http://www.pepespizzeria.com

Frank Pepe Pizza Napoletana, New Haven CT by you.

Frank Pepe Pizza Napoletana in New Haven is “The Spot” for some of the best pizza in the entire country.

As I explained in my previous post about Caserta’s in Providence, New England has a unique pizza tradition that is entirely separate, but parallel to that of New York’s. Many pizza enthusiasts agree that New Haven, Connecticut has some of the best pizza in the entire country, as it boasts some of the oldest pizzeria with coal-fired ovens in the United States. Three of these happen to have started by the same extended family — Pepe’s, The “Spot” and Sally’s Apizza, all of which are part of the same Wooster Square old Italian-American neighborhood.

Whenever you mention Pizza to a New Haven native the question of which of these places comes up, and there is a bit of a rivalry between them, much like the issue of which cheesesteak is better in Philly, Pat’s or Geno’s. However, there is one particular specialty in which Pepe’s is known to excel, which is the Clam Pie.

You lookin’ for some A’Beets? Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more. (note, all photos are from May 2008)

Frank Pepe Pizza Napoletana, New Haven CT by you.

The current Frank Pepe Napoletana pizzeria, on Wooster street. This location was opened in 1936, and is the “New” location. There are other satellite locations of Pepe’s at the Mohegan Sun resort and Casino, in Fairfield and Manchester as well as a location in Yonkers, New York which is slated to open at the end of 2009.

Frank Pepe Pizza Napoletana, New Haven CT by you.

Because Pepe’s has such a huge following it is known to draw very long lines from locals and New Haven visitors.

Frank Pepe Pizza Napoletana, New Haven CT by you.

However, many “In the know” actually eat at “The Spot”, which is owned by Pepes and is in fact, the original location that opened in 1925. It’s just down the block from the “New” location.

Frank Pepe Pizza Napoletana, New Haven CT by you.

This is the oven at the “New” location.

Frank Pepe Pizza Napoletana, New Haven CT by you.

This is the coal oven at ‘The Spot”

Frank Pepe Pizza Napoletana, New Haven CT by you.

The Spot is a smaller, less hectic location, that has a more intimate atmosphere, and we didn’t have to wait an hour to get in.

Frank Pepe Pizza Napoletana, New Haven CT by you.

This is a guy who likes his pizza pies.

Frank Pepe Pizza Napoletana, New Haven CT by you.

This is the main dining room at the “New” location down the block.

Frank Pepe Pizza Napoletana, New Haven CT by you.

Pizza being made at the “New” location.

Frank Pepe Pizza Napoletana, New Haven CT by you.

A view of the kitchen area of The Spot.

Frank Pepe Pizza Napoletana, New Haven CT by you.

A veggie pie being sliced up.

Frank Pepe Pizza Napoletana, New Haven CT by you.

This veggie pie was inhaled by another table.

Frank Pepe Pizza Napoletana, New Haven CT by you.

A plain Pepe’s pie that we ordered. Check out that crust char.

Frank Pepe Pizza Napoletana, New Haven CT by you.

This one was being delivered to another table. Almost as soon as it landed it was devoured.

Frank Pepe Pizza Napoletana, New Haven CT by you.

Here is what I absolutely yearn for from this place — the Clam Pie. Simply pizza dough on the bottom, with lots of fresh Quahog clam meat, tons of garlic and olive oil. No tomato sauce. I like to sprinkle a little bit of Parmesan and lots of hot pepper flakes on it.

Frank Pepe Pizza Napoletana, New Haven CT by you.

Clam Pie closeup.

Frank Pepe Pizza Napoletana, New Haven CT by you.

And the Kubanesque “Upskirt” shot for documentation.

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8 Responses to Connecticut Dining: Frank Pepe Pizza Napoletana

  1. BTW – Sally’s Pizza, next door to Pepe’s, has the best pizza I have ever tried – and I’ve been several times to the “famous” places in NYC / Brooklyn, Philly, Naples and Rome and other villages in Italy.

    • As I said, the Pepe’s/Sallys debate is an ongoing war that will never end… :) And I’ve heard from others that Modern Apizza is even better than either. Nobody beats the Pepe’s Clam Pie, that much is pretty much agreed on.

  2. Michael M. says:

    Pepe’s really is one of, if not the best pizzas I’ve ever had. There’s also a great little place in Bay Ridge Brooklyn that is fantastic. Can’t recall the name.

  3. pizzablogger says:

    Nice write up and pictures…..those pics are definitely making me want to “inhale” some a dat ah’beetz right now!

  4. Pam says:

    I used to work in Hartford several weeks a year and a trip to Pepe’s was one of our favorite weekend diversions. It’s been a LONG time, but I still dream of Pepe’s clam pies!

  5. Al Santillo says:

    Jason, I am enjoying your article about the Spot in New Haven. I wonder if you have anymore pictures or history on the place. You are approaching an historical encyclipedcal article on the place, for which I applaude you. I am a 3rd generation baker, and a history buff myself. I am glad to see it carrying on the old brick oven. To me, how it is made is just as important as that it is made in a brick oven. By that I mean the finished product has to be 0f the same integrity as the way it was in the past. I do not care which ingredients you use as long as they are good or better. It is the method and finished product which matter.
    That oven looks much like mine. I want to know what the inside looks like. I burned coal , but stopped due to my getting emphasema from the fumes. I can see them in the picture.
    It does not look like they ever made bread in the place or not?
    I am closed for vacation now. Glad to see you are doing well.
    I always knew about the place but never been, if I had time we could exchange ideas. I think I could give him some advice.
    Your friend in the pizza business, Al Santillo I have nice blogs, pictures and reviews a@my site. My only real interests are bread and pizza baking and Italian food.

  6. [...] quantity of the clams that Reservoir uses isn’t anywhere near the level of what a place like Pepe’s in New Haven (which specializes in this type of pizza) makes. I’m pretty sure they use a canned clam for [...]

  7. gail says:

    do you ship your pizza out of state???

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