Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Frank Pepe's

157 Wooster Street
New Haven, CT 06511
(203) 865-5762

New Haven is well regarded as one of the best pizza cities in America. I had never been there, so my first stop (and only stop of this trip) was to Pepe's. Frank Pepe is the original, and so I had to give it a try.

The ovens are one of the main claims to fame at this place, besides originating the thin crust pizza. Coal fired brick oven, they run at 650 °F. Notice the crazy long pizza peels, which are used to jostle your pie into position. They hang from the overhead J hook to make life a little easier for the pizza makers.

They serve a salad, and pizzas. Plus, draft beer, which was a major bonus.

Although I was mighty tempted by the white clam pie, my thoughtful server said if it was my first time, I should try the original tomato pie with pepperoni and the fresh tomato pie while it was in season. As I wanted to taste the sauce, I obliged.

The original comes topped with crushed Italian tomatoes, olive oil, grated cheese, mozzarella, and I added pepperoni.

The pizza had a perfectly charred crust, with medium thickness pepperoni cups that curled under the extreme heat. The cheese was well browned, and expertly spread across the pie. Zesty tomatoes kept everything from being too rich, and provided a tangy contrast.

The crust was where Pepe's staked their claim. The perfect amount of char, and crispy bottom made this stand out. Thin and well done, this is how pizza should be.

The fresh tomato pie comes with fresh local "native" tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh garlic, and basil. This pie packed a garlicky punch, and was my favorite of the two. It was fresh, light, and the crust stayed even crunchier.

I got there just before lunch on a holiday weekend's Sunday and I still had to wait ten minutes. From what I have heard, the line wraps around the corner regularly. Plan accordingly.

And be prepared to wait even further once you're seated; you won't regret it.

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