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Pizza Crawl

Now, this journal entry is mostly intended for readers from Connecticut. If you're not from Connecticut, there's probably not going to be a lot here to interest you, so go and talk amongst yourselves.

A few posts back, I wondered whether or not I had any fans in New Haven. Turns out I do. Some of them spoke up in replies to that LJ entry, and others sent me email. Here's why I asked --

Next month Parris and I will be making our annual visit to Boston for Boskone (a great convention, I urge you all to attend). After the con, we'll be making our annual post-Boskone visit to New York City. We usually take the train down from Boston to NYC's Penn Station (soon to be renamed Moynihan Station, I hope, in honor of Parris's Uncle Pat), and that's what we plan to do this year... but this year, we're planning on getting off at New Haven on the way, to try out the pizza.

Some of you may have read my "What I'm Reading" page, and may remember my 2005 review of Ed Levine's book about pizza, A SLICE OF HEAVEN. If so, you'll know that I am a huge fan of classic NYC style thin crust pizza pie ("real pizza," I call it, and don't talk to me about that Chicago deep-dish tomato and bread casserole thing). Well, Levine's book claims that the best pizza in the world comes from New Haven. Since that time, I've also seen a special on the Food Channel that makes the same claim. Two specific places are mentioned -- Frank Pepe's and Sally's.

OK. Out here in New Mexico, I live thousands of miles from great pizza (some of the local pies are adequate, but that's all, and they don't even call 'em "pies," which is a dead clue that the pizza is going to be second rate). I can't stand the thought of riding right past what may be the best pizza places in the world without trying. Ergo...

You've all heard of pub crawls. Well, I'm up for a pizza crawl. I want to try BOTH of these famous pizza places, and see how their pie stacks up. And maybe some place called Modern too. I see from my webcrawling that there are some New Havenites who rate that one even higher than Sally's and Frank Pepe's.

So here's the plan. Parris and I leave leave Boston by train on Tuesday, February 20. It will only take us a few hours to New Haven. We'll check into a hotel, stay overnight, and check out a few slices before departing again for NYC on Wednesday, February 21.

If any of my Connecticut readers want to join us for a slice or three... hey, the more the merrier, I always say. Some local guides would be most welcome... and who knows? If the pizza is as good as advertised, I might even be convinced to make a few knights...

So speak up, New Haven! Who's game for a pizza crawl?


Jan. 16th, 2007 09:34 pm (UTC)
New Haven Pizza
Pizza Night sounds awesome...I would just warn you to be ready for a wait at both places...it can be quite a while! I am certainly looking forward to it!

New Haven, CT
Jan. 17th, 2007 12:06 am (UTC)
Re: New Haven Pizza
A wait, eh? No way to make reservations, I assume?

We might have quite a party. Do these places have private rooms upstairs or in the back on anything like that?

Do any of the local New Havenites (New Haveners) know what days and times they're open?
Jan. 17th, 2007 01:57 am (UTC)
Re: New Haven Pizza
The Elm City's finest apizza:

Frank Pepe's: 4-9:30 Wednesday (Closed Tuesdays)
Modern Apizza: 11-11, Tuesday through Thursday (closed Mondays)
Sally's: 5-10:30, Tuesday through Saturday (closed Mondays)

Jan. 17th, 2007 06:28 am (UTC)
Re: New Haven Pizza
Closed TUESDAYS? Damn, that's no good. We're going to be there on a Tuesday. Whoever heard of a restaurant closing on Tuesday??? Sunday, sure. Monday, pretty common. But Tuesday?

Damn. May have to scracth Frank Pepe's off the list.

Can someone check and make sure the other places won't be closed for vacation on February 20? The last time we stopped in New Haven, several years ago, Sally's was shut for two weeks while he went to Florida. I'd hate for that to happen again.
Jan. 17th, 2007 09:02 am (UTC)
Re: New Haven Pizza
One good thing about the other places being closed on the monday is that Chef's will be at their best when you go to those places on the Tuesday. I try never to eat at a restuarant on the weekend and always go on the Tuesday (monday is possible if I am not having fish), the chefs are run off their feet on the weekends so the quality is always better on a weekday especially after the Chef's day off.
Jan. 17th, 2007 02:45 pm (UTC)
Re: New Haven Pizza
Your best bet might be to call each of the apizza places just to see if they can accomodate or can reserve within a months notice. Heres links to their websites, seems Pepe's is open on Tuesdays..


