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Jan 7, 2009 01:31 PM

New Haven Pizza

So I've been to Pepe's..........I've waited in the cold on line for Sally's ...................and yesterday I tried the pizza at Bar for the first time.

I was blown away by the quality of the pizza. Personally, I would take the pizza at Bar over Sally's & Pepe's, but we all know everyone has differnt tastes.

So what is your favorite New Haven Pizza?? Let's keep score!!

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  1. How do you define New Haven Pizza? I've only had some gross stuff in Chicago (a place called Slice, perhaps?), which claimed to be New Haven style but was burnt cardboard with a smear of rubbery cheese. I can't imagine that this is what it was supposed to taste like.

    I know Chicago, NY, California, Turkish...just not New Haven (and also need to try tomato pies from my current area)

    (apologies for my abject ignorance on this style of pizza--I really do want to know)

    5 Replies
    1. re: Caralien

      Doesn't the poster mean literally pizza in New Haven? That's what I take it to mean...

      1. re: Caralien

        My take - first off, Chicago pizza and NY pizza are totally different. Chicago is known for deep dish,which I personally don't like. NY is thin crusted and New Haven pizza is very thin crispy crust. I have not been there, but my husband was in New Haven and ate at Modern. He brought me back a slice and, even cold, it was the best pizza I ever ate.

        1. re: wincountrygirl

          I understand the post and thought that the posters here would understand what New Haven style is--good or best isn't my question. What defines New Haven style?

          A place in Chicago, I believe named Slice and opened by a Yale alum, served what they called "New Haven Style" Pizza, and it was terrible. Unos & Dues serve deep dish, Chicago-style. NY is chewy thin crust, 18"; telling Escape from NY Pizza in SF to make their pizza extra thin and slightly charred was the best we could come up with when living there. Granmama style is crispy, square, and with less cheese and more tomato. California has a medium, chewy base with a thicker, doughy crust. Most cities have places which serve non-local styles of pizza.

          If New Haven style is supposed to be crispy crust, is it thick crispy or cracker crust?

          Thanks, and apologies for the confusion.

          1. re: Caralien

            New Haven style is basically a NY Neapolitan style. Coal fired oven. Thin, but not cracker crust. I'm relatively certain you wouldn't find any reasonable facsimiles in Chicago. although looks pretty good in general.

      2. i never had sallys but waited in line for pepes and fell in love at first bite...had a half pepperoni and half chicken pizza and i crave it every day since i had it 2 months was to die for

        1. Full Disclosure - Jfood is a Sally's in NH and Giordanos in Chicago fan. There was a thin pizza place ~57th St in Hyde Park that had a great sausagepizza in the late 80's as well.

          New Haven - Thin crusted, slightly charred crust from scorching hot coal/wood brick ovens. Sauce, mozzy and jfood's favorite bacon. Others will also claim the white clam pizza from Pepes is the standard, but jfood had one 18 months ago at FFD location and was not enamoured.
          NY - Two tyoes.
          1 - This crust with less crisp and char than NH because you need to fold in half while it is eaten. You also need to lean forawrd so the oil does not slide down the front of your shirt; 2 - Sicilian - thick crusted almost like ciabatta bread, but less sweet, with the toppings on top.
          Chicago - Various types:
          1 - Thin crusted with almost a cross between NY & NH on the char and dough. The pizza is cut into squares versus pie shapes.
          2 - Stuffed (Giordanos) - Baked in a round deep dish pan. Thin dough on the bottom and up the sides then all of the cheese and fillings, then a second top crust of dough, then some sauce and grated cheese.
          3 - Deep Dish - Since this is jfood's least favorite he will give it a try. A round cousin of the NY Sicilian. Baked in a round or square pan, thick crust like NY Sicilian with toppings.

          Now to the OP question.

          Sally's with bacon

          15 Replies
          1. re: jfood

            jfood: Chicago style is not Sicilian: thick, 1", focaccia-like crust with a thin topping. It's a pie with a 1/2" crust and fillings which are 1" deep (not my favourite, but a major misconception which needs correcting).

            1. re: Caralien

              Thanks for the correction C.

              Jfood is not a fan and here is whatmany believe is the best of the deep dish plus apicture inthe upper left


              1. re: jfood

                let the record show i ordered four deep dish pies from lou malnati's this week. sometimes you just have to have a chicago-style pie. even here in connecticut.

                1. re: steve h.

                  and also let the record show that jfood has had two very detailed conversations with owners of pizza places in new canaan over the years about recreating giordanos pie out here. he hangs his head in shame and his tail between his legs that he was unsuccessful in both.

                  He tried...he now makes his own stuffed pies.

                  1. re: jfood

                    you're a bold doggy, jfood.
                    the giordano stuffed pizza is my lunch of choice when in chicago (i stay at the w). a regular stuffed pie at dinner is too much for the two of us but i keep trying.

                    1. re: steve h.

                      Try this steve for you and Deb

                      Take quiche pan or a 9" pan that a cake is baked in. Make dough and cut in half. Butter the pan, place the goodies inside (cheese, canadian ham, etc.) then place second dough on top. Cover with second dough. sauce and cheese and bake.

                      Makes a good 2-person proxy.

                      1. re: jfood

                        hi jfood,
                        i'm thinking the secret to a good chicago pie lies in the dough. it's not the same stuff i make for my home pizzas. how say you?

                        1. re: steve h.

                          jfood prefers giordanos over malnattis and has never come close to their dough. he is surprised that you stress the dough and malnatti's since jfood thought that was their weak link.

