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Pepe's P & P (Park Slope's Best Pizza...Shhhh...)

Discovery being in the eye of the discoverer, I can’t lay claim to finding the best new slice/pie/calzone/hero shop in Brooklyn (south park slope no less) - It’s just new to me and after several visits over the past month, I’m convinced this place makes one of the best slices I’ve ever had.

From it’s tiny storefront, Pepe’s Pizza and Panini on 4th Avenue – steps from the Prospect Ave. train station between Prospect and 18th Street will soon be over run, with a long wait and accolades from far and wide lining the walls. Until then, get your pizza on hassle free, time though is running out. Given the quantity to quality ratio in the area for pizza – Pepe’s P & P does its part to even out the statistics.

The owner and cook are both masterful in their execution and warmth. The crust is unreal in its tastiness and tomatoes are flown in from Naples. The owner is a Napoli native and it comes through in the freshness and quality of the food. When was the last time you walked into a pizza shop and everyone in there was from Italy hunched over a streaming video of Italian league futbol. The WiFi is extended to any patron who wishes to use it which is a nice touch.

I was with my son a few weeks back on one of the first cold days of the season. Once we ordered, the cook brought us both soup, chicken with escarole, it was delicious. The slices I’ve enjoyed most are the house slice, arugala and prosciutto, and the broccoli rabe and sausage one. For $5 you can get a calzone as big as your head with ricotta, ham, tomatoes and onion.

I remain impressed and wish them all the success in the world – they’re doing it properly and you can taste the love.

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  1. Thanks bklyn J! How do you think it compares with DiFara's?

    1 Reply
    1. re: NYJewboy

      It's impossible to hold a candle to Dom and Pepe's P&P is still wet behind the ears to certain extent. That being said, try for yourself - the margin of exception to the rest of the PS slice shops is pretty vast. Maybe in 50 years those dudes will have the same well deserved rep as DiFara.

    2. I just noticed this place on my frequent runs to the Home Depot and after your post gave it a try yesterday. What a great place with excellent pizza. Great ingredients and a really friendly vibe. Usually I just go straight cheese as my barometer, but when I walked in, I was offered slices of several specialty pies. I ended getting a slice of everything he had available (I didn't see any plain cheese slices), one stuffed slice with ham, pepperoni and cherry tomatoes (nice touch), one slice of a thin crust w/ prosciutto and, I think, arugala, and another stuffed slice that had marinara and a sprinkling of parmesan on top and spinach and ricotta in the middle. The last slice being a very hefty and filling slice. They were all delicious and the thin crust on the prosciutto slice indicates they must make a mean cheese slice as well. Calzones looked great. Can't wait to go back to this gem.

      1. Dropped into Peppe's the other day after reading the initial post and I have to agree that it's deifinitely the best I've had in the Park Slope area--Nice guys, too.

        1. Just stopped in tonight. I was amazed - having this place open next to me is like winning the lottery without buying a ticket. The crust on the house slice is crispy but not cracker-crumbly, and the sauce tastes as fresh as you can imagine - plus not too salty (the only salt in the pizza comes from the cheese), meaning that I'd taken down a whole slice before I even reached for my coke. They're really friendly, too, justly proud of what they've come up with. Get in now before the line stretches from here to Franny's.

          1. Like the other posters I've passed Pepe's everyday but never went in, until reading this post. I'm glad I did, this place rocks. We tried three types of slices and took more home. All were great. They use really fresh ingredients, high quality tomatoes
            and fresh meats. I'm usually not a fan of stuffed slices but here they are fantastic. Not heavy or greasy, and the crust is just right. The spinach and fresh ricotta slice was unbelievable, probably the best I've ever eaten. We also had a chicken cacciatore stuffed slice, $4, also really fresh (organic chicken), and not heavy. The square slices are also fantastic. I can't wait to go back and try the egg parm. and other dishes. The owner and chef are both super friendly and obviously care about the food they prepare.
            Hands down it's the best quality pizza in Park Slope, and dare I say further. It's small inside, just a few counters with stools, so it's probably mostly for takeout or delivery.

            1. I stopped by here last Thursday after reading this post and had a grandma slice...great crust, fresh tasty cheese and a "good" sauce (it tasted a little tomato paste like for me). That being said I was really impressed with the places vibe...the owner/chef gave me a sample of pasta fagiole soup which was really good and he seemed very friendly. The little kitchen, the steel oven, everything was perfect.

              I can't wait to go back and try the regular slice. In fact, since I went on Thursday I've been thinking about nothing else but going back. I feel like this place has real potential. The only thing I would do is throw some fresh basil on those slices and you're stepping closer to Dom's. It sounds crazy anything could be as could as DiFara's but this guy is on his way. He's obviously someone who cares about his food. Try it.

              1 Reply
              1. re: pastoralia

                Another trip to Pepe's. The regular slice is a perfect example of a New York slice. Nice paper thin, crispy crust, fresh tasting sauce and quality cheese which cuts back on the grease and salt factor. My habit is to get some of the stuffed slices to go and heat them in the toaster oven at home and it's remarkable how well it works. I had a stuffed chicken parm slice that was divine. Chicken, mushrooms, tomato sauce, cheese and nice hunks of garlic in the middle, a sprinkling of basil (or maybe oregano) and parmesan on top with a wonderful crust. Even after it sat refrigerated for a day and was reheated, the crust didn't lose all it's mositure and retained a nice chewy texture in the middle. And the best part is the service, which is so welcoming and such a relief.

