My friend Bob is here in Connecticut on vacation with his wife Mary. Bob’s originally from New Haven. Mary’s a North Carolina girl. This was her first trip here. We needed to take her somewhere iconic and chose Pepe’s on Wooster Street.
In case you’ve just parachuted in from Venus, Pepe’s is a New Haven pizza restaurant. It’s on Wooster Street, ground zero for Italian cuisine.
I suspect if you went to Pepe’s at 4:00 AM during a blinding snowstorm there’d be a line out-the-door stretching down Wooster St.
The secret to Pepe’s (and its down-the-block competitor “Sally’s”) is the oven! Pizzas are baked hot and these coal fired brick ovens remain hot and temperature stable. Except for a week of yearly maintenance they are always hot 24/7!
We ordered two pies: one clam and one tomato. The tomato pizza is seasonal with tomatoes replacing tomato sauce. They’ve only been available since Friday. Both were superb.
To make things even better our friend Sue was the waitress. She collects souvenir pens. I brought two for her from last November’s Las Vegas trip¹. She brought me beautiful notecards with her flower photography.
Sue’s great because she’s both a Pepe’s historian and willing to dish on celebs.
We finished the night with dessert just down the block at Libby’s. Mary had never had a cannoli before!!! It boggles the mind. The Carolina’s should be ashamed of themselves.
Mary left New Haven impressed by real Italian cuisine.
My thanks to those of you who sought me out to say hello. She was probably impressed by that too.
¹ – Note to me: We need to go to Wooster Street more often.
18 thoughts on “Impressing With Pizza And Cannolis”
I “was raised” on Wooster St Pizza. Grew up in Hamden ( a stone’s throw away) it’s a wonderful memory and tradition…..LOVE Wooster St Pizza!!!
Geoff, you are making me hungry for a Pepe”s pizza. I haven’t had one in three years!!! Nothing compares with Pepe’s or Sally’s pizza. I live in Milford, and the closest one is Papa’s Pizza.
I have heard so much about Pepe’s being the pizza to end all pizzas. I was finally able to try one a few years back and was sorely disappointed. I did not care for it at all. I’m from the Boston area and nothing can compare to a Boston Pizza…believe me I’ve lived many places. Family Pizza in Niantic was extremely good however, I moved too far away to continue frequenting them. I’m not sure if the same people run the place today…..hmmm that could be a field trip to find out. LOL – Anyway, to all you Pepe fan – enjoy and I’ll savor my Boston Pizza whenever I go back home 🙂
People were amazed when I moved here from Missouri 30 years ago and had never ever eaten a bagel! Just goes to show ya… the Northeast has everything. 🙂
Born and raised CT and living in Hawaii now….I dearly, dearly miss and love Pepe’s so much that this post made me simultaneously cry and salivate. We’ll be visiting in two months and I CAN’T wait for Pepe’s!!!
ZUPPARDIS is West Haven was great in the 1950s with their brick oven ahhh but now they are not as great
Yeah, The Spot is my favorite, though the past two times I’ve been there it didn’t taste the same. The dough didn’t have that yummy, distinct flavor it use to have.
Good Choice of restautant…I remember going to Pepe’s and Sally’s when I grew up in Branford. Best pizza ever!
There is no bad pizza on Wooster Street, but I must say I like Modern Pizza (a stone’s throw away) on State Street the best. The pizza consistently rates tops in pizza polls. It’s all in the oven! My fav is what is called “plain” — no mozzarella, just the grated cheese and their delicious sauce. Yum!
I hope her canolli was freshly filled or the shell would be soggy. I had to complain the last time I was there and the girl brought me another soggy one. I sent an email to LLuizzi and got a note back for a freshly filled one. Nothing is worse than soggy. You should try Mozzicato DePasquale on Franklin Ave. in Hartford. They are the best. We also love Modern and I often get pizza rounds from them and make my own pies. Our Granddaughter loves them.
I have never had anything at Libby’s that wasn’t first class, top notch, indulgently tasty.
I tried Pepe’s once and was very disappointed in the quality of the pizza. I think the best pizza in New Haven is at Yorkside on York Street. They are also cheaper than Pepe’s.
It’s all about The Spot for my family. It is the site of the original Pepe’s and the wait is a fraction of the main resturant. I think the pies are better there too. I am happy to hear the fresh Margarita pizzas are in. We will be there soon!
Oh Geoff, I can’t wait to get to Ct. in Aug. We tell everyone here in SW Florida that Pepe’s is the BEST in the World. You did what we always do..go to Libby’s for dessert..but our is usually Italian ice. Something nice a refreshing after eating ALL the pizza. Many times we take the pastry home. We’ve been in Fl over 7 years and try to go to Pepe’s at least once when we visit our family in Ct. Once saw Joe Liberman there. Don’t think he had to wait in line.
I enjoy your page. It heps keep me updated with what is happening Ct.
I think you short changed your guests! Modern Pizza is the true New Haven “ah-beetz” as far as I’m concerned. Zuppardi’s in West Haven is a definite must-visit and I rank it right up there with Modern. Pepe’s is ok but I didn’t find it anything special. If you like rude and attitude (not to mention burnt) it’s Sally’s – you can keep it as far as I’m concerned. There’s a well known pizza joint I use to frequent in the valley until I discovered their dismal record of passing the local health inspection, however I’m still on the hunt for some great pizza in the Fairfield County area to take guests and friends.
I agree with all the Modern Pizza lovers! Followed by Libby’s Italian ice. THAT’S when life is good…
It’s all about Modern and Ashley’s Ice Cream for dessert here … 🙂