HOME > Chowhound > Southern New England >

Sally's Apizza is obviously better than Pepe's and Modern

observor Dec 19, 2011 12:17 PM

I hit all three and it is obvious:

Sally's: Clear char, chewy-crisp crust, plenty of flavor,
Pepe's: Bland, no real spices, weak crust
Modern: Too salty, not only mozz used for the cheese, more cheese than sauce, weak crust

Sally's was the only one to have a real crisp crust

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. j
    Joltingjoey RE: observor Dec 19, 2011 12:57 PM

    Sorry, but this is a ridiculous post. There's no "obvious" when it comes to food tastes, especially pizza.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Joltingjoey
      observor RE: Joltingjoey Dec 20, 2011 02:49 PM

      I suppose I should elucidate that this is in New Haven, CT

    2. l
      LorenV RE: observor Dec 20, 2011 04:32 AM

      Zuppardi's > all 3

      2 Replies
      1. re: LorenV
        lsnhc RE: LorenV Dec 20, 2011 05:01 AM

        I agree...this post is absurd. I think that it depends what you're looking for. Nobody makes a better white clam and garlic pie than Pepe's (it's the freshly opened little necks, not canned or frozen like most other places). I would agree that Sally's classic red pies are absolutely terrific, but unless you're prepared to wait hours to get them (unless you have the private phone number and can come in through the back door), you can forget about even trying them!
        I find Modern to be two restaurants under one roof: If you're eating in, the pies can be as good as anybody's - and better than most. The take outs are made in a different kitchen and for whatever reason, they just don't travel well. We live approximately 5 minutes away and invariably, by the time we get them home, they are limp, soggy approximations of what is served in the restaurant.

        1. re: lsnhc
          MacshashRIP RE: lsnhc Dec 20, 2011 10:48 AM

          Harry's West Hartford does it for me

      2. f
        food4mood RE: observor Dec 21, 2011 12:51 PM

        amato's, next to modern, has better pizza than all three previously mentioned. that being said, i would have to say that sally's tomato pie is incredibly delicious.

        1. o
          observor RE: observor Dec 22, 2011 08:44 AM

          I should say that I had just mozzarella

          6 Replies
          1. re: observor
            FoodieJim RE: observor Dec 23, 2011 06:53 AM

            And herein lies [one of] the problems with the original post. The pie that one orders has so much to do with the final results. I prefer Pepe's. That said, if I wanted a "plain" pie with nothing on it, I would be perfectly happy with Sally's, and cannot dispute that it might in fact win the day. (Leaving aside the headache of actually getting a table and putting up with the awful service.) If you did the same test and ordered pies with sausage and onion, I'd be surprised if Pepe's didn't top your list. And if you ordered pepperoni, I'd venture a guess that Pepe's might finish last. (I cringe when people who have never been to Pepe's go and order a pepperoni pie and then complain that the pizza was just OK. I just don't think that pepperoni on top shows off what Pepe's is all about.) And as posted above, order a white clam in each place and Pepe's is number one with a bullet.

            Bottom line. You can't reach any sort of conclusion one way or the other by going to both Pepe's and Sally's and ordering a "kid's pizza" (i.e., plain cheese).

            1. re: FoodieJim
              bagelman01 RE: FoodieJim Dec 23, 2011 09:51 AM

              and any real New Haven Native knows that the cheese that belongs on Apizza is grated Romano, not Mozzarella.
              Going to Sally's (my personal favorite for more than 50 years) and ordering a mozzarella pie borders on sacrelidge.......................
              Now that the Yalies are on winter break, I'll be at Sally's enjoying my Apizza and Foxon Park.

              1. re: FoodieJim
                observor RE: FoodieJim Dec 23, 2011 12:11 PM

                Still, is not a basic cheese pizza a good indicator of the overall value of the pizza? Is not (most) every pizza composed of crust, cheese and sauce? Can the variation in toppings really mandate that one goes one place instead of the other? If a place can make a quality basic pizza, it doesn't seem that the toppings should overcome the core problems. Sally's core basic pizza is obviously better, and I don't see how the toppings can substantially alter that.

                1. re: observor
                  kattyeyes RE: observor Dec 23, 2011 01:10 PM

                  "What we've got here is failure to communicate...some men you just can't reach..." ;P

                  Ahh, New Haven not-so-civil Pizza Wars...lsnhc and Foodie Jim had the right idea:
                  "The pie that one orders has so much to do with the final results."

