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Pepe's is coming to Danbury, CT

According to a report in this evening's NewsTimes (lost the link and too lazy/tired to go back and find it), Pepe's Pizza has filed for a permit to open a restaurant on Federal Road, near 84 (according to the photo, near Oreck and the Harley-Davidson place). The article says they will build the brick oven from the ground up and they hope to be open by the end of January.

For those of us who like New Haven pizza but who can't always travel to New Haven, this is welcome news! The Fairfield branch seems to be holding its own in terms of quality (albeit without the history) so I have high hopes for Danbury.

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  1. As a long time Pepe's fan (my father use to pick it up for dinner every Friday night for us going back to my school days in the 70's) i have to say that they are completely selling out now. And with each location opening I see the quality and consistency going down.
    Granted... I haven't been to the original NH location since the expansion started, so I can't comment on how they are holding up these past few years, but the satelite locations are not consistently great like they should be.

    11 Replies
    1. re: foleyd7

      I do not agree. The Manchester location has been consistantly on par with the original. We love it. I will admit that the Fairfield location though has some ups and downs. I really think it has to do with the manager and the time of day you go. I noticed that the Fairfield problems have been more at the lunch hour on weekends but during the week it seems good. Jay

      1. re: JayCT

        I agree with Jay. I have been to the Manchester location several times and have never disapointed. It's nice being able to go without waiting in a line that goes half way down the block.

        1. re: hotwing

          This is good to hear since i'm hoping to go there this weekend!

      2. re: foleyd7

        I had Manchester once and it stunk, and had Mohegan Sun once and it was just ok. Neither was anything close to Harry's Bishop's Corner. I've never tried the New Haven location, so maybe it's just the newer stores, or maybe Pepe's just sucks in general.

        Harry's Bishop's Corner
        732 North Main Street, West Hartford, CT 06117

        1. re: ratbuddy

          I've been to the Manchester location about 15 times and the NH location about 150 times. For all practical purposes, they are indistinguishable, except the servers are much friendlier in Manchester. Quality always varies when you are cooking in a coal oven at high heat. An extra 15 seconds in the oven can make the difference between "perfect" and "charred". But that's part of the fun. You don't go to Pepe's for cookie-cutter consistency. For that, order Domino's. Though I have not tried Mohegan, I suspect that if you have been 0 for 2 in your two visits, it is likely that you just do not like Pepe's. But to say that it "sucks" is an insult to, and flies in the face of the thousands of people who leave each location quite satisfied each week. I do not care for Sicilian or Greek style pizzas. But I leave it at that. I do not pronounce them to "suck".

          1. re: FoodieJim

            Agree with you. My comment above was about the pizza (primarily the Fairfield location) not being as consistently great as I was use to in NH.
            But to say it sucks is just way off.
            And your comment about 15 seconds in the oven making all the difference is spot on. My biggest complaint about the Fairfield location is the inconsistency in the crust - - - everywhere from doughy & undercooked to charred too much. I've also found that their dough sometimes seems to be thicker than normal (especially on the medium size - - it's almost like they take the large dough ball and don't stretch it as much). The happy medium I was use to in New Haven (not too thick, not too thin and with a slight char & slight chew) seems to escape the cooks in Fairfield more often than not.

            1. re: FoodieJim

              Burnt cheese on top, underdone crust with crunchy pebbles of ash underneath, and a decent sauce applied way too sparingly. I'd say that sucks. I'm not making a generalization about a whole category of pizza, just this particular place that serves it. There's much better places out there for NH style pizza, and I really do think Pepe's is just an overrated tourist trap.

              Plenty of people say 'Five Guys sucks' or 'McDonalds sucks' without being accused of insulting the fans of those restaurants. Hopefully you can allow me my opinion without feeling I've somehow personally slighted you.

              1. re: ratbuddy

                There is a big difference between: "I have been to two locations, each once, and in my opinion, Pepe's sucks"; and "Pepe's sucks". I do not feel personally slighted. But the number of loyal customers that Pepe's has fostered, (and no, they are not all tourists...far from it), belies the generalization that "Pepe's sucks".

