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Apr 16, 2008 10:08 AM

Who makes the best pizza in New England?

I love pizza, but I can't really think of one in my area that really stands out weel above the rest.
I would be willing to travel to try something new and spectacular. Any idea?

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  1. I cant wait to see the replies on this one!

    7 Replies
    1. re: Earle

      It is all a matter of personal taste and style of pizza. I can think of many, locally for me here in RI it ranges from Casserta in Providence (a thicker, square pizza with cheese then sauce then cheese, chewy and cheesy) to Wickford Junction Pizzieria in North Kingstown, a very good version of Sicilian style pizza.

      1. re: Sean

        Where is Wickford Junction pizza? Is it the place near Walmart? I love "The Place" in Westerly.

        1. re: Alica

          Yes, it is the little plaza near Wal-Mart...

        2. re: Sean

          Caserta's is great pizza. It's authentic Neapolitan pizza (Caserta is a suburb of Naples, there's a bonus geography lesson) -- cheese is an optional topping. My brothers and I just get olives and mushrooms. Cheese is not needed.

          A similar pizza is served at Twin's in North Providence, another old school joint.

          For something completely different in Providence, there's grilled pizza, as originated at the famous (and some say now overrated, but we still love it) Al Forno.

        3. re: Earle

          Pepe's New Haven. Runner up Sally's. If it's not apizza, it's not for me!

          1. re: CindysFarmStand

            Living near both of those restaurants and trying them several times at different times of the year I am completely puzzled as to their reputation or in the case of Pepe's lines out in the streets. Pepe's is overrated by 80% and Sally's pizza is inedible. These might seem exaggerations but in all instances I was with someone who reacted the same way. Beyond having mediocre pizza, Pepe's people are arrogant and remind me of the soup Nazi on the old Steinfeld show. As for the silly use of the word "apizza" -- pronounced (a-beetz) this self indulgent conceit does not add to the taste. What you get at Sally's is blackened, misshaped dough with sauce and toppings the leave much to be desired.

            1. re: rdsetc

              Raul, I am so interested in your comments. I think to some degree we all kind of conpare each other pizza to the one we grew up with. I grew up off Dixwell Ave and had what I thought was the absolute best apizza (Johnnie's Apizza, Venice Restaurant) right up the street.

              So where did you grow up and what do you think is the best kind of tomato pie?

        4. OK Jfood will place a line in the sand.

          Disclaimer - He lives in CT and has never eaten pizza in any NE state other than CT.

          Now - pizza in CT revolves around New Haven the mecca for CT Hotter than Blazes oven pizza. And the big three in NH are Sallys, Pepes and Modern.

          Jfood is a Sally's pizza lover.

          Then further down I-95 into Stamford, Jfood's second place finisher is Colony.

          So 1-2 in jfood's book is Sally's and Colony.

          Let the games begin and let's try to keep it civil.

          Remember jfood's disclaimer.

          18 Replies
          1. re: jfood

            I am about to make the pilgrimage to Wooster Street. Can't wait to stand in line. It has been said that Sally's has an attitude towards customers that some can do without and a system where insiders can get ahead and not endure as long a wait. Is this so?
            I definitely want to try a white clam apizza. Does that mean I should pass Go and head for Pepe's? The Spot or Pepe's? Are they identical as far as product? For those that don't know, The Spot is the original Frank Pepe's.
            Can't wait to say "clam pie with all and Moootz"....(or do you skip "all" with a clam pie?)

            I will have to reserve comment till later because all I have had so far is some cold Modern someone brought to the house. Back in Tejas I liked Uno. We'll have to see if my partiality to Chicago style will change.

            1. re: Scargod

              Jfood had a clammy at the Pepes FFD location and was less than thrilled. The bacon apizza at sally's hits home for him. Can't wait to hear your report.

              Wrt comparing to Texas Uno's pizza. 1 - That's really not Chicago pizza at it's best. Sorta like stating that the comparison is Sonny Bryan's in Hamden, CT when going to Texas to compare some Q. 2 - If any of the big three do not beat that benchmark, jfood would be really really really surprised.

              1. re: jfood

                I agree, but I have had Chicago pizza. What I like about the style is the run down your arm juiciness. I don't care whether the crust is thick, thin or burnt. I'm a'fearin' I won't get that on Wooster Street. Can you ask for double sauce and cook it less? Would they swat me or kick me out?

