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Jul 9, 2009 09:03 AM

New Haven Pizza vs. Old Forge Pizza

A Tale of Two Pizzas. As different as night and day. Almost everyone adores New Haven Pizza, and almost nobody knows anything about Old Forge Pizza.

There may very well be a good reason for this. New Haven Pizza has a firm crust that is highly prized and not easy to make taste good. It comes out of a very hot oven all bubbly, and Old Forge Pizza looks like it came out af an Easy Bake Oven. Yesterday.

Old Forge Pizza has grainy cheese, an oniony tomato sauce, and a thick crust. New Haven pizza uses either fresh mozzarella or a special cheese blend and is thin crust.

People from Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, and Old Forge, PA seem to be the only ones who adore that style of pizza, as where the accolades of New Haven Pizza are widespread and well-documented.

Still, I had Old Forge pizza for the first time in my life at Gighiarelli's in Old Forge and I fell in love with it. Despite the fact that the crust is thick, it is airy and light. The bottom is very crispy. And the oniony tomato sauce is extra tasty, a different 'kick' entirely.

For the record, I tried Pepe's in New Haven. Tried white clam, fresh tomato, and vegetable special pizza. All smalls. I liked it. Especially the fresh tomato. It may not be the best example of New Haven Pizza, but I am happy to report there is enough deliciousness to go around for more than one style of pizza.

Vive le difference.

Of course, I know of Chicago deep dish Pizza.... and I think I must have eaten a style that I'll call California at Park Chow in SF with arugula and corn on it. Very delicious as well.

Any other styles of pizza out there?

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  1. When I first saw your post, I thought you might be referring to Old Forge, New York, which made me think of tomato pie from Utica, New York. I used to eat tomato pie when I lived in Syracuse, but I now live in Chicago and mostly frequent NY style pizza place. However, there is a nice joint up the road from my house that brews their own beer and sells "New Haven style" pizza. I think a good slice of NY style is my favorite though.

    1. As a Native New Haven-er (now in Manila), I thought the only issues were red sauce vs. white clams and Pep's vs. Sally's. Right now, I would do anything for a picture of Foxon Park soda and a white clam pizza at Pepe's. Wow...

      1 Reply
      1. re: jaidee

        Agreed. As a native New Havener also, now LA transplant, I would kill for Pepe's white clam right now. Alas, it is not to be. Pepe's is a stellar example of fine New Haven Pizza, as is Sally's and I have to say, to give my peeps a shoutout, the little 'burb of North Haven has some great so. Italian pies, namely Modern & Grand Apizza, as well as my old haunt, Bimonte's.

        Never ever heard of Old Forge Pie. Very interesting.

      2. I have had Old Forge Pizza at the Victory Pig, and thought it was OK but not journey-worthy. Now Arcaro and Genell, OTOH, is trip-worthy, but more of a real Italian restaurant than just a pizza place. I had a carry out order of their white pizza, which I recollect had a top crust, lots of cheese, and rosemary--outstanding, but not a "normal" pizza. However, I can't find that exact spec on their website, so my memory of the exact specs on the pizza may not be so good. Their red pizza supposedly is an excellent version of OF style pizza. If Joe H chimes in on this thread I'm sure he will fill in the blanks.

        Another very different pizza style in that same area is Hazleton's "pitza," baked almost exclusively by the Senape bakery. See link:

        5 Replies
        1. re: johnb

          And if you're native to Hazleton, then you have to love Senape's. It's square pizza and it's meant to be eaten cold (room temperature). It is one thing that must be brought as a gift if you're visiting someone who no longer lives in the area. My co-worker is going to Hawaii in a couple of weeks to visit family who live there, and she has already received her Senape's order to carry on the plane.

          It's a soft and greasy crust about 3/4 inch, with a thick layer of tomato sauce and a sprinkled cheese topping, not mozzarella but parmesan or romano, a hard cheese. I like the corners best because then you just get crispy crust and cheese. It's best when it's fresh from the bakery. They probably sell upwards of 200 boxes of 12 cuts daily, a lot for a pretty small town. When I stop at the bakery for a box, I always buy the box with the biggest grease stain on the bottom. Yummm.

          1. re: lisavf

            Thanks for the tip on Senape's. I'll be back up to the Scranton area sometime at the end of summer, so I will have the opportunity to check that out.

            Trip-worthy, John B, is another question, since I am in the habit of researching and finding great things to eat wherever I happen to go. The big difference from one place to another is opportunity. In some places there is little opportunity to find something great and other places there are many choices.

            1. re: Steve

              Steve, my best advice is, don't bother buying it anywhere other than the bakery. You're never sure how fresh it is, and it's not really worth it if it's not fresh. And you do want to buy it from the bakery, not the tavern which is just around the corner with the same name. They have very different pizzas. Hope you enjoy!

              1. re: lisavf

                Such specific info, awesome, I love it. Thanks!

              2. re: Steve

                Well, AFAIK the Scranton/Hazelton area is in the "little opportunity" category. I would recommend Arcaro and Genell if you get back there. Other than that, I have little knowledge of places to eat, save perhaps the hot bar at Wegmans, but you have that at home (LOL). You can always pick up a few boxes of pitza of course and bring them home.

          2. I used to live in Michigan and HATED pizza (although, I must admit, I have since discovered 1 good pizza place in SE MI). After transplanting to NEPA (Northeast PA), I am now addicted! When it comes to Old Forge pizza, I have to concur with the others so far on Arcaro and Genell - better than Revello's. The atmosphere is also very quaint, old style original Old Forge, like going back in time at this Italian restaurant. Savos, another popular Old Forge destination, was a very disappointing experience. There's a place in Clarks Summit and Avoca, Colarusso's, that is Old Forge style -- the tomato, basil and roasted garlic pizza is fantastic! It may be outside the Old Forge alley, but it is worth the slight detour.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Cymry


              I'll be in the Detroit area in a couple of weeks. Which is that pizza place you referred to?

              1. re: johnb

                Buddy's in Dearborn, a few minutes from the Ford Museum. They have several other locations, too. They have a site: There are several specialty pizzas on the menu - I tried the Original with pepperoni and the Super. The Original was my favourite and I highly recommend it. They also make a decent antipasto salad.