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Jonathan's Worldly Eats: Confessions of a Foodie - Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana

I am the fourth (possibly fifth) generation in my family to patronize this historic brick-oven pizza paradise. Even in Italy I endeavored to find a pizza on par with Pepe's and was shocked to discover that Frank has no equal. Pepe's remains unchanged from when they first opened in 1925. Paper thin charred crust cradling crushed Roma tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and maybe some fresh Italian sausage if you are feeling exotic. Do not even dream of going to Pepe's and not ordering a White Clam Pie. Pepe's signature pizza is a genius composition of freshly shucked clams and oregano - simply life-changing. Long lines form in all types of weather, all year long, so arrive early to save yourself the agony of watching others graze over their monstrous apizza pies. Pepe's is open Monday through Saturday 11:30 am to 10:00 pm and on Sunday from Noon to 10:00 pm.

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana
157 Wooster Street
New Haven, Connecticut
*Other locations exist, but I am to skeptical to try them


Visit Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana's website at www.pepespizzeria.com

*A version of this review appeared on worldlyeats.blogspot.com

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana
157 Wooster St, New Haven, CT 06511

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  1. For the life of me,I cant understand why you think eating a pizza so thin that you can almost see thru it and with virtualy no crust is the greatest pizza in the world, How about a pizza with a little body to it and a crust thick enough you can hold on to it to eat it is beyond me.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Earle

      It's called electric oven, sysco sourced, cheaply made, greek pizza, alla dominoes or pizza hut

      1. re: Earle

        Pepe's is really not that thin. There are a lot of places that serve pizza much thinner than Pepe's.

      2. Uhh, you went looking for New Haven style pizza in Italy? I'm simply shocked you didn't find it.

        1. I still have dreams of the clam pizza I had there this summer.

          1. It isd pretty good but if you get to italy go to Antica Pizzaria Da Michelle at Via Casare Sersale Naples Family owned since the 1800's origional tables 2 types of pizza only not the usual USA stuff. the oven was at 600c = 1,112 degrees pizzas cooked in 35-40 seconds. I have been all over the USA and have not had a pizza I like in this country.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Frank Terranova

              When I came back from a study in Italy, I also could not find Italian style pizza here. It is a different animal all togther.

            2. My Sister-in-Law swears by this place. She took us there ... once. We stood outside in freezing (like February) weather for a flippin' hour for mediocre (at best) pizza. No pie is worth that ... seriously. I make better pizza at home ... though, as my kids tell me, I make a really mean pizza. :) ;)

              1. So traveling around the world you couldn't find pizza "on a par" with Pepe's?

                Honey, all you had to do was walk down the block and you could have had pizza that was better, at Sally's.


                4 Replies
                1. re: Pipenta

                  Absolutely True.........................

                  and besides what the OP writes, Frank has loads of equals, they're all pushing up daisies, dead just like him.

                  At Pepe's you get the grandkids running the place, At Sally's Flo Consiglio is present, as she has been from the very beginning, making sure there are no changes.

                  I noticed the change in Pwepe's when the grandkids took over running the place, and their idea of expansion may be their downfall.
                  Locals remember how that West Haven icon, Jimmies, tried expansion and franchise in the 70s. The main location suffered and it has never been the same.

                  You cannot clone a unique spot (pun intended) like Pepe's and not suffer inferior results. Thise of us dining on Wooster Street for more than 50 years know and taste the difference. Others in the hinterlands get caught up in being able to say 'I dined at Pepe's' But, when you let too many into the club, it's no longer a club but plebean. (odd, sice Apizza is peasant food).

                  Growing up in New Haven, for opur family, Pepe's was only for when Sally's was closed, and if we wanted Apizza in our Westville neighborhood, if Luigi's (now Ernie's) was closed, Pepe's had a sister location in Westville Village (that later became a Subway).

                  1. re: bagelman01

                    amen brother. +1

                    last time jfood was a solo while the girls were playing. he waited on line and when he was seated, he sat with Flo at her table near the ovens. what fun

                    1. re: bagelman01

                      The Pepes in Westville had no relation to Pepes on Wooster street.

                      1. re: marko711

                        not the Pepe's of the 1980s, but the Pepe's of the 1950s was family of Wooster Street

                  2. My first and only experience with Pepe's was in Manchester a few weeks ago. Hearing all the hype, I ordered the white clam pizza. I wasn't really crazy about it because I don't care for clams that much--BUT I didn't enjoy at all the grit and bits of shell I kept coming across. Never again for me--perhaps the tomato pies are OK but the "only" above indicates my true feelings--not anxious to return!

                    1. I had a pizza margarita there a few weeks ago and it was not so great. Last year I had the clam and bacon pizza and it was awesome.

                      Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana
                      157 Wooster St, New Haven, CT 06511