I had take out at the new Pepes on Saturday night
Ok...I will be objective...The new Pepes in Manchester on Saturday.
I called for take out at 5:45 and was told my pizza would be ready at 8:45...Ok...it was 9:15 but who is counting after 3 hours...apparently they only take 3 pizzas every fifteen minutes for takeout...
I apreciate the casual slicing technique but the poor girl handling my pie looked like she had never cut a pizza before...and they need to get some bigger pizza wheels.
The pizza...which is what it is all about...
Way too much cheese...truned the dough gooey...did not spread out and allow the pie to cook.
Dough was salty...or it might have been the crust..but definitely heavy handed.
I think the best descriotion by my friends was..."This isn;t what Pepes makes in New haven...I had to agree.
So...probably still getting their feet wet...
Petty stuff I know...but had to add...
I expected a little more atmoshphere...what works in New Haven and is 80 years old just looks cold and sparce in a prefab mall building...
It will be interesting to see if the folks in the noirth accept the charred edges and looong waits...alot of evil looking people ...no line to speak of...
My previous posts about the inflated reputation of New Have Pizza has been met with derision and blind, lemming like dedication by those who really know so little about cooking but are drawn to Wooster St partly because the pizza can be good...but also because it is "cool" and trendy and they can tell their friends how they would never let themselves eat anything less ...I guess Sally';s is slumming to some of them.
However to accomodate what can be a good experience when you are in the original location...but try and carry that quality fifty miles north and expect the ambiance and history to translate did not work for me on Saturday.
Even at the original...the pepperoni is not cut into cubes like the ones I had on Saturday...they should have served toothpicks with a cube of cheddar with the pie...it was like an hor d' oeuvre...basic culinary knowledge and every Italian cook who ever picked up a knife knows there are some things that are just blatantly wrong...and slicing any kind of sausage into a cube so fat is one of those things.
It just bleeds red pork grease all over everything and when the cheese is layered on like a quilt on a cold winter night...the combination is a slippery disaster.
Watching two amateur pizza makers (I felt for them) squeeze the "thawed from a frozen block", water saturated spinach and neon colored broccoli bits...when I know Mulberry Street across town makes theirs with fresh, local products...and can deliver 10 pizzas to go in 45 minutes just adds fuel to my fire about the entire event.
I guess we'll see...it's like going to Disney...at some point almost everyone knows the new experience is just plywod and paint...with a very big bank account waiting to be filled when it's all over.
I wonder if Joe Pepe... whose famous black and white picture hangs in the bland and boring dining room...is turning over in his grave as his relatives, lawyers, bankers and friends take what was a noble instutution and turn it into another processed dough ball..... Little Ceasars, Pizza Hut, Papa Ginos...take your pick...Joe Pepe is now a chain and they will make decisions about quality, cost and service. Greed and common sense will be used to validate the decisions...and both perspectives are legitimate business strategies despite what you may think of the first one ...but they will ultimatley be just like the others...
I hope I am wrong about all of this...but I'm calling today about a franchise packet... I want the concession at the Civic Center.
(We'll replace the coal fired oven with one of those convection pass through jobs...no one will notice as long as the name on the box is Joe Pepe)
Indeed, 3 hours is ridiculous. Given the chain saturation of that area, and a crowd that would demand relative promptness, I think most will scoff at the idea. I have had quite good pizza from the moderately new Paradise Pizza, on Broad Street next to Meineke. Thin crust, no charring. I think I'll stick to that for now.
I can add my experince from last Sunday night - I ate by myself in the restaurant and ordered one small pizza - bacon, onoins, mozzarella. After 50 minutes it arrived - it was not new haven pizza as I know it - crust too thick, no char. I will stick to Pure Pizza in Berlin which is closer to the Wooster St. style I was looking for.
I stopped at Pure...a bunch of strippers came in from next door...once this gets out it should be popular...but families might baulk.
I think Hosmer Mountain soda is better.
