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Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana

One of the oldest and best known pizzerias in the United States.

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Pepe's and Sally's from New Haven: It's a tie!

  • Mar 1, 2010
Rating:
+5

Some of the best pizza in the world is made on a Wooster Street in New Haven, Connecticut.

On Wooster Street you will find two pizzerias, that make outstanding pizza.

Both use coal fired ovens. Both have been in the pizza business for decades.


Frank Pepe sign


Walk into Pepe's and your senses are  bombarded! Smell the pizza cooking in the coal fired oven!
Feel the anticipation of customers ordering pizza! Look at the eager faces of patrons waiting for their order. Hear the chatter of satisfied pizza aficionados.

If you go to Pepe's, the specialty is the clam pizza. Dripping with fresh clams this pizza is legendary. Of course they make other great pizza, but the clam pizza is a Pepe's original. 


Pepe's clam pizza



I have interviewed my friend Gary Bimonte, grandson of Frank Pepe on a number of occasions. Recently, I asked him to recount the story of how the clam pizza was invented. Here's the story of how Frank Pepe invented the clam pizza:

Pepe's has opened several pizzerias in Connecticut and recently opened their first one in New York.

What you will not find at Pepe's:
 

  • a perfectly round pizza
  • a salad bar
  • desserts


  • If you do decide to go to Pepe's one thing you will find: a line! Expect is to wait in line. You amy wait one to two hours just to get in the door. 
     

There is only one Sally's, however.
 

Sally's Apizza on Wooster Street

Sally's is located right up the street from Pepe's.

At Sally's you will find incredible pizza as well. Sally's was started by Salvatore Consiglio, a nephew of Frank Pepe's.

Our pizzas were fantastic. The crust was slightly burnt, just the way I like it. The coal fired oven imparts a great taste to the dough. The crust is ultra thin and very tasty. The toppings were perfect.

I had a chance to chat with Flo Consiglio, owner of Sally's, for a couple of minutes. I asked her if there would be anything new at Sally's.

She assured me, everything would remain the same.

My friend Jim explained what you will not find at Sally's. Here's  a short list:

  • Sally's is open from 5 pm to 10 pm daily except on Monday's.
  • It does not serve lunch.
  • It serves thin-crust pizza exclusively.
  • No salads, no calzones, no pasta, no pan pizza.
  • It serves no hard liquor or wine. It serves two varieties of beer, bottle only and no beer on tap.
  • It serves generic soda and no Coke or Pepsi.
  • It does not serve by the slice.
  • It does not deliver.
  • Parking is difficult at best and sometimes one must park 1/4 mile away.
  • Sally's has never had a special or discount prices nor has it ever offered coupons, ever.
  • The interior is not elegant in any way and looks today much like it looked 50 years ago.
  • The wait staff is not the friendliest, and when a waiter comes to your table you better be ready to order or the waiter will leave and not come back for 20 minutes.
  • And, to top it all off, there is never less than a one to two hour wait to get into the establishment and often another 30-45 minutes to finally get your pizza.
  • Often the wait is outside in the dead of winter.

Here's a picture of a Sally's Apizza:

A Sally's Apizza


But you will find incredible pizza!
 

So who makes the best pizza? Is it Pepe's or is it Sally's?

For me, its a tie!

They both make incredible pizza. And that's the way I like it!


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March 01, 2010
Love reading what you have to say about those two places!  I've never been, but I've heard about them before.  Frank Sinatra has dined there, I've heard.  I hope to try it myself someday!

By the way, you can actually write separate reviews on both restaurants and post them to their respective topics -- Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletena and Sally's Apizza, and then link them to each other.  It makes it easier for users to search for your review if you post your review that way.  Let me know if you have any questions! :)
March 08, 2010
Thanks, devora. You are correct. Frank Sinatra loved Sally's. As a matter of fact there is a signed portait of Frank Sinatra over one of the booths. Many times he would send his driver from New York to New Haven to pick up a pizza for hime. It's over an hour and a half drive! Pepe's is not to be outdone as there are plenty of celebrities who have ventured inot pepe's to try one of there outstanding pizzas. As I said: its a tie. But the Pepe's fans and Sally's fans are fiercely loyal. Don't even get them started over which one's is better!
March 09, 2010
I bet "the Chairman of the Board" did not have to wait outside Sally's for 1-2 hours in the cold weather to get his pizza!
March 09, 2010
I bet "the Chairman of the Board" did not have to wait outside Sally's for 1-2 hours in the cold weather to get his pizza!
March 09, 2010
I bet "the Chairman of the Board" did not have to wait outside Sally's for 1-2 hours in the cold weather to get his pizza!
March 09, 2010
I bet "the Chairman of the Board" did not have to wait outside Sally's for 1-2 hours in the cold weather to get his pizza!
 
1
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About the reviewer
Albert Grande ()
Ranked #123
I'm a Pizza Promoter and Internet Marketer. I have a number of websites and blogs including   Pizza Therapy, Pasta Therapy, Legends of Pizzaand Albert Grande's Personal blog   … more
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About this restaurant

Wiki

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, known locally as Pepe's, is a popular pizza restaurant in the Wooster Square neighborhood of New Haven, Connecticut at 163 Wooster Street. It is one of the oldest and best known pizzerias in the United States.

Pepe's was founded in 1925 by Frank Pepe, an Italian immigrant. Pepe was born in Maiori, Italy  on April 15, 1893, and later immigrated to New Haven in 1909 at the young age of 17. The quintessential Wooster Square Italian immigrant (poor, uneducated, enthusiastic), he took a job at a New Haven factory, but he hated it.

During World War I, Pepe went back to Italy to fight for his beloved native country. Upon returning, he soon landed a job working at a bakery on Wooster Street, which was a much better fit for him. Pepe began walking through the Wooster Square market and sold his "tomato pies" off of a special headdress that he wore on his head. After saving up enough money, he was able to buy a wagon to sell his pizzas off of. He did so well with his pizzas that he was eventually able to take over his employer's business and turn it into the first "Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana" on June 16, 1925.

The piece of land which Pepe's restaurant sat on was owned by the Boccamiello family. They later made Frank Pepe leave so that they could start their own pizzeria at the establishment, which they renamed The Spot. Pepe moved his restaurant to its current location next door to The Spot in 1936. The Pepe family later ...
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Details

Address: Wooster Square
Phone: (203) 865-7602
Cuisine: pizza
Attire: Casual
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