                  To respond to your questions, whether rhetorical or not:
                  <<Is not (most) every pizza composed of crust, cheese and sauce?>> No, especially when you're talking about white pies--particularly clam pies.
                  <<Can the variation in toppings really mandate that one goes one place instead of the other?>> Seriously? HELLS, YEAH!

                  P.S. to bagelman--Foxon Pahhhk! :) Cheers!

                  1. re: observor
                    bagelman01 RE: observor Dec 23, 2011 03:16 PM

                    Again, I am a Sally's supporter,
                    BUT Sally's core basic Apizza is not made with mozzarella. Mozz is an extra. I've eaten at and from Sally's for more than 50 years, and have never ordered a pie made with mozzarella.

                    1. re: observor
                      riffjamer RE: observor Dec 23, 2011 08:47 PM

                      I have to agree with Obsever that the beat way to judge ANYTHING is just with the basics;

                      pizza. crust, cheese, sauce

                      hot dogs,plain


                      add any toppings to any of the above & it will change the basic taste of it.

                      they all taste different.

                      I go to different places because they all taste different. it depends on the taste I'm in the mood for.

                      if all you do is go to one place' you live a very sheltered life.

                2. Veggo RE: observor Dec 23, 2011 04:13 PM

                  observor, it appears that you dwell near Reginas and not near the New Haven trio. You are getting an old fashioned New Haven ass whippin' for your pizza naivete, equal to the ass whippin' North Enders mete out when an outsider vies for a parking space there. With your hard-earned enlightenment from your thread, come back to Pepe's for a white clam pie, and as you drive through RI on 95, bid farewell to the clams that gave their life to adorn your Holy Grail of pizza. I left the area long ago, and I have not found anything that comes close, anywhere.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Veggo
                    observor RE: Veggo Dec 23, 2011 09:00 PM

                    I am not talking of a white clam pie pizza, which is clearly unique. I am taking the basic concept of pizza as being crust, sauce, and cheese, and judging these establishments based on that product. If these places tout themselves as being so amazing, they should make a basic pizza as well as any. And a basic pizza of crust, sauce, and cheese is indicated by Sally's being far advanced to Pepe's and Modern.

                    1. re: observor
                      benbenberi RE: observor Dec 24, 2011 08:26 AM

                      There's clearly an issue that your definition of "basic" is not theirs. In effect you're applying arbitrary criteria and using them to reaching a conclusion that is disputable from first principles.

                      Face it - this isn't a battle that can be won. You like what you like. Others think differently. There's plenty of pizza to go around.

                      1. re: observor
                        just_ducky RE: observor Dec 24, 2011 01:24 PM

                        Observor, would you agree that the Ford F-150 is obviously a better vehicle than a Mercedes S-Class because the F-150 has a stronger and more robust chassis? It’s the chassis, after-all, that’s the basis of a vehicle. (tongue in cheek). If anything's obvious, it’s that there is no “better" in the world of food unless everyone taking part in the discussion agrees. I think all the aformentioned pizza places are excellent and I like them all much more than anything we have in Vermont. Pepe's white clam is to die for.

                        1. re: just_ducky
                          observor RE: just_ducky Dec 25, 2011 03:13 PM

                          A Ford F-150 is a truck and a Mercedes S-Class is a coupe (I think)...I was working with a mozzarella pizza and a mozzarella pizza.

                        2. re: observor
                          FoodieJim RE: observor Dec 24, 2011 07:29 PM

                          But the basics of which you speak are those of Domino's, Papa John's and Pizza Hut. Not New Haven apizza. If I were to go to three New York delis to compare them, I wouldn't order corned beef though all would serve it, and some very well. If you want to know if Pepe's serves a transcendent pie, order a white clam or sausage. If you want to see if Sally's can blow you away, go for the tomato pie with grated cheese. Add a topping if you wish. Coming to a conclusion as to which place you like better is not a simple matter of comparing like pies. Instead, you should try what each place does best and figure out which one gave you greater pleasure.

                      2. r
                        River19 RE: observor Dec 27, 2011 06:22 AM

                        Well I guess that settles it then………we can all stop this decades long debate……. :-)

                        The only thing obvious about this debate is that it really depends on people’s taste preferences.

                        That is what makes food and cooking so enjoyable, there rarely is a “right” answer or “right” way to do things. Each pizza place in NH has it’s following, which is why they all have been thriving for decades.

