Pepe's pizza in Fairfield
I'll preface by saying I love going to Pepe's Pizza in New Haven and think nothing of driving an hour to get there, then wait on line another hour to eat their amazing white clam and tomato pies. But I was curious to try the new Pepe's in Fairfield - much closer to my home. My wife and I went there last weekend.
The pizza is distinctly and profoundly inferior to the pizza in New Haven. We both noticed it with the first bite and it was consistent with both pies. The pizza looks different and has lost that earthy brick oven taste of the New Haven Pepe's. The crust, which is "to die for" in New Haven, is mediocre in Fairfield.
I wonder what others' experiences have been - but in the future I'll drive the extra miles to go to New Haven.
Oh, that's disappointing to hear. We had been looking forward to trying the Fairfield shop (my wife grew up in New Haven and the whole family worships the stuff).
I've seen it before. A pizza oven makes the pizza. We have a local place whose success spelled the doom of its pie. They did such a great business that they bought bigger new ovens. Ooops. After that the pizza was never the same again.
Strongly disagree . . . it took a while, but my last two experiences at Fairfield have been every bit as good as New Haven, with a shorter drive and wait . . . White Clam Pie, and Pepperoni w/ grated cheese only
FWIW--returning to NYC after a job in New Haven on Saturday, I was tantalized to be so near Pepe's but unable to leave a car full of gear unattended so I did Fairfield instead. I had a white clam pie and a tomato/mozz. pie, stuffing a bit of each in my face in the car before consigning the rest to be reheated at home. If NH Pepe's is a 10, I'd rate these 8.5. Pretty damned good. Good crust, very good char. Good garlic action on the clams. The red pie's cheese was oddly a bit sour tasting--not very objectionable but surprising.
All in all, I would recognize the pies as definitely Pepe's. The place smelled like Pepe's. If it wasn't heaven, it was not disappointing either.
Never been to the original in New Haven but had for quite some time heard about - even from a former colleague, a New Yorker living in London who would travel from Manhattan every time he came in on business - thus we (myself, husband and daughter) had high expectations when we finally went to the Fairfield store in early October and it delivered. We all thought it was great. The white clam pizza was amazing and I now crave it regularly.
Went back a second time a few weeks later - took my parents as my father is quite the pizza maven - and it was great again. He loved it too.
We live in Westchester and are going to Vermont for Thanksgiving and returning Sunday afternoon so was thinking about trying the original in New Haven on the way back. If we do that, I'll post. But, to date, without NH for comparison, I'm perfectly happy with Fairfield and the 40 minute ride to get there.
I previously posted that I did not like the Fairfield incarnation of Pepe's, but after some cajoling I tried it again. And like it. Very much.