                1. re: jfood

                  The pizza at Pepe's was so so IMHO. Greasy...the clam pizza ..I felt the flavours were too overpowering. One slice was enough. George's Pizza in Harwichport makes me happy and it's close by.

                2. re: Scargod

                  if your going to be in New Haven do yourself a favor and drive 5 mi south to Zuppardi's on union st in West Haven. they make a much better pizza than Pepe's imho.

                  1. re: foodaholicme

                    I know you posted this a long time ago, food, but I wanted to second your opinion on Zuppardi's.

                  2. re: Scargod

                    i had a clam pizza in fairfield about 2 weeks ago and it was not the greatest
                    had never been to any pepes and this was the closest

                    roseland in derby was much better

                    1. re: Scargod

                      Sorry, No "Mootz" with a white clam pie, at least not in New Haven.

                      1. re: Scargod

                        Pepe's is now open for lunch. You could call and find out what time it is best to go to avoid a line. My guess would be that going around 2-3-4PM would be the best. Get your white clam pizza there. They shuck their own clams. We usually get a clam bacon combo. It is outstanding..

                        I was fortunate to get into Sally's once in the last couple of years. We had a mushroom pizza. It was so good that we talked about it for a year. Once you are in Sally, the attitude is not so bad. It is watching their favorite clients get in ahead of others that is so disconcerting.

                        1. re: aldente1

                          I believe you are confusing favorite with loyal...........
                          Maybe after dining at Sally's for 40 plus years you too will be rewarded with the 'special' telephone number.
                          This just let's us local regulars not be subjected to delays from tourists or Yale relatives in town for special events.
                          As one who remembers when the price went UP to $1, $2, and $3 for small medium and large, I feel part of the Sally's unofficial frequent eaters program.

                          Let the newcomers earn their place at the limited tables. TV and print media didn't attract me to Sally's, 5 generations of my family have eaten Apizza there.

                          1. re: bagelman01

                            Earn my place by standing there for an hour watching you and the other loyals cruise right on in? No thanks.
                            I am a local, have no connection to Yale, and can't fathom what tourists are even doing in New Haven. Maybe I'd be a loyal regular if they showed any interest in my business.
                            Listen, I love pizza, but it's just pizza - and not even the best pizza. I'm not going to waste an hour of my life every week for the next 40 years (that's almost 87 full days of my time) just to get a magical phone number.
                            I'll just stick to pizza I don't have to jump through hoops to get, like, you know, any pizza in the world that isn't from Sally's.

                            1. re: danieljdwyer

                              I guess bagelman01 is legit and is able to cut in line. I can't fathom it. I am in total agreement with you, Daniel. I'm not going to stand in line an extra amount because special people are going to the head of the line. The thought of it chaps my ass. Not that I have stood, or will ever stand, in Sally's line for this very reason.
                              The entitled attitude is amazing. However, I have reservations for a nice restaurant tonight. I won't have to stand in line to get the privilege. I don't give a rat's ass about Sallys.

                              1. re: Scargod

                                I don't think you should look at it as cutting in line. Instead, a few of us have "call ahead seating"
                                Long before the media made Wooster St chic, we still came to eat and support Sally's while most of New Haven was in the toilet.

                                I was born in New Haven at Grace New Haven Hospital-long before the name was changed to Yale New Haven. I lived through the race riots and the Black Panther Trials. And the terrible white flight to the suburbs. But we stayed in New Haven and supported our local businesses. The business people appreciate there long time patrons.

                                I can remenber helping to bus tables, take orders and serve when Sally's was overcrowded and understaffed. This is what regulars do in a family owned and run establishment.

                                Sally's never expanded the dining area to seat more people, too large would mean a loss of control and quality would suffer. The Pepe's empire won't last. Those from greater New Haven will remember when Jimmie's of Savin Rock opened in Hamden, and Norwalk. The quality was never the same as the original and they didn't last.

                                I now live in Fairfield county, I moved into my wife's home when we married. There is a Pepe's in the next town. I wouldn't dream of eating there....I make the pilgrimage to Wooster St. Sally's is my first choice, but I'll go to Pepe's if and only if my companions want white clam,.

