#12. Frank Pepe (New Haven, CT) on the “Chasing Richman” list
That's what they call them at Frank Pepe’s. I really liked visiting this place, the ambiance, aura, just the whole look, feel and smell of it. As soon as you walked in the door and made eye contact with that amazing brick coal fired oven, It said, this is “pizza history” to you. The likes of which, I’ve never seen before that oven was massive. From the 15' foot long peels hanging off the ceiling, to the 4 person operation tomato pie making operation, the place was really awesome.
Nestled in the heart of New Haven’s Little Italy, this thriving pizzeria is cranking out some really good pizza. I ordered my benchmark pizza combination, a sausage & pepperoni tomato pie.
When it arrived I knew right away this was a different. The crust was toasty and dry, as in crisp, giving it that trademark east coast tough, chewy & crusty texture that just goes with pizzas in this part of the country. In other words; it seems like with all NY & Neapolitan style pizzas the focus is not on making a wonderful and edible amazing outer crust, but rather on making a solid chewy bottom. The tomato sauce was good, maybe even a bit light for my taste, both the meats were good, but the sausage was mild, which is a major issue when eating pizza on the East Coast I’m quickly discovering.
I enjoyed this pizza, but I had two gripes; first, the outer crust is only partly edible; after eating one or two slices of pizza, you eventually stop wanting to eat the crust. All this talk from the so called experts from New York and Slice with their terms about “lift” and blah, blah, blah, cant write away the fact, that East Coast pizza in general has crappy thick “chew on leather” types of crusts.
When I go to pizza places on the East Coast, do you know what I’m seeing the most of? Crusts going into the trash, lots of them. And it’s not just me, or the kids either.
Secondly, East Coast pizza makes for a lousy cold pizza and doesn’t travel very well; case in point, by the time I made the trip back from New Haven to Providence, I was in the mood to finish off the Frank Pepe pizza, only to find a soggy limp mess that was both unappetizing and inedible, bummed, I ended up picking off a few ingredients and then tossing away the whole mess. Basically your choice is to just eat it there, because that's all the life your going to get from it.
In spite of everything, I still enjoyed the trip down to New Haven, and I’m really glad that I tried the world famous Frank Pepe Pizza (I had heard of this place long before the Richman article). I feel like I went to a pizza museum and learned and tasted a piece of history.
Taste - 7
Experience - 9
Value - 8
Score - 8
#06. Sally's Apizza (New Haven, CT.) on the “Chasing Richman” list
The pictures tell the whole story, maybe next time…