              2. Does anyone have a phone number for this place? Couldn't find it online. Thanks.

                2 Replies
                1. re: adriennehv

                  718 788 7333
                  597A, 4th Ave
                  open 11a-11p, everyday
                  Their takeout menu says you can mix and match ingredients to create your own salad, panini or pizza.

                  1. re: rd135

                    Hmm, I went by last Monday and they were closed. I called and the new hours are 11a-10p Tues.-Sat, and noon to 9p on Sun.

                2. Went to Pepe's saturday afternoon and was very impressed. Had a slice of square "grandma" and a slice of "Pepe's". The Pepe's was round with various meats (prosciutto, I think pepperoni) and baby aruguala. Both slices absolutely delicious. The round was reminiscent of DiFara's -- although not quite that level. But really just a step below. Delicious crust, not soggy. Simply a wonderful piece of pizza.

                  And the service was very friendly.

                  My only complaint was it was very small, and with 4 other people there, there was nowhere to sit, so I basically had to eat my slices outside in the cold.

                  Either way, its definitely worth the trip from the north slope, and, dare I say at the risk of exposing this find, from further afar than that.

                  Fantastic call Bklyn_j!

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: elecsheep9

                    hummmm, sundays are usually our pizza (delivery) night, reserved mainly for anthony's. i think this sunday will call for a change. thanks for the heads up!

                    1. re: TBird

                      So they do deliver? Anyone know how far?

                      1. re: sabrina0

                        delivery is on it's way to 12th, i know that much!

                        1. re: TBird

                          well, we weren't overwhelmed by this one. :-(

                          we ordered a small sausage/red pepper with extra garlic. they were very nice and timely, but the pie ended up quite greasy and soggy. i can't believe it was the pepper or garlic, and can barely blame the sausage. the tomato sauce had a very sweet element to it that was good. it also seemed to be lightly covered with goat cheese?

                          ps - we definately aren't giving up based on our one experience.

                          but i would like to do a side by side comparison with lennys, which i think is in the same ballpark. i don't think it'll stand up to anthonys or frannies.

                          1. re: TBird

                            "but i would like to do a side by side comparison with lennys, which i think is in the same ballpark."

                            mission accomplished! sort of...

                            i grabbed a slice from peppe's, lenny's and joe's, for comparison sake. brought all 3 home and ate them in the order that they were ordered so they all had an equal comparison of freshness.

                            peppe's clearly won that round, but it was flawed. i ordered a slice of plain cheese from both lenny's and joe's, but at pepe's i ordered a slice with prosciutto/arugula/parmigiano.

                            what was i thinking?

                            to be honest, peppe's didn't have any plain cheese slices in sight and i guess i caved in. my bad.

                            guess i'll have to do it all over again?LOL

                            twist my arm...

                            1. re: TBird

                              When I went, I didn't think there were any plain cheese in sight either, so I ordered that same "Pepe's" slice (which was great). Only after I ordered did I see the plain pie hiding behind the counter!

                            2. re: TBird

                              "well, we weren't overwhelmed by this one. :-("

                              Neither was I. The regular slice was below average; mediocre sauce. A bland, boring slice. The toppings on some of the other slices appear to be good quality ingredients but for me, there was a synergy that was lacking between crust, sauce and other ingredients. This place doesn't hold a candle to any of the great NY pizzerias and is not worth the trip. I don't understand the fuss, or this 60+post thread. Maybe it's a decent alternative if you're already in that neighborhood.

                        2. re: TBird

                          I always go with Anthony's for a great pie in the Slope...let me know how you think Peppe's compares.

                      2. Place link:

                        597 4th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

                        1. I went back the other day for a regular cheese slice and wasn't that impressed. Their menu says they use only fresh ingredients and cheese but the sauce wasn't that spectacular and the cheese looked liked the same grated stuff that every corner pizza place uses. I guess, since I had never had the regular slice, I thought it would have fresh mozarella, a tangy sauce, and I nice charred crust (I've been spoiled by Dom but who hasn't?) The slice I had was fine- not bad, not great...just OK and like anywhere else in the Slope or the city.

                          That being said I did enjoy the grandma slice I had weeks ago and their special slices like the spinach and eggplant look quite delicious. I'm sure I'll be back and I can tell they mean business when it comes to their pies. My only advice would be use fresh mozarella, char that crust some more and work on the sauce a bit...I know these ingredients will raise the price but I'd easily pay a dollar more for a Dom quality slice closer to home that I don't have to wait an hour to get.

                          Has anyone had their calzones yet? How do they compare to Lucalis?

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: pastoralia

                            I had their slice as well. Not bad. Not DiFara good but certainly not bad. Their grandma slices are indeed very, very good. The pizza maker uses a totally different sauce. I also had their meatball hero. If they decide to cut down on the breadcrumbs they would have a hit.

                            1. re: bigmackdaddy

                              went the other day for lunch. we tried a calzone, reg slice and grandma slice. service was fantastic. they are great guys and deserve to do well. being in their place is a nice treat. they are friendly and generous and patient and warm. the food was great for a slice place, maybe the best slice place i've been to yet, other than difaras. i kind of prefer baked calzones to fried ones, and eventhough they fry theirs, i thought it was good- maybe just a bit too bready. the slices were really good, too, although i wished they used a slightly higher quality mozarella. i agree with the above poster that the moz tastes like most other slice places. maybe it's a notch better. but since their sauce and crust were so good, i wished that they'd have a slightly better tasting cheese.

                              1. re: joekarten

                                I'm glad you mentioned the fried calzone...guess I won't be trying that. I'm going to Lucali's tonight for a nice charred calzone.

                                Peppe's is young and I think it will only get better. They are a nice bunch of people that work there.

