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Alternative New Haven Pizza

I'm planning a road trip with my girlfriend that takes us through New Haven. I've experienced the joy of Pepe's before, but she hasn't, so naturally I was going to take her. However, it looks like we won't have the time to wait on line for hours.

So here's my question: where can we find the best New Haven pizza that won't keep us in line this Saturday around noon?

We're coming from New York, so we're not just looking for good pizza, we're looking for specifically New Haven-style good pizza (whatever that is).

Any input would be appreciated. Thanks!

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  1. Right next door to Pepe's is The Spot, also owned by Pepe's (and their original location).

    When the line is long at Pepe's, for some odd reason it's usually a very short one at The Spot. The quality is indistinguishable between the two.

    2 Replies
    1. re: rbailin

      It looks like The Spot doesn't open until 4pm on Saturdays. Does that mean Pepe's might not be so crowded then? How about Sally's

    2. I've never had a wait at The Modern.

      For that matter, I have relatively good luck with Pepe's itself, although I tend to show up at 3pm on Saturdays.

      1 Reply
      1. re: kaszeta

        got a small cheese to go from modern last week and was kinda bummed.but ate there 3 weeks ago and it was amazing,eat there for sure!!

      2. If you are coming from New York, don't go as far as New Haven, stop in Milford at Papa's Pizza. It is definitely Wooster Street New haven quality without the terrible wait and expense.
        I am born and raised in New Haven, swear by Sally's (hate Pepe's), but do 90% of my pizza eating at Papa's
        The link following is for their new location near Milford Hospital. I prefer the original on Naugatuck Ave, BUT it only has outside seating at picnic tables or takeout.

        2005 Bridgeport Ave, Milford - (203) 283-5433

        1. BAR on Crown St. is another option. Good pies, brew and drinks, IMO.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ShogunCT

            Ditto to BAR, great New Haven Pizza, the Potato, Bacon and Onion pie is GREAT>

          2. Check Pepe's - you may not have much of a wait. Modern you should get in quick. Pick one of those two.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Jestner

              Agreed, Pepe's isn't bad if you get there early. There's Sally's as well, and Modern. Those are the three that are the classic New Haven pie. Bar is OK but not the classic.

            2. I've eaten recently at Pepe's in Fairfield (no wait) and at Modern (no wait). I haven't eaten at Sally's since I was a kid, but, as I recall, their pizza is a bit greasier than Pepe's. Is this true??

              9 Replies
              1. re: bewley

                No I don't find Sally's greasier than Pepe's, just better.

                BUT>>>>>>>>>>>The original posting is for lunch, and they are closed lunchtime.

                1. re: bewley

                  I think the opposite is true.

                  However, I never recommend Sallys to a newcomer because of the service/reservation aspect. To recommend someone stands in line, while others bypass the line because they have "reservations", breeds a lot of ill will. Sending someone in there with no explanation of their reservation practices will ensure the person walks away annoyed by the whole event.

                  For those that aren't aware - Sallys has a special phone number whereby the inside circle can make reservations. If you are not part of that, you wait in line, and wait at your table - while those with reservations get an immediate table (typically) and can get served before you - regardless of whether you were seated first. That's how it is. If you don't like it - you shouldn't go. If you don't mind it - keep it in mind so that you don't let frustration get the best of you.

                  But in this instance, Sallys isn't applicable anyways because they don't open for lunch.

                  1. re: Jestner

                    Wow, regarding the wait at Sally's, you hit it right on the head. Many years ago, I was of those dufuses who thought being 2nd online before they opened, meant I was getting in when the doors opened. Much to my dismay, At opening time, the line never moved. When I peeked in the window, the place was PACKED already. You already stated that the favoritism continues inside as well. And at the end of the meal, in our opinion, the pizza was fine but not great. I vowed never to go back and I try to convince everyone who asks (or cares) to NOT go there. They only care about their inner circle people and could not give a rats ass about anyone else. There always be enough suckers who will wait on line and be treated like crap. I was a sucker once, never again.

                    F Sallys!

