Happy Friday! Yes, I know our “A Casual New York Weekend” series has just begun, but before we make it all the way to New York, let’s visit a legendary pizza spot that you’re bound to pass on your way to New York from Boston. Consider it a worthy stop (about halfway point?) if you’re driving from Boston.
It’s long been purported that New Haven has some of the best pizza in the world. The two most famous ones, Frank Pepe’s and Sally’s (opened by Pepe’s nephew in 1938), are located just down the street from each other. Fans will argue tirelessly about which one they prefer more, but clearly both are doing something right if they have been able to stay in business and faithfully feed New Haven for so many decades.
It was hard for us to choose just one. However, on a late, late night while driving back from a road trip to Philadelphia, we decided to stop by Frank Pepe’s to finally see for ourselves the hype surrounding this legendary pizza.
Though they are usually packed (waits of over an hour are not unheard of), we had arrived after 10PM, and thus largely had the place to ourselves.
The white clam pizza is one of their signature dishes. According to their story, Pepe’s began by selling little neck clams on the half shell as an appetizer. It wasn’t long before someone made the connection to put the clams on the pizza. A legendary pizza was born.
For some reason, we were a bit underwhelmed by the pizza. The clams were a bit dry, and although it was tasty, I wasn’t sure what exactly the hype was about.
In fact, I may have enjoyed our other chicken, sun-dried tomato, and basil pizza a bit more. This pizza was juicier, the meat was more moist, and overall it had more substance.
The underside is not bad, with some decent leopard spots.
Overall, the pizzas were still quite good. It’s fun to see a place with so much history attached to it. I love how it looks like it hasn’t really changed since the day it opened, except for the number of photos of famous people that appear on the walls.
I’m not sure if I would drive all the way here just to have pizza. We have some pretty good pizzas in Boston. However, if I’m passing by (like I was this time), it’s a perfectly suitable place to stop by for a nice lunch, dinner, or even late night snack.
If you’re a Pepe’s lover, please fill me in on why I missed out. Did I come at the wrong time? Did I order the wrong pizza? Or maybe I should have gone to Sally’s? Please let me know, and perhaps I’ll know better the next time I go.
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