                          2. I'm going to step out on a limb here and predict that Pepe's will become one of the city's most beloved pizza shops. The elements are all there: fresh ingredients, inspired preparation and owners who are warm and cordial.

                            A quick stop today: a grandma's slice was extraordinary. The sauce is the thing here: San Marzano-based, garlicky and smooth. The taste lingers on the tongue for nearly a minute after each bite. Go now. Enjoy.

                            1. Yes. I went today and I concur, to a degree. It is miles above even good neighborhood joints, but it is no DiFara's (what else is?).

                              I highly recommend the grandma. It is a very good take on the standard formula, no surprises other than fresh above-average quality ingedients, care, and good technique. I liked the eggplant and ricotta slice, but less so. However I could sense that the intention and care will pay off. I agree that they need to refine it a bit and it can be a GREAT pizza shop.

                              Here is my suggestion: work on the sauce. I would like to see a spicy, thick, pungent saucxe with lots of herbs and garlic on the sicilian. The sauce now is good, because of the good tomatos and olive oil, but I would like to see more of a punch in there. Maybe a little pork in the sauce for taste.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: NYJewboy

                                I respectfully disagree: I thing they've got the sauce down fine. The garlic is the distinctive feature about the sauce and it lingers long after the bite goes down. As for pork, I'd prefer to keep it meat-free (and not go in the treyf direction, NYJewboy. Oy, where did I go wrong with you?)

                                1. re: famdoc

                                  the sauce was the redeeming factor in it for us.

                                  1. re: famdoc

                                    Yes, just from the smell it is clear that they use fresh garlic. However (in the slices I had) I just wished that the sauce was more 'up front'. Maybe spicier, maybe more of it, I don't know. But I thought it could be refined a bit and taken further. It was still very good, but could be great. My point of comparison is (of course, as if you couldn't see this coming) Dom's sauce at DiFara's. Zesty without being topheavy with any ingredient, fresh garlic not withstanding. Like a Bach cantata in your mouth. Perfectly harmonized in an array that would only yield diminishment if any element were to venture beyond its part in the grand drama.

                                    As for my halachic status...oh well! I'd complain, but who'd listen? (certainly not my goyisha wife). I'll keep the pork and leave the schmaltz. Just don't tell my grandmother.

                                    1. re: NYJewboy

                                      Had a chance to stop in this past Saturday. He had three of four selections at the time, one being a great looking stuffed pizza. I opted for the Grandma slice - among the best I've had hands down. When I got there a Chowhound was taking a picture of the place. Was that you?

                                2. I hate to rain on the parade, but the pizza here is nothing special, at least the plain slice. The best I can say about it is that it's inoffensive, comprised of nearly tasteless sauce and gluey, characterless cheese on a decent crust. There's hardly any good pizza in Park Slope, so to say it's the best isn't saying much, but I don't even think it's the best.

                                  14 Replies
                                  1. re: Peter Cuce

                                    Chef's off on Monday - it's true.

                                    1. re: Peter Cuce

                                      "There's hardly any good pizza in Park Slope, so to say it's the best isn't saying much, but I don't even think it's the best."

                                      please supply the names of the best. as you can see, i'll gladly go out and do the taste test.

                                      1. re: Peter Cuce

                                        Oy, I know. I went today (monday) and the description above is accurate. The grandma slices were like any decent corner NY pizza joint, maybe a bit better. The promise of glory and splendor has vanished, leaving only the faint trace of tomato stains on the astral.

                                        1. re: Peter Cuce

                                          "There's hardly any good pizza in Park Slope, so to say it's the best isn't saying much"

                                          Sort of like calling Moe the "smart" Stooge?

                                          1. re: Bob Martinez

                                            Don't start on the Three Stooges! Them's fighting words. To quote Peter Tork, "It's okay, Mickey. I'm the dummy."

                                            All this about this pizza joint really sounds like wishful thinking.

                                            1. re: noisejoke

                                              This happened a couple of years ago with a place on 5th Ave. (near 3rd St.?) People went on and on about the grandma slice. Best thing in the world. Fabulous.

                                              So I tried it. It was pretty good, a cut above the average neighborhood slice, but no revelation. Shortly thereafter the number of rapturous posts began to decline and people started rated it properly. I think of that as The Pizza Arc.

                                              I was hoping that Pepe's was the real thing but based on recent posts I'm thinking that it's another victim of the Arc.

                                              1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                Yeah, after the multiple rave reviews of Pepe's, I was wondering when the inevitable chowhound "it's-not-all-that" backlash would start! (Verdict: Peter Cuce, three weeks from the original post.) But I have found Peter C's reviews to be a bit harsh in the past, so I'm still curious to try Pepe's when I get a chance.... To each his own, I guess.

                                                1. re: parkslopemama

                                                  By all means try Pepe's. It would be nice to have another data point.

                                                  I dug around and found the name of the place that was wildly praised for about 15 minutes - Pizza by the Park. Here's a thread which covers the Pizza Arc.

                                                  After a few weeks of getting ecstatic reviews the middling reviews started to come in. It never gets mentioned any more.

                                                  Same for Tomato and Basil on Union and 4th Ave. Wildly praised, then nothing. Based on comments on the board I checked them out. They are very nice people but the pizza is standard NY street slice fare. Too bad.

                                                  1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                    Peppe's (with two p's, btw) is immensely better than Pizza by the Park. I haven't had tried the plain slice that seems to have turned a few posters off, but the Peppe and Grandma slices have been delicious, as was a creamy ham calzone. Peppe's ingredients seem fresher and more authentically Italian than most other places. I'd rate it slightly below Lucali's and slightly above Anthony's, with the added bonus of being able to buy a variety of fresh slices, especially at lunchtime.