                        1. t
                          Td61 RE: observor Dec 27, 2011 05:25 PM

                          Observer, I love the simple honesty of your post.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: Td61
                            observor RE: Td61 Dec 27, 2011 05:55 PM

                            It's not honesty, it's accurate...Sally's far outweighed the other mozzarella pies, just based on crust solo. Add in a fresh herbed tomato sauce and full-flavored cheese (and a lower price to boot) and you can say it is clear.

                            1. re: observor
                              Tinkerbelldee RE: observor Dec 27, 2011 06:18 PM

                              I have had a mozarella pie at all three and I like Modern better than Sally or Pepe's, so your statement that it is "obviously better" is not a true statement. If you had said that " I think" ..... then your statement would be correct.

                              I am glad that there are so many great pizza options in NH, there is one for everyone!

                              1. re: Tinkerbelldee
                                observor RE: Tinkerbelldee Dec 27, 2011 10:40 PM

                                Just because you say you think Modern is better doesn't mean it is true. Sally's is clearly superior for the reasons I gave. If someone is trying to decide which one to have, Sally's is the winner for the best basic pizza.

                                1. re: observor
                                  River19 RE: observor Dec 28, 2011 05:33 AM

                                  It’s OK everyone, Observor has settled this decades long debate……no need for further discussion.

                                  Evidently, Observor’s opinion is fact and everyone else should just acknowledge the superiority of this observation.

                                  Glad you liked Sally’s, it’s a great pie. They are each a good pie in their own right, hence each staying in business for decades. They each have their fans. Glad to see you have a clear winner from your perspective. Enjoy it. Others may prefer another pie…….

                                  1. re: observor
                                    Tinkerbelldee RE: observor Dec 28, 2011 01:40 PM

                                    I did not say it was a true statement. I said that I like Modern better.

                                    If someone is trying to decide on which to choose, as an adult, they should read all the comments about why people prefer one over the other and base their choice on the OPINIONS that they have been provided and the ones that most closely resemble their personal preferences.

                                    When it comes to opinions, there is no real true statement, just personal preference.

                                  2. re: Tinkerbelldee
                                    LorenV RE: Tinkerbelldee Dec 28, 2011 08:04 AM

                                    "I am glad that there are so many great pizza options in NH, there is one for everyone!"

                                    Indeed. And don't forget BAR! As good as the triumvirate for sure.

                              2. algct RE: observor Dec 28, 2011 06:11 AM

                                Nothing new here. I've been to all 4 (The Spot) & they are just fine. I have my preferences, but it isn't worth the time.

                                Now, for New Haven the REAL and related question (with similar proclivities) is

                                Red Sox
                                - or -

                                Merry New Year, y'all

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: algct
                                  bagelman01 RE: algct Dec 28, 2011 07:15 AM

                                  There is NO question.

                                  New Haven is WEST of the river and in YANKEES Territory. Southern CT is Metro NY, served by Metro North train service.

                                  Even the car manufacturers include New Haven in the Tri-State advertising, while in Hartford it is part of the New England dealers territory.

                                  Order a hot dog in greater New Haven and most of the time (if not nearly all the time) it will be served on a side split bun, not a New England top split roll. Also, it's much easier to get Manhattan Clam Chowder in Yankees territory than in the land of the Red Sux.

                                  1. re: bagelman01
                                    Veggo RE: bagelman01 Dec 28, 2011 07:26 AM

                                    New Haven may be west of the Connecticut River, but Fairfield County residents treat anyone east of the Housatonic River as second class foreigners...
                                    Top split buns at the Glenwwood?

                                    1. re: Veggo
                                      bagelman01 RE: Veggo Dec 28, 2011 08:29 AM

                                      You know I was born at Grace New Haven Hospital (long before the name was usurped by Yale) and raised in New Haven and Hamden. I'm still in New Haven county every day and in New Haven at least 3x per week. I only sleep in Fairfield county and upcounty at that.
                                      And when I want Apizza I go to Wooster St, I don't eat at the Pepe's branches in Fairfiled or Danbury, not the same.

                                2. mels RE: observor Dec 28, 2011 06:52 AM

                                  I prefer Modern, so it isn't that obvious. However, we are blessed with great pizza in this area and I would never decline a slice from any of the three! You really can't go wrong. Shockingly to non-locals, there are also other great pizza places in the area besides the "big three."

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: mels
                                    im hungry RE: mels Dec 28, 2011 09:32 AM

                                    ive had great pies at all three,even on a bad day they are alot better then just about anywhere.true they dont travel well,and simpilier is better too.we seem to have better luck at modern,getting a table,nicer servers,etc.,but all three do make a great pizza...

                                  Show Hidden Posts