                    1. re: johnpops1

                      I am one of those with the special reservations arrangement. I've been eating at Sally's since the small, medium and large pizzas went UP in price to $1, $2, and $3.00 respectively.
                      I only get the grated cheese, never mozzarella, the way an authenic New Haven Apizza should be made.
                      I never asked for the special treatment, it was given me for many years of loyalty. There is no reason a restaurant can't favor regulars. Unlike tourists, we've been their bread and butter in good times and bad, and expecially when Yale is not in session.

                      1. re: bagelman01

                        +1 on BAR - try the funky mash potato pie...not as ridiculous as it sounds...quite tasty in a weird way actually. Their other standard pies are great too...sausage and peppers my favorite. Decent beer too.

                        1. re: bagelman01

                          Wait, you get a tomato pie with grated parmesan and for you this is "the way an authenic New Haven Apizza should be made."

                          I've never heard this before. Can anyone else verify this?

                          1. re: bewley

                            New Haven pies are typically very light on the mozarella so the quality of sauce and crust shines through. Purists go for the "red pie" nothing but crust, sauce and a bit of parmesan. Trust me, once you try it you'll never go back. A typical cheese-slathered Domino's-type grease fest holds no appeal after a few years here.

                            1. re: bewley

                              In the authentic New Have Apizza restaurants, Mozzarella is an additional item, it is not standard on a pie. That is Sally's Pepe's, etc.

                              1. re: bagelman01

                                Thank you both for clarifying this, I definitely have to try the tomato pie next time I'm in town.

                    2. Absolutly no question try Zupardi's in West Haven. IMO better than Pepe's...no line also

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: 28secondrule

                        Tried them all over the years and imho you can't beat Zuppardi's in West Haven . Great apizza and nice people.

                      2. I agree with the comments about "jumping" the line at Sally's. For many years, I tried to get in but could not. One evening, for some odd reason, we walked right in. We had a mushroom pizza; It was so delicious that we talked about it for a year afterwards. Pepe's is usually good, but sometimes you can get a pizza which is not up to the standard. I agree with the comments about the Spot. They make a great pizza too.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: aldente1

                          We New Haveners get very spoiled by our pizza (or more correctly, APIZZA - "abeetz"). Even when you get past the "big names" - Pepe's, Sally's, Modern, - there is a lot of very, very good pizza available. I will second Papa's in Milford - never a bad pie, and even some of the "overflow" options in New Haven would be stars anywhere else. If we can't get into Modern, we happily walk a few doors down to Amato's where they turn out very credible pies. On Wooster St., not getting into Sally's or Pepe's does not spell disappointment - Abate makes a first rate pie. In Westville, Ernie's has been a fixture for many, many years, and let's face it, in a tough pizza town like New Haven, where everybody is aware that the bar is raised very high, nobody could really endure unless they offered something decent. Sure, there are the Papa Johns and Domino's of the world, and having a large student population, delivery alone sustains a lot of places, but you can go to literally dozens of places and get your pizza "jones" taken care of!

                          1. re: lsnhc

                            The best part about going to Abate, is then going next door for Italian Ices for desert...

                            However, Amato's on State Street is on my MUST AVOID list.

                            I resent having been asked to pay for my meal when the waitress takes the order. I am not a street person or a kid who they might think will skip without paying, but a respectable middle aged white male in a suit.

                            This procedure was more than insulting and I'll never go back, and tell others to stay away as well. There are many great choices for Apizza (with the requisite Foxon Park soda) in New Haven to put up with this nonsense.

                            Ernie's on Whalley opposite Davis Street is a good choice.

                            1. re: lsnhc

                              I just had a world-class pie at Old World in Hamden--whole wheat crust with onions, garlic and artichoke hearts. Outstanding.

                              1. re: lsnhc

                                "Nobody could really endure unless they offered something decent."
                                Sorry, lsnhc. I've got three words for you: Est Est Est.
                                Been there for years, selling only to the Yalies who grew up on Domino's and are scared of walking past the Green.

                                1. re: newhavener07

                                  Newhavener....no offense taken. As I said in my post, there are places that have endured where there are a lot of students. Realistically, that does lower the bar for any eating places within walking distance of any of the colleges!

                                  1. re: lsnhc

                                    Michael Angelo's in West Haven or Milford are both excellent!