                1. re: FoodieJim

                  Sorry I didn't say it right. I think Pepe's sucks.

                2. re: ratbuddy

                  You're entitled to your opinion about Pepe's. But it's been around for 85 years. I can speak to the New Haven and Manchester locations and, in my opinion, it's the best pizza I have ever had. The open market is a cruel place for businesses, and if the public felt that "Pepe's just sucks in general," thenPepe's would be out of business. The fact that it's not proves your opinion is an outlier.

                  1. re: ratbuddy

                    I don't like Cheesecake Factory (in fact I hate it). I don't really care for Pepe's either (but in fairness I am a Sally's regular for more than 50 years, born in New Haven).

                    That said: I live in Trumbull now and commute to Massachusetts every week. Therefore I have had the chance to dine at both Fairfield and Manchester many times.

                    Fairfield is consistently INCONSISTENT, I'd rather make the drive to Wooster street in New Haven then chance waste good time and money at the Fairfield location.

                    When Manchester first opened, I had 2 bad experiences, but they have improved the place and it is consistently very good. After 4 days in the pizza wasteland of Mass. each week, I am happy to eat apizza at Pepe's in Manchester on my way home. But if I am in striking distance of New Haven, I'll dine at Sally's.

                    Note: I am a purist, I only eat Apizza with sauce and grated romano cheese, so I can not evaluate the pies made with sausage, and the thought of a white clam pie has no appeal, even clam sauce I prefer red.

                    I would not label Pepe's as 'sucks', I might have referred to my particular visit as having sucked.

                    I do however think that overexpansion will dilute the product over time.

          2. I imagine it will be going in the abandoned Bennigans building, which is one of those "cursed" locations where no business succeeds long-term.

            300 Atlantic St Ste 101, Stamford, CT 06901

            1 Reply
            1. re: BlueSoup

              Nope. Across the street in the port hole windowed building (according to the NewsTimes). Hopefully it's not cursed.

            2. I've always thought it was massively overrated, but I live no more than 35 seconds away and it beats anything else which is as close (Mangia Mangia and a few others), so that's good.

              1. This is amazing news! Thank you for posting... I found the article (http://www.newstimes.com/default/arti...) and am sad it's going to take so long, but it will be better than driving to Manchester or Fairfield or NH for these heavenly pies. Of course, once Pepe's is so close to home, I may reconsider the slightly longer drive to our REAL favorite pizza in the area, Carminuccio's in Newtown. That stuff rocks. Amazingly thin, crispy crust and a variety of toppings from the traditional to the sublime. I highly recommend that place. I drove past it a zillion times, never giving it a second thought, but then read a RoadFood review and had to try it. Love at first bite!!

                And I'm just curious why people get so pissy about their pizza preferences? One person's "sucks" is another person's "stellar" and there is really no right or wrong. It's all a question of personal taste and preference and liking or disliking any particular type of pizza or pizza place doesn't make anyone a bad person. Just sayin'...

                3 Replies
                1. re: saturngrrl

                  Pepe's doesn't suck. How can it when there are so many sub-par pizzaa "places" around these parts.

                  No, the coming of Pepe's must be viewed as a welcome addition to almost any 'hood.

                  For one thing, it's cheap. A small pie with cheese and sauce is under ten bucks.

                  For another, it's really not bad. Now I know Pepe's didn't make their hundred-plus year reputaion on "not bad", but not bad is the new good:)

                  Would I drive out of my way to go to Pepe's? Yes, if Colony is so busy that they're not answering the phone. Then I go to Pepe's. I don't expect much. But it's hot, it's cheesy, it's round, it's fairly flat....It's Pizza for Heaven's sake. How can that possibly suck?

                  1. re: saturngrrl

                    "One person's "sucks" is another person's "stellar" and there is really no right or wrong. It's all a question of personal taste and preference and liking or disliking..."

