Written by Allison C.. Visit her on Instagram at @food_of_ct
Are you looking for new Connecticut food to try? Or curious what New Haven Style Pizza is all about? Learn from a local food influencer like Connecticut’s Allison C. the blogger behind @food_of_ct.
Every city has amazing local restaurants with secret food and menu items that only locals know about. In this blog post, you’ll learn more about Connecticut’s New Haven Style Pizza including Pepe’s, Modern, and Sally’s “Apizza” as well as a few other honorable mentions.
Connecticut Food Secrets Revealed: New Haven Style Pizza
If you’re local to Connecticut, you know that “apizza” and pizza are two very different things. Pronounced “ah-beets”, the style was created in New Haven by the legendary Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana. For it to be considered an apizza, some necessary characteristics are that the crust must be thin, chewy, and charred.
The Great Apizza Debate
The ideal level of char is often a subject of debate, as some are quick to deem any blackness on the crust as a sign that it is burnt. Every establishment that serves apizza in Connecticut is truly unique. They all have different ratios of sauce to cheese, levels of char, and specialties on the menu.
Connecticut Food: 3 Must-Try Destinations for Apizza
In New Haven, there are three restaurants that serve as the benchmark for all other apizzas. They are Pepe’s, Modern, and Sally’s, and most people in Connecticut are fiercely loyal to one of them.
Wooster Square, the Little Italy of New Haven, is home to Pepe’s and Sally’s. In 1925, Frank Pepe opened his pizzeria, and in 2021, there are twelve Pepe’s locations across Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York. Meanwhile, Modern is located on State Street a short drive away. In a pre-COVID world, you would often see long lines of people waiting to get their hands on some famous apizza. Currently, the restaurants are only offering takeout, but in the parking lots or on Wooster Street you will find multiple people eating in their cars or having a small tailgate. The menus here are simple, as each place only offers pizza and salad. With the volume of their businesses, it would be difficult to have a more extensive menu, but everyone that comes only has apizza on their mind anyway.
Apizza Specialties to Try
Each of the pizzerias has a specialty that sets their apizza apart from one another. At Pepe’s, you will find their specialties to be a white clam, or in the summertime, a fresh tomato apizza. It is also not uncommon for the chefs at Pepe’s to cut the apizzas into uneven rectangular pieces.
Meanwhile, the specialty apizza at Modern is called the “Italian Bomb”, which is topped with bacon, sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, peppers, and garlic.
At Sally’s, the two specialties are their tomato sauce and white potato apizzas. The white potato apizza should not be confused with mashed potatoes, as this apizza is topped with thinly sliced potatoes and rosemary. To stay consistent and appeal to the majority of palates, we included pictures of a regular mozzarella cheese apizza from each restaurant.
Apizza Honorable Mentions
Though Pepe’s, Modern, and Sally’s are the most well-known, some honorable mentions for New Haven-style apizza are BAR and Ernie’s, also in New Haven, Zuppardi’s, located in West Haven, and Roseland, located in Derby. There are so many other fantastic places for apizza in Connecticut that are on our list to try!
Want to dive deeper, join a Facebook Group
On Facebook, there are two popular groups called “Pizzaholics” and “All About New Haven Style A’pizza (Ah-beetz)™”, where members will post a picture of their pizza to spark a discussion, or ask for pizza suggestions in a specific area.
Members of the group are located all across the country, but the majority of group discussions are often centered around Connecticut apizza. The admins of the “All About New Haven Style A’pizza (Ah-beetz)™” group are referred to as The Pizza Gavones, and they post video reviews of apizza from around Connecticut. They rate each apizza out of 10, similar to Dave Portnoy, the founder of Barstool Sports. Portnoy himself has brought nationwide attention to the New Haven pizzerias, as well as many others in Connecticut, through his “One Bite” reviews.
When a celebrity is in the area, you will often hear that they have been spotted grabbing a slice of apizza. It is truly inspiring to see the effect that New Haven apizza has had in and beyond Connecticut. If you have the opportunity to visit Connecticut, make sure to plan a visit to New Haven for some authentic apizza!