                                I eat a traditional New Haven Pie, Thin crust, sauce, and grated romano cheese-NEVER mozzarella.

                                1. re: bagelman01

                                  Nice to hear of your support for the Elm City. We are fans, as well. As for present and former iconic restaurants with multiple locations, time will tell if Pepe's strategy succeeds, but we still love both the New Haven (main facility and the Spot) and Manchester locations. We have not been to the Fairfield shop as it is not convenient to our typical work, home or play zones.

                                  If your aversion to Pepe's is due principally to its opening two other restaurants, well, that is certainly your prerogative, but we will continue to go as long as the food remains terrific. It was, at least as recently as about three hours ago by our reckoning.

                                  As for Sally's: given its size, turn-over rate, and long-standing history made possible, at least in part, by a legion of loyal patrons, I am not offended that some receive a measure of preferred treatment. That seems fair. Sally's may also be striving for a Rao's-like aura of exclusivity. It's free-market America, and great pizza, so that is fair too. Nevertheless, the thought of waiting seemingly endlessly while legions of others -- most, I wager, a great deal younger and less loyal than you -- pass by does not appeal to many of us among the great unwashed.

                                  1. re: howaboutthat

                                    No, my aversion to Pepe's is that I like the sauce better at Sally's.

                                    Flo is not seeking a Rao's aura for Sally's. She just appreciate her lomg time loyal customers.

                                    1. re: bagelman01

                                      There should be an enigma pie, named after bagelman01, that is half kosher with mushrooms, half Harris Tweed with anchovies, and served only at The Spot.

                        2. re: Scargod

                          No, what you "skip" with a white clam pie is the Mootz.

                          1. re: Scargod

                            Forget Sally's, Pepe's, the Spot and all other nonsense- Modern Apizza (+ pitchers of birch beer) is the *only* way to go.

                            (if I need to show my cred on this: I'm 30, my mother, grandmother and great-grandparents grew up in New Haven, my grandmother's grandparents lived there for years, and I spent many a weekend in college there visiting mr. sfumato)

                        3. New Haven, CT is home to the best pizza in the New England, the USA, and the world. Yeah, I said it. I did not grow up here, and I have had pizza in many other states.

                          I am generally a Modern guy, but the mystique of Wooster Street might ad something if you were going to make a trip out of it. Pepe's white clam pizza is a gift from the gods.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: EastRocker

                            Modern Apizza in New Haven is my top vote, with Pizzeria Regina in Boston's North End coming in second. I like plain best at both places!

                            1. re: EastRocker

                              I am a lifelong New Havenite, shameless homer, and pizza lover, and I am most happy to agree with EastRocker. New Haven has the best pizza in the world, period. Sally's has the best pies, but the service and wait is inhumane unless you have a inside connection (which, luckily, I do). Modern is the next best, and my regular go-to, thanks to its incredible pizza and quick take-out counter (order a bacon, onion and hot banana pepper pie [red, of course] and ask for it well-done; you can thank me later). Pepe's is usually excellent, but gets overrun by tourists and can occasionally serve up a surprisingly so-so pie (especially the take-out counter at Spot). Bar is a distant fourth, but the mashed potato pizza really is much better than it sounds and cannot be had at the Big Three. Other New Haven pizza joints are tolerable, but why mess around when you can have the best?!

                              And I have to add one thing, as one who has lived in and loved on Chicago: deep dish is cheese pie, not pizza. It is heavenly, delicious and wonderful, but it is cheese between two crust layers, not cheese on crust. Best cheese pie in the world, but not in the same category as a New Haven Apizza pie!

                              1. re: EastRocker

                                best in the world?. I've had some pizza's in Italy that weren't so bad. :)

                              2. okay....I have many choices of locations to go for pizza in four states. I will make the 1 1/2 drive to Wooster Street in New Haven from New Jersey to have Pepe's White Clam with Bacon....a combination that has been great for over 15 years for me. Of course, just my personal opinion. I also find that their sausage pizza's are equally delicious.

                                1. Regina's or Santarpio's in Boston are very good, almost as good as the places in New Haven. And Linwood Cafe in Randolph, MA makes the best bar-type pizza I've ever had