                    That is precisely the point. In these discussions, people should be free to provide their opinions, but be careful to couch them in terms of their preferences and avoid wide-sweeping denigration (or praise). Saying that a place “sucks” in a general sense gives the impression that the establishment is an abject failure from start to finish with no qualities that a reasonable person could find redeemable. That is a far cry from noting that the food served is not of the style or quality that the individual poster prefers. Since there is no right or wrong to personal preferences, people can’t go wrong with noting those preferences. But generalized characterizations can prove misleading, especially on a board whose goal is to inform readers of places that they haven’t yet tried, but might want to some day. Let’s all keep in mind that a place does not “suck” simply because it served charred, thin crust round pizza to a person who prefers doughy, thick crust squares. And a clam shack does not “suck” because it served large, whole belly clams to someone who prefers strips or small bellies.

                    1. re: FoodieJim

                      Pepe's in Manchester is fine. In fact very good. Nothing in Northern Ct compares to Pepe's and Wooster Street and Manchester has both. The reference to 10 seconds longer in the oven changes the crust is so accurate. I've had Pepe's about a dozen or so times this year and 2 or 3 times I gotta say part of the pizza was burnt, crustwise. That said, it is still better then anything I can get in the Enfield area. Anything.

                  2. They're opening on January 31st.

                    1. I look forward to seeing Pepe's open in Danbury. That said, the location is HORRIBLE! I have been in that complex many times. Ingress and egress is dreadful, parking is very limited. I understand they are also opening up a back entrance. That will be very necessary. We'll see how this plays out.

                      1. So has anyone been? They opened Monday at noon. I guess the weather is helping to keep the crowds down.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: MisterBill2

                          I haven't gone yet, but intend to once the ice clears. Fortunately, Phil and Chuckles didn't see their shadows! http://www.acorn-online.com/joomla15/...

                          1. re: MisterBill2

                            I haven't been, but my SO *had* to go the day they opened to get takeout. It was at least an hour wait (but he called it in and didn't mind). He got a meat pizza (sausage and pepperoni); I got spinach, mushrooms, onions and garlic. It was delicious. We're about 10-15 minutes away, so it held up rather well in transit. I also ordered a salad, which they didn't give him... but I imagine it was rather zoo-ish on opening day, so I didn't get too upset about that! :-) I'm a little bit worried about the effect a nearby Pepe's is going to have on my waistline, but on the whole, happy they're here! Looking forward to going there when the crowds and the buzz dies down a bit.

                            I guess they did do a soft opening last week for some limited hours... but they were giving away the pizza, so I was bummed we missed that! Oh well...

                            1. re: saturngrrl

                              Wow, I was wondering if they'd do something like a pre-opening party with free food but I joined their mailing list and did not get anything. I would definitely have gone, even though I live in Westchester. I hope they did not charge you for the salad you didn't get.

                              1. re: MisterBill2

                                Yes, the did charge for the salad we didn't get. The problem was that we didn't realize it until we got the food home. But the pizza was so tasty that I got over it. LOL!

                            2. re: MisterBill2

                              We went on on Saturday during their soft open and yes, they were giving away pizza (1 small pizza per person) and salads.

                              We were really impressed. The staff is very organized and professional and definitely did not act like a place that had only been open a few days.

                              It's a bit smaller inside than I would have expected based on our visits to the other Pepe's, but it's otherwise just like you'd expect.

                              Pizzas came out just like we expected.

                              1. re: MisterBill2

                                Yep. I liked it better than some of the pies I've had in New Haven actually. Seemed a little less greasy.

                              2. I too disagree with ratbuddy on Pepe's in Manchester, but he does make a good call on Harry's Bishop's Corner. Pizza just as good as Pepe's, but superior in atmosphere, service and value( a ten dollar bottle of wine in a West h=Hartford eatery? Amazing!)