                                                    Oh, and in addition to their mediocre pies, Pizza by the Park lost my biz the day I heard the counterman hectoring his employees about hoping George Bush gets re-elected, "because the other guy wants to send you back to Mexico."

                                                    1. re: Pulpio

                                                      Y'know, Chowhounds are usually the first people to give a restaurant a chance to iron out the kinks before passing judgment. Peppe's has only been open two months. On the plus side, there are two owners immensely involved in the day-to-day operation of the joint, preparation of food and customer relations. Ingredients are fresh. Preparation is done in full view of customers. I'm not a meat eater, so I can't comment on the Peppe's pie, but the grandma's pie was delicious. As I said in my original review, the sauce is the thing.
                                                      On the day I had my grandma's slice, the sauce was replete with the taste of garlic. I liked that. The crust was crispy with slight char.
                                                      The cheese was fresh and sparingly sprinkled atop my slice, allowing the sauce to stand out (I keep thinking about the fine 'tomato pies' I've had in the Chambersburg neighborhood in Trenton).

                                                      Let's not invoke any kind of 'pizza arc.' It's just premature.
                                                      Like Pulpio, I'd place Peppe's above Anthony's (whose pie is just okay lately) and below Lucali's. To make any comparison to Dom's is just sacrilege at this time.

                                                      1. re: famdoc

                                                        You know famdoc, I spoke with mike (I hope that is his name correctly) who is the chef and pizza maker over the weekend. He understood a lot about making pizza and cooking in general. He always understood that it takes a while to set up right and keep it going. However, monday he was not there and the pizza was not so good. Our beloved grandma slices were a bit doughy and drab, and the sauce was almost right out of the can (no fresh garlic). My complaint was that I wished the sauce was more up front. This was way less. I hope Mike teaches his understudies better.

                                                        1. re: NYJewboy

                                                          are you thinking they use a completely different sauce simply because it is the main "chef"'s night off. or that they simply did not use garlic that night?

                                                          1. re: TBird

                                                            I don't know. But it wasn't any good. No garlic, no outstanding elements of any kind, just very ordinary. My conjecture was that maybe it was a chef issue. If not, then they just are a regular corner slice shop, which is what most of these posts are saying.

                                                            1. re: NYJewboy

                                                              "If not, then they just are a regular corner slice shop."

                                                              i think this is where my deductions are headed as well.

                                        2. I ordered a whole grandma pie for delivery...grated some fresh parm on top of it and added fresh basil and enjoyed it immensely. It was even better the next day.

                                          It's no DiFara's or Lucali's but it's the best corner pizza place in the Slope. Just stay away from the plain slice...pretty boring.

                                          21 Replies
                                          1. re: pastoralia

                                            Yes pastoralia, the grandma slace CAN be quite good. I think that they ARE just an ordinary cornder slice shop WITH great potential.

                                            I think we should give them encouragement and buisness and tell them what we like. When I spoke with the chef he said he was very open to that, wanted to give people what they wanted, to try to be a cut above. I think we should be critical, but help them evolve. That grandma slice could be a bi-weekly event for me!

                                            1. re: NYJewboy

                                              NYJB - you've seemed to bought into the pizza curve (Out of disagreement with Peppe's being included in this category, my protest is to dispel the term "arc" and replace it with "curve" - it's a subversive thing) myth (also I knew you meant "corner" but I just got a thought about a corn meal crusted or corn topped pizza when I read "cornder" and thought yum!).

                                              Bob M. you're one of my most favorite CHers ever (not that I know you personally or nothing). Your pizza (arc) *curve* theory has merit - I don't think it applies here. Again, avoid Mondays but Pep(p)e's is no flash in the pan.

                                              All my previous posts about pizza have been forlorn and tales that have disappointed my heart. Please don't take my joy, Peppe's has been so good to me during such a personally important time in my life - I've been taking (and making - on a whole other thread) stock (in my life and beef respectively) in things. In fact quite karmaticly - I moved to Ditmas Park from 18th Street just last week...No wait for slices from Dom the last two wednesdays at about 6:30 pm has been my salvation. I'll eat a peppe's slice sometime this weekend though and am a better person for it.

                                              If only Dicken's were still alive and yet to write the end of a Christmas Carol - this version would take place in a tiny pizza shop on 4th Avenue near Prospect Ave. - Tiny Tim chomping on a grandma slice in one hand and Peppe's house slice in the other, scrouge picking up the tab, Italian league futbol on the tube.

                                              1. re: bklyn_j

                                                bklyn j you seem to have grasped the essential aspect of the situation that everyone else has missed: absurdity. We all get waaaay too serious about pizza (pizza, for god's sake!)

                                                I am glad you see yourself in relation to a Dickensian image of a down trodden pizza urchin, happy with his grandma slice, and able to bear the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

                                                Bless you. Every one.

                                                1. re: bklyn_j

                                                  Bklyn J, thanks for the kind words. To be sure I don't know whether Peppe's will take a ride on the Pizza Arc. First, I haven't tried the pizza yet and second, I *want* it to be good. The pizza in the Slope is mediocre at best.

                                                  Having hung around on this site since 1999 I've seen a few things. One thing is that new pizza places open, get highly praised for a few weeks, and then the reviews start coming back to earth. I don't think the pizza itself changes, just the perception. People *want* to believe that a great new place has opened up and it colors their original posts.

                                                  After you've seen this 4 or 5 times when it comes around you say to yourself "uh oh, here we go again." (I already cited 2 previous examples and another one comes to mind, a place on the corner of Carroll St. and 3rd Ave.)