I talked to the guys running it...the pizza guy was at Pepes for 23 years and they asked him to help open the new one in Manchester and he said after all he did for the one in Norwalk he got short changed...so he quit...on a mission from God to beat pepes...only issue...way way down on the Tpke...almost Meriden.
Good cheese pie...not charred either...but tasty
We've been to Pepe's in NH many many times in the 36 years we've lived in the Hartford area (most recently a few weeks ago) and must offer a contrary opinion about the new operation in Manchester. We went last evening and sat down at about 4:50PM - one of the last tables seated before the 'Wait to be seated' sign went up.
We also were not sure what to expect about the 'atmosphere,' thinking maybe a few additional items might appear on the menu like, for example, at Modern. We haven't been to the Fairfield location, but assuming they did not try something new there, then given the apparent success of that location, the Pepe's format travelled well going to the west of NH and should be replicated in Manchester. If Fairfield did try something different, experience there then told them to revert to the tried and true. It certainly isn't a knock-out attractive restaurant, but, hey, it's a pizza place.
We ordered our benchmarking pizza, red pie w/ mootz, pepperoni, and sausage (agreeably not particularly inventive but basic) and were very pleased with what we were served. It wasn't quite Wooster St but was very close - I guess that all the things that Sodagirl didn't like, e.g., salty crust, 'casual' slicing, and too much cheese leading to 'gooey dough' are to us the hallmark of a Pepe's pizza, including the charred crust. We loved it and living in Glastonbury are glad to be able to visit Pepe's on a much more regular basis.
As to the wait for take-out: you apparently were told up front the wait was 3 hours and found it to be 3.5 hours. That's a 16% increase in wait time. When I order out, I usually get a time of 25 or 30 minutes, 16% of which is 4-5 minutes and I don't think you would complain about that (maybe you would). certainly 3 hours is a long time; I have no idea of wait times in NH. If thisdoesn't work in Manchester they need to alter their business plan. I will say that in the hour or so we were there yesterday, observing from booth #1 with a clear view of the oven and takeout counter, that they were delivering many more takeouts than 3 per quarter-hour. I don't know how many tables they have there, there were 6 in the entrance area and more along the right side of the building, so maybe 25 - 30 at the most. Assuming that a table turns in 60 minutes (our experience last night), that's a requirement for 30 pizzas an hour. I timed them at about 5:00 for 10-15 minutes and they seemed to be doing about a pizza a minute (about the same as the rate I've observed at Wooster St on a Saturday at noon). That translates into 7.5 pizzas available for takeout every 15 minutes. If they are not delivering that rate, they are not maximizing their capacity. In the time we were there, I'd estimate the ratio of takeout to eat in at 1:1.
They have been open for 2 weeks plus a day or so. Its asking alot of any restaurant to be at their best in this period of time. The market will determine whether they have a viable business or not. We hope they do.
My sister in law lives in norwalk ...she goes to the Pepes in Fairfield...my fault for getting the town wrong...I know where it is...but then everything past Bridgeport is really NY...
The saltiness, thickness of the dough, and the load of cheese are not hallmarks of Pepes...it was far and away from the many many, many pizzas I've had in NH that it indicated they are not at the top of their game yet...and as I also inicated...I also hope they are successful...
The charred crust is a hallmark...it is a learned trait for the customer...but the only way to ensure all three components of the pie are cooked correctly it has to happen...
On the gooey dough...this is a problem that every pizza shop deals with
The heat passes thru the dough which then reduces the raw tomato sauce to a concentrated state...and then cooks the cheese which if it is applied in the right amount cookis quickly and spreads out into a lattice...it has many little pin holes and turns slightly orange if done right...the ratio of dough to sauce to cheese is critical.