                                Harry's Bishop's Corner
                                Bishops Cor, Hartford, CT 06101

                                1. I picked up a basic tomato and mozzarella pie tonight. It was good, not earth shattering. But it was decent.

                                  The Danbury location stinks logistically from the main road. There is a back entrance, what I call the Lowe's connector. Use that and park in the back. The door to the takeout counter is very heavy and a little unwieldy when your arms are full of pizza boxes. The times I went in and out I had to help people maneuver.

                                  Waits can be slow. A woman ahead of me said when she called she was told it would be an hour. When she arrived she was told it would be another half hour. She only ordered two pies. I ordered mine in person and was told 25 minutes. I went to Stew Leonard's to pick up some veggies for the weekend, when I returned it was ready so no issues on my end.

                                  1. I have always enjoyed Pepe's pizza both at the New Haven and Manchester locations. The pizza's are identical. There has been mention of Harry's in West Hartford in this string. I was there once and thought the cheese pizza and service were mediocre at best. There were flies in the place because they had the door open somewhere and the AC was obviously not working well. I actually like Luna Pizza next door to Harry's. Harry's pizza was no big deal, the server let us sit for an more than 5 minutes before coming to our table the first time, then we couldn't find her for refills or to get a check. Pepe's and Luna have always give us great pizza's and great service. I'm in Mass and have to drive to CT to get good pizza.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: awm922

                                      Bear in mind that you went to the lesser of the Harry's. The good one has different owners and is a mile or two up the road.

                                    2. If you really want to eat delicious, New York style pizza go to Carminuccio's in Newtown and taste something that is terrific. Went to Pepe's in Danbury and it was really a huge disappointment. The pizza was burnt and the toppings were scant and tasteless. I've been eating pizza for a long time and to me, even bad pizza is good pizza, but I'd say the Pepe's has the worst pizza around. I will continue going to Carminuccio's even though it's a long drive for me from Brookfield, but it's well worth the drive.

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: BxFoodMaven

                                        Disclaimer..I am NOT a Pepe's fan, I go to Sally's. BUT, no one who wants to eat NY style pizza would expect to find it at Pepe's, a NEW HAVEN Apizza style restaurant.

                                        You wouldn't go to Stop and Shop seeking Arthur Avenue quality salumeria items, why go To Pepe's seeking what they don't sell or purport to sell???

                                        Your NY Bias is evident in your handle, and most of the Bronx hasn't had food worth having since they built Co-op City and destroyed the Grand Concourse.

                                        1. re: bagelman01

                                          I have no "territorial" bias, and I want to second the recommendation about Carminuccio's in Newtown. I would bet that somewhere in the Chowhound archives there is a thread from years ago where I sang Carminuccio's praises.

                                          Their pizza, in a nutshell, is delicious.

                                          1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                            I agree with Trish. Carminuccio's is fantastic. It almost always blows my mind when we take a drive to get some. We like Pepe's a lot, too, but if I had to pick one over the other, Carminuccio's gets my vote. In addition to wonderful-tasting pizza with fresh, flavorful toppings, on at least two occasions, Carminuccio's screwed up our order and sent us home with quickly remade "correct" pizzas AND the mistakes! Pepe's has messed up our order twice in two visits, with no fixes. To be fair, we didn't know about the errors until we got home (missing salad one time; wrong toppings the second time) and there wasn't much to be done about it after the fact. But I'm very happy to have the choices we have in this area, including Stanziato's. My waistline, however, kinda wishes there wasn't so much delicious pizza to be had around here. ;-)

                                            Sorry if we "wasted your time" posting about non-Pepe's pizza outlets in this discussion, bagelman01, but I hardly think mentioning their competition is "off topic."

                                            1. re: saturngrrl

                                              stop talking about bagels on this thread...

                                              1. re: saturngrrl

                                                OK, I have to chime in. Why has no one mentioned Stanziato, in Danbury, on this thread? It is FABULOUS pizza, and the folks there are so friendly. They are SERIOUS about their ingredients and their pies. We have loved every bite of food we've had there!
                                                Check out Michael Stern's review...

                                                1. re: jtrct

                                                  I haven't been to Stanziato's, but as I wrote on another thread, I'll give it a whirl.