                                                  There are exceptions to the Pizza Arc like Anthony's where the reviews remain mostly positive. I hope Peppe's will fall into that camp. I'm going to try a grandma slice this weekend and will report back.

                                                  1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                    We ordered from Pepe's last night - a Grandma's pie and a slice of the roasted eggplant special. The eggplant slice was great. The sauce was very flavorful on the Grandma's pie (plenty of garlic, a taste of real tomatos) and I liked the use of romano cheese but the dough was more than a little undercooked. I personally prefer a thinner crust but I can appreciate why some people like the Sicilian style.

                                                    I think the next time we try the pizza, we will go to Pepe's rather than ordering in...

                                                    1. re: mmm...food

                                                      fresh pizza is always better than delivery. the physics of the closed box means that there will always be trapped moisture. that moisture will be absorbed by the crust, making it soggy. you can ask mike or peppe to make your slice more or less crusty when you order in person.

                                                      1. re: famdoc

                                                        delivery from anthonys is never "soggy"...

                                                          1. re: bigmackdaddy

                                                            i'd have to question your judgement on this one.

                                                              1. re: bigmackdaddy


                                                                what are some of your favorites?

                                                                1. re: TBird

                                                                  At Anthony's? It ain't the pizza. I've had a couple of their pies. Every thing from the crust to the toppings are pretty bland. Their kitchen food is pretty good. As far as pizza goes, like the rest of NYC I'm a fan of Di Fara, the grandma slice I had at Peppe's was pretty good. Antonio's and Smiling is hit or miss. I used to love Lenny's. Sadly and ashamedly I haven't been to Patsy's, Totono's or the restaurant on 5th Ave by Carroll (I forget the name, they also have an outlet in Marine Park.) Di Fara is pretty much the only pizzeria where I gladly eat the all the crust for its flavor.

                                                    2. re: Bob Martinez

                                                      I have been trying to get to this place since this thread popped up, but holidays/work etc haven't gotten in the way so far. In the meantime, I'd like to add some observations to the pizza arc. I live around the corner from a spot that has had about five different pizza joints in it in the last 8 years (3rd and Carroll). I've also frequented most of the new joints that have popped up in a five or six neighborhood radius from that corner. Based on what I've seen, this is what happens:

                                                      1. Place opens up and is dying to get customers so they ALWAYS have fresh pies and slices on hand. They won't serve you anything that's been sitting around a while.

                                                      2. People get these super fresh slices, etc and rave about them

                                                      3. Pizza place gets comfortable after a month and now is trying to be economical - they start leaving slices out longer. The chances of getting a fresh slice diminish.

                                                      4. The second wave of people come and hit the 'not so fresh slice' period and the reviews start heading towards the negative

                                                      5. Pizza place re-acts in the incorrect way to drop off by further reducing the amount of fresh slices in order to curb costs - slice pies now sit out for the entire day, maybe two. Things get disgusting

                                                      6. Now the odds of getting a quality slice at any given time are miniscule. Traffic diminishes. Game over.

                                                      A slice is HUGELY dependent for its quality on how long it's been sitting there waiting to be reheated for you. A place that cares and will always keep the freshest product available should survive. Let's hope Peppe's can do this.

                                                      1. re: spicynuts

                                                        The only way out of both the 'pizza arc' and the 'slice drop' (thanks spicynuts) is to buy a whole pie and eat it immediately. This is what I do at Di Fara's, as do many others. The goal is to not be deterred by lack of proper dining area, crowding, onlookers, or filth. If you are like me, and just don't care about anything but those first great bites, then all is good. However normal human beings don't behave in this disgraceful manner. I personally think that spicynuts, Tbird, famdoc, MMM..food, and our beloved Bob Martinez should all meet and do a pizza tour. One day, non-stop eating, in my car, both beginning and ending at Di Fara's. OK, maybe that's a little extreme, so maybe just 1 place per month with copious notes to post. I'll bring a cell to call the ambulance when one of us keels over.

                                                        1. re: NYJewboy

                                                          "I personally think that spicynuts, Tbird, famdoc, MMM..food, and our beloved Bob Martinez should all meet and do a pizza tour."

                                                          count me IN!

                                                          and it's not as extreme as one would think. i did it once with another site and it was a complete success. we hit totonnos, l&b's, difara's, grimaldi's, and some other place near grimaldi's that wasn't that big of a deal. all of those with strangers from other cities. i bet we can pull it off even easier!

                                                          my vote goes for(and these are all closer together than the others were)lucali's, anthony's, peppe's, difara's, franny's.

                                                          who's in?

                                                          1. re: TBird

                                                            Come on, you know Di Fara will win hands down!

                                                            1. re: NYJewboy

                                                              you just looovvvveeee to give away the ending to the movies, don't you!

                                                              1. re: TBird

                                                                I'm in. We make pizza at home fairly often and, as a a result, are unfortunately quite familiar with the taste and texture of undercooked crust (as opposed to soggy crust)? This was definitely undercooked.

                                                              2. re: NYJewboy

                                                                I'm gonna warn y'all right now (and maybe this will result in you dropping me from the adventure and never uttering my name again) but I don't think DiFara's lives up to the hype. I've been there ONCE - had two square slices and a pie with I think the marinated artichokes (is that one of his pies? I feel like it was some kind of marinated something on it..mushrooms?) and while I enjoyed it, I thought it was not the be all end all of pizza. Of course, it took us 3.5 hours to get our pie, so I was by no means in the mood to be generous with my praise by the time I actually ate. So that said I'm open to giving it another shot.

                                                            2. re: NYJewboy

                                                              I am in. How do we do this? Can we do it after holidays?