                          1. re: jfood

                            the dough is what makes a chicago deep dish pie. i order malnati's stuff because it arrives packed in dry ice at my house in stamford. when in chicago, i eat at giordano's because i like it and it's an easy walk from the w.

                            i'll keep experimenting with the dough at home and you give a shout-out if i ever get it right.

            2. re: jfood


              From what I remember from Sally's, there was not that much oil.

              The way I describe the pizza at bar: A mis-shaped pie, presented on a kitchen sheet pan (like sally's) very thin crust, not flat bread-like, but a very thin dough which is sliced as the chef feels (meaning odd shaped, uneven slices)

              The person I was with had eaten here many times and insisted that we have the medium pie due to the fact that the large pie slices cannot be picked up due to the length.

              We had the white clam pie which tasted like fresh clam juice and oregano. It had a light sprinkle of parmesan on top before baking. (we were asked if we wanted cheese or not.

              The second pie was broccoli rabe and spicy sausage which again had a sprinkle of parmesan.

              We first started the day with the 5 course tasting luncheon (with wine) at Union League at noon time. We finished there at 2PM and went around the corner to the Owl Bar for cigars and an afternoon tipple and at 5Pm went to Bar for pizza and a few beer samples.

              I then went home and cooked wild salmon for me and the wife and drank a bottle of Kosta Browne Pinot with dinner!!

              I usually do not eat and consume like this on a day off but we had a blast (and a designated driver)

              The headache the next morning was KILLER!!

                1. re: Scotty100


                  Have you had somr of the KB single vineyard wines? I've been on their mailing list for a few years now and their wines get better every year

                2. re: tito


                  jfood never mentioned the Sally pie was oily, that's the NY addition.

                  Your day sounds like a play jfood saw years ago "The Complete Works of Shakespeare in 2 Acts." Major appluase from jfood on a week of food compressed into the daylight hours of Standard Time.

                  1. re: tito

                    Went there with a bunch of people over the summer and tried the mashed potatoes and bacon pizza. Thought it would be weird, but it was delicious! We got 3 different pies with different toppings on each, and all of the pies were great.

                3. tito - where is Bar and how does it compare with Sally's & Pepe's? Why is it better? I'd like to try it...

                  4 Replies
                    1. re: Scotty100

                      Bar is right across the street from Louies Lunch. Don't be fooled by the industrial "night club" appearance of the place.

                      P.S. They have a great beer selection also.

                      1. re: tito

                        I thought i was the only one that knew about that spot tito........ probably seen you there a few times

                        1. re: Poeticalmath

                          Having lived in Chi and travel their regularly, agree with J re Giordano's. Edwardo's used to be better (did their own fresh herbs in the window on Howard street), but they have gone downhill. At one point, they had an outlet in Milwaukee and AZ.

                          In either case, I prefer a deep dish, stuffed spinach with mushrooms. Sometime we bring em home-- you get them half baked / frozen-- works pretty well...

                          If you like New Haven pies, you might want to check out Harry's or Luna in Harford (on west farmington ave). I prefer Harry's, nice white clam and traditional ingredient pies...

                          Of course, take me to DiFara (went last weekend), and that's as good as it gets on the east coast...

                    2. I have only been to the Pepe's location in Fairfield. I understand they are a bit different. I enjoyed it but honestly the crust was way too hard in my opinion. It was so crunch that I practically cut my mouth on the crust. New Haven style isn't my first choice but it is very good. I've been told I have to try Modern, now it looks like Bar needs to be added to the list. I hope to take a trip to New Haven to try a bunch of them in one day. Thanks for sharing your experience.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: hudsonvalleyfoodblog

                        Yeah, I'd love to be able to sample them all in one single New Haven pizza tasting session but the trouble is they don't do slices up there...whole pie and that's it. Difficult even for a pizza fiend like me to hit 4 or 5 pies in one afternoon...:) So far I've only tried Pepe's and Modern and both on separate days so a little bit more difficult to compare directly. Pepe's still no.1 for me. The originaI is best but I rate the ffd one quite highly too...personally I love the thin charred crust which is at its best when it still has a bit of "chew" and "give" with a slightly sweet edge playing off the charring on the base...mmm...

                        1. re: Scotty100

                          Yes you would definitely need a large group to hit all those places in one day. Or the alternative would be to be stuck with a lot of leftovers. Not the worst thing in the world.

                          I think preference in pizza has a lot to do with where you grew up. In grew up with new york style with a crust that can be folded. So the New Haven style was a bit of an adjustment. But when I did eat at Pepe's I think I finished off 4 or 5 slices. Obviously I enjoyed myself.

                          1. re: hudsonvalleyfoodblog

                            Tito - So I tried Bar at the weekend for the first time. It's good. Enjoyed the pizza a lot. Was in a group and we ordered 3 medium pizzas (quite large size for a medium) - all red pies with 1. chicken and peppers 2. Mashed potato 3. Sausage and Onion. The mashed potato was certainly "unusual" but kinda worked in a weird way although I probably wouldn't rush to order it again. The best was the sausage and onion...the crust was thin, had a little charring and definitely had a chewy-quality to it. Not as charred as Pepe's and a little soggier (but not in a bad way). Toppings were good and fresh. Enjoyed the surroundings too...a real mixed crowd...some college students, some families, some oldies...

                            Now, would I rate it better than Pepe's...hmm...not sure. Maybe not...but it's close. And the beer is definitely good...I'll go back for sure. Thanks for the heads-up.

                            1. re: Scotty100


                              I hear good things about Modern pizza also