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May 4, 2012 01:50 PM

Pepe's in Manchester

When first opened, I thought there was no real difference between Manchester and New Haven. But the last few times we've been there, over say the last 3 or 4 months, they seem to have slipped a bit. Still good, but not NH great. We went yesterday for lunch and ordered our usual: medium with mootz, pepperoni, and 1/2 sausage. When delivered to out table, it looked different. Looked like the build order was sauce, pepperoni, mootz, and sausage. Almost no pepperoni slices were evident under the cheese. Also, the crust was underdone, kind of soggy in the middle. Have any others had similar observations recently? Current favorite in central Conn is Mondo's in Middletown.

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  1. Not here; have not noticed it slipping.

    1. Since I was driving through there last weekend I stoppped and picked up a couple of pies to bring home. Both were medium, ordered with extra sauce. On one I got mozz, roasted peppers and mushrooms; the other I got with cheese alone figuring I can add my own toppings when we're ready to have it. They were both ordered cooked slighlty light and uncut since I finish cooking them when we're ready to eat.

      I found the one we had that night disappointing, nothing like I remember good apizza being when I was growing up in New Haven. The toppings were very sparse, and the cheese overcooked to the point of being browned. I also thought that the crust, though nice and thin, was unremarkable. I put the cheese pie in the freezer and will be heating it up tomorrow. But I don't think that I will bother to go out of my way and get them there again. I should note that on a previous occasion we ate there and ordered the white clam pie. There were no more than six clams on it; it was really not much mre than a garlic pizza. And the prices are not that cheap either, so maybe we'll try Wooster St. again, but not Manchester.

      1 Reply
      1. re: junescook

        I haven't noticed much of a change, but since most of the past criticism has been about "overcooking'" perhaps they are trying to back off the char.

      2. I have been let down by the New Haven Pepe's for the last 10 years but actually find the Manchester shop to be excellent, far better than what they serve in New Haven the 5 or 6 times I have been since they opened.

        Mondo is owned by the same guy who owns Naples in Farmington, Kurt, that guys knows good pizza.

        1 Reply
        1. re: SoupsOnCT

          Hummm... I thought I replied to this thread last week. We go to Frank Pepe's Manchester restaurant about once a month. We were just there last Friday. We have never had a bad pizza there. It looks and tastes the same as what I remember having as a kid in New Haven too. The only bad pizza I had at one of the Frank Pepe branches was a lunch in Fairfield. The pie was unevenly cooked which I think was because the ovens were not properly heated before cooking. That was just one time and years ago when the place was new. Jay

        2. We have been going to the Manchester Pepe's since it opened. Growing up in the New Haven area, I have been to the New Haven Pepe's for years. The Manchester Pepe's was an exact copy of the New Haven spot when it opened and for a long time afterward. Last year, I had a business associate from Chicago ask me to take him to Pepe's since he heard so much about it from other associates I have brought there. We didn't have time to go to the New Haven location so I figured that the Manchester spot would be ok after having great pizzas there for months. Well don't you think the white clam pizza comes out with the clams cut up too big and really tough. I was embarrassed and pissed off and let the manager know it. I told him he should be ashamed of himself and whomever made that pizza has no business making pizzas and needs lot more training. He apologized and offer the pizza at no charge. I told him I appreciate the gesture, but It would be more important to me for them to uphold the legacy of Pepe's and make a pizza like they should. I haven't been there since. I'll go back some day. It would be a real shame if they continued to make substandard pies.

          3 Replies
          1. re: awm922

            One bad pizza makes you stop going to the place??? If that was the case you probably don't eat anywhere anymore. I do not know one restaurant that has not had a bad night once in a while. I think you are being a bit harsh. Sometimes getting good quality clams is difficult so you have to cut any restaurant that serves fresh fish a break once in a while. Jay

            1. re: JayCT

              That did seem like quite the reaction. Goodness gracious.

              1. re: JayCT

                "I'll go back some day" means I'll still go there. I don't live that close to the place, so it's not a weekly visit to start with.

            2. Was great again yesterday -- three different pizzas, white clam included.

              1 Reply
              1. re: howaboutthat

                I love Frank Pepe's, even though I seldom get a chance to dine in New Haven. So I was thrilled when the Manchester location opened -- it's a perfect mid-point meal stop when I drive from Boston to NYC (and an alternative to my usual stop at Rein's deli). But my meal there last Friday was disappointing. We ordered four small pizzas, so everybody could get just what they wanted. Three of the four were pretty good (mushroom/roasted peppers; salami/onion; tomato/pepperoni without cheese), but they lacked the Pepe's magic.

                I ordred my usual favorite, the white clam pie. It was awful. The clams were overly briny and smelled slightly off -- edible but not at all appealing. The crust was properly charred and yummy, but the white sauce somehow stayed soupy and gloopy.

                I guess I should have complained, but we needed to get back on the road, so I suffered in silence (and ate slices of the other pizzas). I'd go back, but I'd be afraid to order the clams at this location ever again.