                                                              1. re: spicynuts

                                                                As a die-hard DiFara enthusiast beyond all normal bounderies, I admit that sometimes, on occassion, Dom isn't godlike. However when he hits the right notes, on those days when he does (and they are more frequent than not), all the waiting is worth it.

                                                                Having said that, and understanding spicynuts' sentiment, I cannot imagine a better pizzeria. You just have to play his way. Its his world, and we are jusr guests in it.

                                                  2. OK, I just went to Peppe's.

                                                    The place is small with only room for 6 or 7 counter type seats against the wall. Pictures of Italian actors and singers are behind the counter on the right including one of a very young Frank Sinatra. There were 2 guys behind the counter. One was a guy in white putting together a plate of food (cutlet, pasta?) for someone waiting at the counter. The guy who took my order looked like a cross between Johnny Depp and the young Sinatra picture. He was very friendly.

                                                    I started with a grandma slice. The crust was nice, slightly crispy but with an airy quality. The sauce was generic - I've had it hundreds of times around the city. The grated romano gave a nice tang and there was a touch of garlic. A nice grandma slice but certainly not a revelation. If you've never had a grandma slice before you'd probably have a higher opinion of it. This was slightly above average.

                                                    I followed with a regular slice. Lets start with the positive - there was a touch of grated romano along with the standard mozzarella which was a nice touch. The sauce was the same generic tomato sauce that was on the grandma,minus the garlic. The crust was pure cardboard. Unpleasant. I'd rank it a bit below a standard New York street slice.

                                                    If I was getting off the R train at Prospect Ave. I'd order the grandma if I wanted a snack.

                                                    Peppe's, take your place on the Pizza Arc along with the others.

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                      To appreciate it, you must order a whole pie. I got the Peppe's and it was fantastic. In no way did the individual slices hold a candle to it.

                                                      1. re: doldrums

                                                        i just got back from peppe's, had a grandma slice in store. they definately do not have a garlic problem. but the slice was slightly bland.

                                                        1. re: TBird

                                                          We may have overlapped, TBird. I was there with my crew early afternoon and tasted a wide variety of their offerings. I found it to be most decidedly above the norm and worth the trip. That said, the plain slice is nothing to write home about and grandma slice, while nicely sauced and garlicky, was more than a bit underdone. The big revelation for me was the stuffed ricotta and spinach slice. While "stuffed pizza" is ALWAYS synonymous with "greasy, gummy gut bomb," this was light, perfectly sauced and delicious. I could've had TWO slices -- how often do you hear that about stuffed? Also the non-stuffed slice with eggplant, fresh tomato and ricotta was really delicious.(They had a stuffed buffalo chicken slice that I avoided on princlple, but it may have been very good.) The owner and pizza guy are really friendly and welcoming. Gratis poundcake with ricotta maple cream and espresso, plus they gave us the plain slice on the house for the kids. The owner's a nice Napolitano (I assume) who would like to make a memorable impact on the scene, though he's really concerned that threads like this are setting him up for a fall. He sees Dom as a God and is not at all comfortable being compared to him. Let's be honest now, the so-called Pizza Arc would be more accurately called the Chowhound Arc, as a place can go from loved to loathed before any of the normals even know it's there. Someone is always waiting to tear a well-posted place down. And once one negative post hits, everybody piles on. ESPECIALLY when it comes to pizza, really the most subjective food there is.
                                                          But I think Peppe's heart is in exactly the right place, so I will support them. It's my new favorite high-concept slice in the hood. I'll probably still go to Luigi's when I want something simpler.
                                                          There you have it. My last pizza posting ever. I think stabbing myself repeatedly in the head is a more rewarding pursuit than following a Bklyn pizza thread.

                                                          1. re: HankyT

                                                            HankyT: "Pizza, the most subjective food there is."

                                                            A really interesting insight.

                                                            1. re: NYJewboy

                                                              Dontcha think? Especially in NY. It's such a staple of city life and everyone has strong associations with certain slices at certain times in their life. We've all tasted a TON of different pies too. Way more than other foods. Burgers come close I suppose.
                                                              There are so many more easily comparable variables in a slice of pizza: crust, sauce, cheese, spicing, thickness, doneness, size, temp, freshness, etc. Not to mention the normal intangibles we all deal with both environmental and personal. Are you looking for the slice to be great or do you expect it to be lame? First time I saw Peppe's I chuckled to myself and thought "Bet that place sucks! Look at the awning! And the location!" Then I saw an early poster rave about it and thought "boy the CH pizzerati are going to tear him/her a brand new one. How naive!" I'm really glad this string caught my attention so I could reconfigure my preconceptions and prejudices and taste some good food I never would have tried otherwise.
                                                              But I ramble.I said I wasn't gonna take part in any more pizza boards. But as Michale Corleone said (and I paraphrase): "I tried to get out...but they keep pulling me back in!!!"

                                                            2. re: HankyT

                                                              lol nice post hank. :-)

                                                              my grandma slice was also underdone. :-(

                                                              and i had my wife with me, who did get the stuffed buffalo chicken slice(i wouldn't either!). she even got it to go. we warmed it up later in the evening(oh the shame). it was exactly what you'd think it would be. if only i had been hungover, it would have been a great fix.

                                                      2. Ok so I finally made it there last night. First, let me confirm that the owner is indeed reading this thread. He had it up on his screen while I was paying for my pizza. Second, the joint needs some heat! Third, it is an extremely friendly place. The chef gave us a free taste of his Lentil soup while we waited for our pie. I'm not going to say what kind of pie we got because it would immediately give me away to the owner and I'm not ready to be nailed for my opinion yet.

