New Haven CT vs Brooklyn Pizza - Frank Pepe, Modern, Lucali

Nothing better to do on a long weekend. Decided to check out the lauded pizza scene in New Haven, CT. Google maps says 75 miles from Manhattan - piece of cake right? Ends up being a nightmare 3 hr drive ala LA to Newport Beach on a weekday rush hour pre-Covid :hot_face:.

Anyway first stop Frank Pepe. Ordered the classic clam pizza with bacon. A bit too charred on the edges. Center is soft like a Neapolitan style pizza. Legit fresh from shell clams! A touch dry, felt it was missing some moisture in the form of oil or more cheese. Check out the coal fired brick oven and the world record longest pizza paddle! Rated #1 on the Daily meal 101 best pizza in America. Wait was not too bad ~ 50mins.

Next stop Sally’s, got in line however it was a 3 hour wait! Ugh, had to pass. Seems like a lot of hardcore fans. A group ahead of me was on their annual pilgrimage to Sally’s. Note to self, seems legit and need to plan ahead in the future.

Final stop in New Haven. Modern Apizza. Seems like a thing in New Haven, the additional ‘A’ in pizza… anyone know why? Another old school brick oven, most likely coal fired too. The recommended pizza is the Italian bomb, it’s like a meat lovers pizza. Unfortunately I think due to the quantity of ingredients, crust came out a bit soggy and undercooked. I’d recommend doing a single/simpler topping combo. Lots of regulars and relatively short wait - 15mins.

Overall very good QPR, a 12” cost ~ $15. Something comparable in Manhattan, you’ll be paying ~$25.


Decided to give Lucali a shot on the way back to Manhattan. I figured Covid and lack of tourist, wait will be more manageable.

Sergio’s car parked at the end of the street

Opted for a simple combo with just pepperoni

Dang this was excellent, crust was perfectly browned with just a hint of char at the edges. Excellent undercrust color too. I think they use a low-mo mootz… Nice moisture level. Crust thickness is perfect and no droopy wet center. Perfect combo of light crisp on the outside and slightly chewy interior.

Personally I’ve concluded NYC style pizza is my favorite. Perfect crust texture and thickness for a foldable slice. So far Lucali, Juliana, Prince St, John’s of Bleecker have been the standouts in a city littered with great pizza.


This claims it’s Neapolitan dialect, but that doesn’t make much sense, since the immigrants who started making pizza in New York were also from Naples. I can’t find any evidence that the word is used there.

Reminds me of those cheesy Italian accents :laughing:

Glad you got to try Lucali and that it was a great experience! I’ve never tried Juliana or Prince Street so have that on my list for my next NYC trip (whenever that will be… :grimacing:)

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Love that Lucali’s.

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So many great pizza joints to try! Definitely do try to check out Juliana and Prince St. next time you make it out to NYC. Pizza is one of the Covid-era friendly food categories :laughing:.

Honestly its actually not a bad time to visit the city, no tourist. No crowds in the museum or streets. Try taking this shot of the Rockefeller center pre-covid. Just avoid tall office buildings, congested workspaces.


I’ll never forget my trip to New Haven . 8 years old . 1964 . Uncle Fritz picked us up from the airport in what looks like the convertible above . Wind in the face . I believe Fritz said were heading for the best pizza .I believe it was Pepe pizza. Anchovie was the best
Off to the was World’s Fair .


Good ol Uncle Fritz!

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As a middle class kid, I remember being disappointed that these were considered the best restaurants that New Haven had to offer. And yet I still remember and crave the taste of that white clam pizza.

Ratatouille :wink:


Great report!! I’m totally salivating.

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This thread made me go back to watch this First We Feast mini-documentary on Mark Iacono, a fantastic pizza-maker and all-around great neighborhood guy.

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Now I’m salivating after watching that documentary :laughing:

btw that Mazzola Bakery’s lard bread is a meal unto itself. Great for road trips or to carry along on the plane. Holds up well.