Growing up, I used to love traveling to New Haven to visit my grandparents. In addition to my grandmother’s amazing cooking, I knew I was always going to get some delicious pizza, too. However, it wasn’t until much later in life that I came to a startling realization… That same pizza I grew up eating was not just some of the best in New Haven Connecticut, but in the entire world! Just over the last few years, New Haven pizza has grown in popularity, drawing in massive crowds to places like Frank Pepe’s, Modern, and Sally’s Apizza. And want to know the wildest part? They’re all within just a couple of blocks of each other!
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Quick History of New Haven Pizza
Way back in 1925, an ambitious Frank Pepe opened the first pizza restaurant on Wooster Street. Modern was the next to open its doors in 1934, and the New Haven pizza revolution was officially underway! After watching the success of his uncle, Frank Pepe’s nephew would go on to start Sally’s Apizza down the street in 1938.
These three have created what most feel is the holy trinity of pizza places in New Haven. The Neapolitan style thin crust is cooked in coal-fired brick ovens, which gives it its now famous char on the bottom.
Frank Pepe’s and Sally’s still use the coal fire method to this day! You may notice Modern and Sally’s added the “A” on the front of the word pizza creating what sounds like the most Italian word ever in “Apizza.” This is part of a dialect of the Italian language only used in Naples… Talk about authentic!
Best Pizza in New Haven Connecticut
So what’s the best pizza in New Haven CT? Well, that all depends on who you ask! I should start off by telling you I’m 100%, completely biased to Frank Pepe’s New Haven. We have been everywhere from New York City to Italy, and I still completely swear by this pizza!
I have cousins that prefer Modern, friends that LOVE Sally’s, and know people that exclusively eat at Frank Pepe’s. They’re all technically New Haven-style, but they do have their own swag and flavor that truly stand out.
So what’s your favorite New Haven pizza? You’ll have to try them all to find out!
Modern Pizza New Haven
Let’s start with good old Modern. Modern Apizza New Haven may have been the second to open, but that doesn’t make it any less delicious!
Conveniently located off the highway, this New Haven staple combines a classic thin crust with a heavy portion of cheese and sauce to die for. I swear whenever we get a Modern pie I almost drop it because it’s so heavy. And I mean that in the best way possible!
Frank Pepe’s Pizza New Haven
Welcome to the original New Haven Pizzeria! Frank Pepe’s Pizza New Haven has perfected the art of coal-fired pizza and has been excelling at it for almost 100 years. From the moment you step in and see the massive coal-fired brick oven to when you sit down at your table, it will feel like home.
One of the most unique pizza creations that Frank Pepe’s New Haven is famous for is the White Clam pizza. They’re credited for inventing this seafood pie, and we’ve now seen it on menus as far away as New Zealand!
For better or worse, you should know the secrets out on Pepe’s. If you’re going on a weekend be prepared to wait up to 2 hours for a table.
Sally’s Apizza New Haven
Sally’s Apizza New Haven is truly an acquired taste. They take coal-fired to the max on every pie which makes for a crispy charred bottom. For some, this would seem burnt and overcooked. Yet, to others, it’s what makes Sally’s the best pizza in New Haven Connecticut.
Sally’s is essentially a hole in the wall and has the smallest space to dine in out of the three pizzerias. Although recently, it looks like they have added some outdoor seating.
Legend has it that Frank Sinatra ate at Sally’s in New Haven. He loved it so much, he would even have pizza delivered all the way from Sally’s whenever he was in New York!
Have any questions on Pepe’s, Sally’s, or Modern Pizza New Haven? How about sharing more of the best pizza in New Haven Connecticut? Let us know your favorite in the comments!
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Brigitte & Jake
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USA Travel Planning
Rental Car: We use Discover Cars when traveling. Consider renting a car in one city and dropping it off in another for an epic road trip!
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