                                                        Now..impressions. Ingredients are super fresh. Sauce is nice but I can't really judge as the friends I was with forced my hand on toppings (we ordered a whole pie) and it overwhelmed both the sauce and the cheese. I'm going to give it another shot on my own soon to get a better idea of the whole flavor experience. Now, the one problem I can address - and this is the crucial element to my enjoying pizza, the alpha and the omega, so to speak - the crust. I need a crust that is both impossibly thin and is so crisp that it cracks when the pie is folded in half. Not burnt, but crisp. Chewy crust is an affront to God, and this pie had a chewy crust problem. Of course, others may like the chewy crust, who knows. Also, this is not something that can't be worked out. So for now I'll give it a few more tries. It's certainly as good if not better than anything in walking distance of me.

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: spicynuts

                                                          They were checking this thread while I was in there for lunch the other day, too. How meta is that? Very, and I'm a little ambivalent about it. Since I already quite enjoy their food as is, I'd hate to have them psyched out by some of these posts and then change it in the interests of pleasing the squeakier wheels. On the other hand, wouldn't it be cool if they joined the fray themselves? I'd personally love to know more about the logistics of operating a pizza parlor in Brooklyn circa now. The arc could evolve into a feedback loop.

                                                          1. re: spicynuts

                                                            Spicynuts: The good news is that a beautiful thin crust (brick oven) pizza will soon arrive in Park Slope at Peppino's. They are opening some time after New Year's on 4th ave bet 9th & 10th (formerly a regular pizza place). Some know their Bay Ridge place. We ask for less sauce than the norm when we order a pie and it is perfection (to us! Yes, subjective). Family run, good folks, great pizza and great pasta. Be on lookout for opening and let me know what you think!

                                                            1. re: Roxy9

                                                              "They are opening some time after New Year's on 4th ave bet 9th & 10th."

                                                              re: peppino's
                                                              i'm sure you meant 5th.

                                                                1. re: Roxy9

                                                                  I'm looking forward to this place...I walked by this weekend and they were testing out the fire in their brick oven...it sure would be nice to have a Lucali's like joint closer to home. We'll see.

                                                                  Ordered from Peppe's again this weekend...large grandma. Very good but even better cold the next day (it might have had something to with the beer and the Packer's game though).

                                                          2. I think we need a temporary embargo on Peppe's posts.
                                                            The pizza/chowhound arc business is just too much.
                                                            Taste their pie, make your own judgment.
                                                            I, too, have posted my last pizza post...at least for awhile.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                              1. re: HankyT

                                                                "Hast thou forsaken them to what they had most bequested" - Orlando Gibbons

                                                            1. Well, I don't quite know where the pizza arc is at the moment in terms of Peppe's, but I just had a slice of the grandma's, fresh from the oven. Sauce was fresh, with lots of chunks of fresh garlic (but not enough to overwhelm the pie). Nice flavor overall, but a bit on the greasy side.

                                                              6 Replies
                                                              1. re: BGRose

                                                                i know that this board beat this topic to death, but i finally made the trip over to Pepe's and i am not sure what all the fuss is about. there was nothing about it that blew me away. it was rather ordinary. sure, the ingredients were fresh and the sauce was above average, but i think some folks were getting out of control with all the praise and talking about it as the best pizza they ever had. if this is the best, i would hate to see what you would consider the worst. i'd rather go have a pie at Anthony's on 7th avenue and trust me, i am not a huge fan of that place.

                                                                1. re: cdog

                                                                  cdog, please enlighten me with what *you* are a huge fan of.

                                                                  1. re: TBird

                                                                    lucali's, franny's and i would also put fornino in billyburg on the list. i just hate when people starting running around putting the BEST tag on things. pepe is no better than pizza plus on 7th ave in park slope. both are rather ordinary places and in my mind, do not stand out.

                                                                    i hope that answers your question TBird.

                                                                    1. re: cdog

                                                                      thanks cdog. i love both lucali's and frannys too, in fact think they are two of the best period, but the title of this thread states PARK SLOPE and lucali's and franny's aren't in park slope...

                                                                      ps - i agree with your take on pepe's too. which means i need to seek out fornino as well.

                                                                      1. re: TBird

                                                                        Actually, neither is Pepe's. Unless of course you're a real estate agent. It's in Sunset Park. Windsor Terrace at most. Park Slope proper goes from Park Place to 15th street. Prospect Park West to 5th Avenue.

                                                                        1. re: bigmackdaddy

                                                                          Technically Park Slope runs from FLATBUSH to 15th Street, from PPW to 5th Ave. (Although not too long ago, there were those that said that Park Slope ended at 9th Street.)

                                                                          From 7th to 5th, there are a couple of blocks north of Park Place that are definitely still in the slope. And from 7th avenue to PPW (or vanderbilt) Park Place is on the north side of Flatbush -- definitely NOT Park Slope.

                                                                          And to make this food related -- I do think that Pepe's is better than Smiling Pizza, but nowhere near the ranks of Frannys or Lucalis.

                                                              2. A few weeks ago I had a slice of Grandma's around noon on a weekday and thought it not special. However, today, Saturday, I found myself nearby at lunch time, and tried a slice of the Superbowl Special: Stuffed "Buffalo Wing" pizza: with blue cheese, hot sauce and breaded chicken(breadt, I think). It was really good, including the crust. To my mind, the stock here just went back up.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: acemdin

                                                                  I feel like ordering a plain slice at Peppe's is like going to Luger's and getting fish. The stuffed slices and specialty pies, like the arugula and proscitto, are their best offerings imho.

