Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana
It’s a fierce argument that splits some Connecticut families and friends and it doesn’t involve the Yankees and Red Sox baseball rivalry. In the New Haven County that debate includes who makes the best pizza – Frank Pepe’s or Sally’s. Not being from the New Haven County, I haven’t participated directly in that debate, but have heard about it often.
Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana is a third-generation owned and operated pizzeria. It has seven locations in Connecticut, one in Yonkers NY and will be expanding into Boston soon. The establishment’s history began nearly 90 years ago in 1925 with the first location in the Wooster Street neighborhood of New Haven, CT.
Frank Pepe’s grandson Gary Bimonte carry’s on the family tradition using the recipe, methods and passion for the Napoletana style pizza that patriarch Frank Pepe grew up with in the town of Maiori, on the Amalfi coast of Italy.
According to the rules proposed by Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana, neopolitan-style pizza’s dough may be no more than three millimeters thick and baked in a stone oven. Frank Pepe’s follows that tradition.
Last week I had the opportunity to sample Frank Pepe’s pizza when the West Hartford location celebrated its one-year anniversary.
We were treated to a selection of Pepe’s popular thin-crust, coal-fired Neapolitan style pizzas, including their award-winning white clam pie.
The Pepe’s menu offers diners the opportunity to build their own pizza from a variety of toppings.
Additionally, the menu offers several specialty pies that include: Pepe’s original tomato pie; white clam; white spinach, mushroom and Gorgonzola; and margarita.
From July to September the menu also includes Pepe’s fresh tomato pie.
While I enjoyed a slice of several different pizzas, my favorite was the white spinach, mushroom and Gorgonzola specialty pie.
Following the classic, Italian restaurant style, Pepe’s serves wine in stemless, four-inch glasses. Some people use these glasses for juice or other beverages. They are a great casual alternative to regular wine glasses, completing the old school charm.
The generosity of the Pepe’s team continued with a beautiful tray of traditional Italian desserts. The platter included pizelles, angel wings and pumpkin cookies. I felt right at home since my mother makes pizelles and angel wings, which she calls rosettes.
Often touted as a “New Haven Institution,” Pepe’s is ranked #1 in The Daily Meal’s “101 Best Pizzas in America” and claims several “best pizza” awards here in Connecticut. I agree with the experts and give it “two thumbs up” in my book!
Have you tried Pepe’s pizza?
Where do you stand in the Pepe’s versus Sally’s pizza debate?
What’s your favorite pizzeria restaurant?
Disclaimer: While I was invited to Frank Pepe’s complimentary anniversary celebration for the media, the opinions and views expressed above are my own and describe my personal experience at the event.