Where to eat Pizza on a quick stop in New Haven
I'm heading to NYC for a toy show on Monday and will be taking the train from New Haven Sunday afternoon (I live in Sutton, MA)....I've read/heard/seen on TV that Wooster St. has some of the best pizza in the country. Is this true and where should I stop (Fank Pepe's, Sally's?) and if you have any tips, do they have slices...?
Thanks in advance.
I've been in this situation before. My approach is (a) Call Pepe's. (b) If that doesn't work (sometimes they won't accept orders), I'll drive by and scope out the line at both Pepe's and Sally's. (c) If that doesn't work, go to the Modern, since I rarely have to wait there.
My vote is for Frank Pepe.......and Louie's Lunch for the experience. I live in Northern New Jersey and the NYC/Metro area all my life. The pizza and bread in this area is like no other anywhere else in the country.....simply the best crusts. the only other exceptional bread is the Sourdough in San Francisco.......With that said, Frank Pepe's White Clam Pie may be the best pizza I have ever had the pleasure to eat.......no cheese, btw. If ever passing through New Haven, I always make a detour to stop there....I even plan my travel schedule to make sure I get there in time before they close. My last two trips to Boston and back, I made a point to phone in and reserve two Clam Pies. I offered to pre-pay, but Pepe's always extended me the courtesy of saying it wasn't necessary.
As for Louie's Lunch......it's an experience to see the place and view it's process which I highly recommend.....but in the end it's just a burger......not quite the satisfaction I experience with Frank Pepe.
As for Sally's, I actually think their crust may be better than FP, but you must eat the pies there....and their process is extremely slow. The one time I went there I made the fatal mistake of actually reading the menu (?), or considering what to order.......after I had been third in line to gain entry.......I can only surmise every other table in the place gave their orders immediately when asked.......everyone else got served, i.e., pizza delivered to their tables before mine........my recollection is it was at least 45 minutes before I got my pies...also Sally's pizzas do not travel well for re-heating......even after a couple of hours.
I'd echo the recommendation to do pizza, and not Louis Lunch. Louis Lunch is a neat, charming place but I personally am not too enthralled with their burgers.
As for pizza, I'd say goto Modern or Pepe's. Will you have a car, or be walking from the train station? If walking - Modern is too far.
There is no problem going into Pepe's alone. In fact, you could jump other people if the parties in front of you are large.
As for Sally's - the main problem in the ordering process is that friends, family, and friends of friends/family call a certain number and get "reservations". Furthermore, these people are also given priority in the ordering queue.
I will try to simplify this. Say (for simplification) the oven could take 1 pizza at a time. So, say you waltz in there at 5p, and order at 515p. At the same time, 515p, a preferred customer orders. They will get their pie in the oven first. Now instead of you having your pie in the oven at 520p, it'll be 530p. But then imagine that another preferred customer orders at 525p. Guess who takes that 530p oven slot? You guessed it - the preferred customer. And now you are slotted for the 540p slot, hoping you don't get bumped again.
As a result, normal "commoners" who aren't part of this preferred group have to fall into the cracks between the preferred orders. Long story short - the wait times (between ordering and receiving - nevermind sidewalk/table waittimes) can be quite extraordinary (and maddening) because as you sit there, you will notice other tables being seated after you, and then ending up with 3 or 4 pies before you.
If you like clams and garlic, and decide to do Pepe's - go for the white clam, no mozzerella.
If you want consistency - go to Modern.
Sometimes Pepe's is amazing, and sometimes its merely good in my experience.
Thanks everyone - I have a 4:30 train to NYC...I'll have a buddy and a car with me. Looks like calling ahead for take out at Pepe's may be the best idea....I can eat it at the train station a few minutes later. Missing the train if there are long waits is not in the cards for us...
No slices on Wooster Street. Pepe's is usually open at noon on Sunday. I'm pretty sure Sally's doesn't open until 5:00pm. The Spot gets going around 2:00pm. Do yourself a favor and stop at Pepe's. Are you going to be alone? It will be interesting to see how they handle that. I never saw anyone go into Pepe's alone except for take out.