Heres some info on Sally's


Heres my personal fav, which is in East Haven, 15 minutes from Wooster Street, over on Coe Avenue/Hemingway Ave.


Im going to try to get that day off to be apart of the apizza crawl, best of luck and happy eating if i cant make it.

Jan. 17th, 2007 05:00 pm (UTC)
Re: New Haven Pizza
Must've been a while since the poster above was in town -- Pepe's is open on Tuesdays these days, from 4-10. I was just there last Tuesday, myself.
Jan. 17th, 2007 05:17 pm (UTC)
Re: New Haven Pizza
It looks like this is going to be somewhat of an undertaking. I don't know if you have "people" that help you arrange this sort of thing, but, I'm in Hartford, and would be happy to help coordinate with the restaurants or somewhere else for an "event". Whatever I can do to help, let me know. Sorry to do this on the blog, I'm looking for your email address on your website.

Jan. 18th, 2007 08:12 pm (UTC)
Re: New Haven Pizza
I've got a buddy who lives right down the street from the restaurants. He told me they're all closed Monday's, and I've asked him to re-verify this. Will keep you posted. He did say that none of them allow Jets and Giants fans, though... :)
Jan. 17th, 2007 05:03 am (UTC)
Re: New Haven Pizza
There are no reservations. There's no space in either Pepe's or Sally's for a private party. Modern has a room on the side, but its not really separate. In some ways, choosing between the three is kind of a quibble. The style of all three is very similar, and they are all excellent. In college, before Modern was open, I preferred Pepe's to Sallys, but it was more of an atmosphere thing than anything else. In Law School, I preferred Modern, but that was more because of convenience.

Another New Haven place you might want to try, which has true New York style slices, is Naples Pizza on Wall Street. It's a student hangout with great slices. It has the NY style steel ovens, as opposed to the brick ovens at the other three. And it's a great place for late night.

Have fun. I haven't been back to New Haven in about 10 years and I miss the pizza there, on Long Island, and in NYC.
Jan. 19th, 2007 03:40 pm (UTC)
Re: New Haven Pizza
Just for the record.... I'm pretty sure the Modern sign says established... like early 1900's [actually, 1930].

Also, I want to point out that Modern has ZERO parking. Last year I was in charge of a seminar series and ordered pizza once/month from Modern. The parking lot is tiny. Inside there isn't too much room, but their pizza oven is larger than many bedrooms [sq footage, not cubic footage] :)

Space may be an issue at all three places since we're talking about small-ish buildings from who knows how long ago.

I could be convinced to do some calling and looking around for some more space.

Side note: "Bar" does have a lot of space, but is more of a Bar that also serves pizza.

-Zen Blade
Jan. 17th, 2007 06:26 am (UTC)
Re: New Haven Pizza
I posted about the wait originally, I was thinking of another great brick oven place called Bar which does have space for private parties upstiars. They have a great variety (which includes mashed potato pizza for the adventuresome eater). They also have great house brews.
Jan. 19th, 2007 02:31 pm (UTC)
Re: New Haven Pizza
After a little digging, this article suggests that reservations _are_ possible at Sally's. That said, however, it seems it's done for long-time regulars.

Maybe they'll make an exception for a large, crazed party of Ice and Fire fans accompanying the author. Or maybe one of those fans will know the secret handshake necessary to get a reservation?

Anyways, certainly wouldn't hurt to try... (Maybe they'd be more impressed if an agent called to arrange it?)

Pizza out here in Sweden is .... odd. Okay, some of it, but others are just kind of weird (not Japanese mayo-and-corn-pizza weird, but weird) but nothing like the best stuff back home.
Jan. 19th, 2007 02:41 pm (UTC)
Re: New Haven Pizza
Knights? Does that mean I'll finally get my lordship?

I'm there.


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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