Jersey people know pizza.
We know that no other state serves real pizza, the only exception being New York, because, duh, it’s New York. The other 48 states might serve different pizza*, but they don’t serve the real stuff. It’s basically an unspoken rule: when on vacation we don’t eat pizza…unless we’re vacationing in Chicago.
*I’m looking at you and your mouth watering, mind blowing, deep dish pizza, Chicago.
So when I heard of a pizza joint in New Haven, Connecticut claiming to have been voted “Best Pizza in America” I knew, in spite of the rule, we had to try it.
With nine locations in Connecticut, the original New Haven location is the one that continues to produce lines of hungry apizza* lovers wrapped around the building. We waited for roughly an hour, and despite snow from the previous week lining the sidewalk, we were fortunate to have a sixty-degree February day.
*That’s right, they even pronounce it as the Italian immigrants of the early 20th century did.
Frank Pepe immigrated from Italy to New Haven in 1909 and started his pizzeria in 1925, historical facts even a die hard Jersey pizza lover can appreciate.
I don’t ordinarily drink soda, but had to try the classic Italian lemon ‘Gassosa’ of Foxon Park, a Connecticut based soda company. I found it to be a better version of Sprite. The lemon flavor was more pronounced than the seltzer, making it quite refreshing.
But, you’re not interested in soda, are you?
We ordered their original tomato pie with mozzarella, garlic, and pepperoni.* And because we can’t possibly try only one pizza, we also ordered their quattro formaggi which is topped with crushed tomatoes, mozzarella, Asiago, goat cheese, and pecorino.
*And I love, love, love that they put the cheese on top of the toppings.
Oh, and we ordered smalls…doesn’t look like it, right?
Look at that thin crust!
The quattro formaggi was our wild card, and I fully expected to prefer their original tomato pie, however, the flavors of the four cheeses and tomatoes combined, along with the goat cheese texture, made for a pizza flavor I want to get to know better.
The number of components that go into a good pizza and the terminology that a true pizza connoisseur uses might made you giggle, but as we took our first bites, the words ‘mouth feel’ and ‘chew’ were uttered.
I’ve been to many pizzerias boasting of their brick oven pizza, but not many of them get it right.
The crust was crispy with a slight chew and everything that good brick oven pizza should be.
Frank Pepe’s knows pizza.
I should’ve ordered a bowl of marinara for these beauties.
Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana
157 Wooster Street
New Haven, CT 06511