If the ratio is off the heat is trapped by the cheese and makes the dough gooey...cheap cheese also will not spread correctly...(something that Pure Pizza may be saving money on...from what I have experienced)
In regards to the wait...I looked at the take out sheet on the counter and for a Friday and Saturday they only take a minimal number of take out orders...according to what was written it was about three pies every fifteen minutes...trust me...25 or 30 minutes is alot longer than 4 to 5 minutes...not sure if your analogy makes sense...I am glad they don't use this formula in an emergency room for someone having a heart attack...but I am impressed with your math skill :)
Wooster St on a Saturday ( are you referring to WSP in Manchester or the Pepes location in NH?...this can get confusing...my observations indicate the oven is not at capacity...and after seeing the peel man wipe out a whole tray of glasses and bonk two folks on the noggin with the handle... I will stop complaining about the wait...at least there is entertainment...it will take some time..because...I am the forst to tell people...pizza making is not easy,,, nit is a learned and practiced skill and the reason so many pizza shops make poor products is because they don't realize this fact.
We shall see...
Wow - and that was what night?
Friends, hubby and I were there on Thursday night - and the pies are MUCH better than in New Haven - but then, we like our pies well done, and all of us agreed that it's just way better than NH site. I don't like the pie in NH - too greasy, and not done enough. Seems like they rush through so many orders that they don't take the time to prepare them correctly.
Seems to me that they tried to duplicate the NH site as accurately as possible - worked for us.
Didn't see any evil looking people there either.
You may want to try them on another night. Or maybe, as you mentioned, you're just too petty.
not petty at all...I know pizzas...the evil looking people were all standing around waiting for theirs...you can chalk it up to a bad night...alot of businesses use this as an excuse...so I guess I deserve a discount?
I have to believe that this is the first time someone is saying the pizzas at Pepes in NH are undercooked and greasy...sounds like it has not been a good experience...just what I have been saying all along...it is inconsistent and has been...
maybe you should ask for a discount as well...what would you do if this was a flat screen TV and it was just a little broken...it is time for retsurants to be judged in the same manner as all other businesses...
my pizzas the other night took 3.5 hours to make... were salty, greasy, thick crusted and chopped up into little pieces...it was not pretty, cost $36 and should not have been sold in that conndition.
I have been going to New Haven for pizza since I was a child, I am now 42.
I have worked in a pizza restaurant and I also consider myself to be a bit of an expert in "New Haven Pie".
It is a generally agreed consensus that as Frank (not Joe) Pepe's in New Haven has become more of a tourist spot that they have skimped on the cooking time of their pies.
To call a New Haven Pepe's pie "undercooked" is a common complaint that is not out of line or unheard of.
That being said.
I HIGHLY, I repeat HIGHLY recommend the Manchester Pepe's.
Just as the Frank Pepe's staff makes an effort to do their pies correctly for the Pepe's Faithful and not the Tourists at their neighboring location, "The Spot", so too at their Manchester location.
I went last Thursday night.
Out of the many pies we ordered one of them was pepperoni and the pepperoni was sliced, not chunked.
I not only give it my highest New Haven Pie rating but also PREFER it to the New Haven Pepe's establishment, even "The Spot".
In order to convince the Pepe's Faithful that they're getting "The Real Deal", Pepe's is making a real effort.
I asked strangers going in (all friendly, mind you, not an evil looking face in sight) if the pie measured up, and they, to a one, said that they went in highly skeptical and left convinced.
I, personally, have not tasted a Pepe's pie this good since I was a kid.
Give it another try, sodagirl, maybe they had a staff problem that night,
or perhaps you just don't like New Haven pie, and if that's the case, not everything's for everyone.
Had lunch there today, I just don't get it. The pizza was very greasy and messy to eat and the napkins they provide were next to useless. Ordering a soft drink was very confusing (some drinks in a pitcher, some in a liter bottle). And the men's room didn't have paper towels to help in the clean up effort after eating. This restaurant didn't seem to be very user friendly. I've haven't eaten at the NH location (although I considered standing in line once), I think there is better pizza in the area, I'm not a hater, everyone is entitled to there preferences, but I don't get it.
i'm wondering if these people who are bashing the new pepe's either:
1) have never eaten new haven style pizza and are discovering the style isn't for them
2) remember how good pepe's used to be, and are comparing it to the old pepe's and not the undercooked EH that new haven pepe's is turning out now
3) are comparing it to sally's, the greatness of which pepe's will never achieve.
i gotta get there to try it out.