                                                                2. Hopefully, slices are better than delivery...because delivery was terrible.

                                                                  Mushroom and pepper pie. The crust was undercooked and the pizza was soggy. Even if it had been cooked longer, hard to believe it would have improved significantly.

                                                                  We are willing to give places second chances, but not going to happen in this instance. The search for Park Slope pizza continues.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: badshiba

                                                                    just ordered, as per a bizillion sunday evenings now, anthony's house pie with sausage and garlic. the search need not continue any further...

                                                                  2. well,ordered for the first time from this pizza shop,and i can honestly say that it's an experience i won't be repeating. pizza arrived very soggy,undercooked,the cheese floating on a layer of water that had nearly soaked through the bottom of the box. (i'm only 4 blocks away,btw) the dough in the middle of the pie was either very undercooked or had become so wet as to amount to the same thing. any attempt to eat it would have had to have been made with a spoon.

                                                                    i know some people have raved about this place-i'm certainly not the most picky eater myself,esp when it comes to pizza,good enough is fine by me. but any place that would send out such an inedible mess and call it a pizza doesn't get a second chance in my book.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: bobbob69

                                                                      You should have got the grandma. I ordered it on Saturday night (live about 12 blocks away). It was delicious and I noticed they started putting whole slices of mozarella on top instead of the cheap grated stuff. Held up really well and was freakin' delicious the next morning. Give it a try and ask for extra basil. If that doesn't work for you- then write them off.

                                                                      1. re: pastoralia

                                                                        lol,i dont eat food from places that send out undercooked food,period. i don't have time to spend in bed or the hospital with food poisoning. i don't care what quality ingredients they use,or how yummy the cheese is - for the food to be allowed to go out the door in such condition,speaks of a basic lack of caring. i read the other posts here complaining of much the same thing,at least where their deliveries are concerned,BEFORE i ordered. so that first chance WAS their second chance in my book ;)

                                                                    2. well,the owner of pepe's just gave me a call and apologized for last night's mess-he explained to me about his regular chef having to leave due to a family emergency,and offered to send over a free pizza to make up for the first. i'm glad he did,since this pizza was very tasty (and perfectly cooked) -a tiny little bit salty it seemed to me,but certainly not enough to take away from the overall quality. even the crust was good,and i generally don't even attempt to eat that part of the pie. obviously the management at pepe's does care about it's customers,as i've never had another establishment call me to apologize about poor quality food,much less send free food in an attempt to win me back as a customer. well,it worked. this kind of service is all too rare,and very much appreciated.

                                                                      so i'll be giving pepe's another chance it seems,and i hope they keep up the good work,since i'd love to recommend them to my friends in the neighborhood.

                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                      1. re: bobbob69

                                                                        I'm just curious...how did he know to call you?

                                                                        1. re: pastoralia

                                                                          i don't believe i mentioned it in my previous posts,but when i opened up the first pizza that i had ordered,(at which point the delivery person had already left) i immediately called pepe's told them the condition of the pie and asked for my money back. the delivery person returned about 15 mins later,refunded my money and took the pizza back to the store. why it took a day for them to call back and offer a replacement pie at no charge i'm not sure,but the owner did mention some kind of family emergency that night,which is a perfectly reasonable explanation as far as i'm concerned.

                                                                          1. re: bobbob69

                                                                            Months ago, I declared a personal moratorium on further Peppe's posts, but I'm going to come out of the shadows to say that this was an extremely classy move on Peppe's part. I also hope Mike's emergency resolves quickly so we can again enjoy his handiwork. I continue to visit Peppe's on an irregular basis, where I always order a slice of the grandma's pie. With one exception (when Mike was a bit heavy-handed on the garlic), I've always enjoyed the freshness, crispness and flavor of the slice. Add to that the personalities of the owner and pizza maker and I still think you've got a great pizza experience. But, New Yorkers are passionate about their pizza and there are as many opinions as eaters when it comes to pizza, so I understand that some chowhounds are less than enthusiastic about this place. One additional opinion: delivery pie is no basis for judgment about pizza: the physics of the closed box and the chemical processes that take place in that box (condensation, transfer of heat, etc.) almost always creates a soggy pie.

                                                                            1. re: famdoc

                                                                              "One additional opinion: delivery pie is no basis for judgment about pizza: the physics of the closed box and the chemical processes that take place in that box (condensation, transfer of heat, etc.) almost always creates a soggy pie."

                                                                              People order delivery pies all the time. It's a national pastime. Most pies handle their little trip in the box just fine assuming they were good pies when they went into the box in the first place.

                                                                              As a number of people, including myself, have observed on this thread, the grandma pie at Peppe's is good although scarcely a revelation. The regular pie is not, even fresh out of the oven.

                                                                              1. re: famdoc

                                                                                If Mike was the original guy making the pies, the owner told me a couple of weeks ago that they had parted ways. He made it seem like it was argument over the sauce, which the owner wanted to change and for which the pizza guy didn't. I laughed to myself thinking that the argument occurred after they read through some of the criticism in the thread above.

                                                                                The guy making pies now is the guy that was around on Mondays before. While I did have a bad pie with him in January, my pie a couple of weeks ago was cooked perfectly.

                                                                        2. What's their delivery radius? I'm just on the other side of flatbush.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: ginsbera

                                                                            You should call them but that seems pretty far.

                                                                          2. I've tried the arugula and marsala slices along with the bruschetta over a number of weeks.
                                                                            This guy pulls out the stops on the weekends ...
                                                                            though you still need to eyeball your selection and timing is a factor; the market ain't there yet.
                                                                            Not your typical, memory ladened, slice joint ... their effort deserves patronage.