New Haven Pizza

We will be driving from New Jersey to Boston and have often thought about stopping for New Haven Style pizza. What places would you recommend first timers try? Any tips on what and how to order so that we try can maximize the experience and not look like total a******s?



Pepe’s or (it’s cousin) Sally’s Apizza.


We spent a couple of days in New Haven in 2018. We knew it was famous in the American food world for pizza (although we never got to grips with quite why that was the case). We had either Pepe’s and Sally’s on our list. And Pepe’s white clam pizza on our mind, as that’s its famous one. In the event, no pizza. We were not prepared to join a long queue at Pepe’s and Sally’s was shut that day.


It has been years, but we enjoyed Modern Apizza when lines at Pepe’s and Sally’s were too long. We have a Frank Pepe outlet in Yonkers and love their pizza (especially the Amanti delle carne - the bacon they use is SO good), but I don’t know how it compares to the New Haven location.

New Haven pizzerias are known for clam pies and I have tried both Modern’s and Pepe’s (in Yonkers), but tbh I’m not a fan. I love clams, but the combination of clams with cheese, etc just doesn’t work for me.

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Thank you all for the suggestions. Pepe’s and Sally’s were both on the list. I’m not a huge fan of clam pizzas but they can have place and would be a worth a try.

@biondanonima - where is Yonkers is Pepe’s? I lived in Yonkers until I was 6, across the street from the Cross County Shopping Center. Our GPS sometimes takes us that way to get through on our way into CT and it may make use for us stop there. Are the pie’s comparable?

It’s on Central, a few miles north of the Cross County mall. I haven’t been to the Pepe’s in New Haven so I can’t compare, but the pizza at the Yonkers location is excellent. Their crust is really flavorful (I suspect a long, slow ferment) and has great chew - works equally well with heavy toppings like the aforementioned meat lovers or simple cheese/pepperoni.

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Frank Pepe has expanded all over New England, as you have probably already surmised from their website. Before they entered the Greater Boston market, we used to stop at the Manchester CT location on the way to visit family in New York. We had only been to the New Haven location once for the clam pizza and in Manchester, we always ordered and enjoyed the clam pizza. We’ve also been to Modern once because the line at Pepe’s was too long and it’s so long ago that I don’t even remember details, but I remember feeling underwhelmed (probably a margherita, my standard first order at a new-to-me place).

Funny story our first time trying “Pepe’s” in CT, we stopped at what we thought was the famous “Frank Pepe’s.” A total bait and switch. We stopped at the wrong Pepe’s, which was clearly close to violating some trademark law or, at the very least, just being a bad neighbor. I had bad vibes as soon as we walked in (pre-Spring Onion days, so we were eating at the bar) when the woman who was chatting us up took an enormous swig of (probably Bud Light or something equally horrendous) out of an enormous football-shaped mug. I like a dive, but I said to B, this is not what I imagined Frank Pepe’s to be. And then the pizza was quite bad. We still laugh about it to this day.


We are relatively recent CT transplants and are fairly regular visitors at Modern Apizza, partly because it is more convenient for us. We have never tried Sally’s, which changed ownership in the not too distant past. We were underwhelmed by Pepe’s, but that could have just been due to the wrong order, a bad day, etc.

I personally did not like the Modern “clams casino” pizza because I felt that it didn’t have enough clams. To be fair, I haven’t ordered a clam pizza elsewhere. I absolutely love the white pizza with fresh sliced tomato, basil, garlic, and olive oil, which has become my go-to pizza. We have also enjoyed just ordering red pies with favorite toppings (pepperoni, onion, garlic…but it needs the garlic). The Italian Bomb (loaded with three types of meat) is supposedly popular, but I just can’t bring myself to order something that heavy. We have also had a bad experience once at Modern; it can happen anywhere. Our best experiences have been when we arrived near opening time.

The other pizza that gets a lot of press is the mashed potato pie at BAR (downtown). Wondering if anyone reading this thread has sampled it.


Well, we really tried to figure out a way to get pizza from any one of the above mentioned places but it was not in the cards on our trip up. The city was repaving Wooster Street and it was closed to traffic. We saw Sally’s which had a line longer than we cared to stand on. We amazingly found a parking spot and were able to walk up Wooster to what we thought was Frank Pepe’s ( I was a wee bit unsure given @digga 's post above) but it was closed - maybe because the street was closed? Anyway we decided to hit up the food trucks at the Long Wharf Pier and had a great torta and our favorite tacos de lengua. Maybe we can make pizza work on the way home.

@bebemoche - where did you transplant from and what style pizza were you used to having? The styles are so different around the country.

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If you want to try clam pie, the Zuppardi’s in West Haven is the place to go. Pepe’s imo lives on in hype. Had some friends recently come down from Boston and they were blown away by the apizza at Zuppardi’s.


@MsBean Sorry to hear that you didn’t manage to obtain a New Haven pizza. Best of luck next time. Your post reminded me that we still have not tried Sally’s. If we make it in the near future I will post my thoughts here.

We most recently lived in New York but are best described as global nomads. I’m not sure that during my time in New York I ever had more than a few slices of pizza. Pizza had not been a food that I had gone out of my way to eat since I was a college student.

However, everyone who visits New Haven wants to try the pizza, and so I was eventually roped into joining visitors. I’m so glad I did. I absolutely adore the thin crust and light char of the local pizza. Since the crust is so thin and my favorite toppings are so light, I now find myself consuming a LOT of pizza. :slightly_smiling_face:

(Archival photo not taken for HO purposes)


participated in a new haven pizza crawl with two other pizza obsessives and my wife. we’d all been to pepes and sally’s many times so tried some new (to me) places.

Might have been an off day but Bar was awful. zuppardi’s clam pie was fantastic, 2nd place was Next Door broccoli rabe, zupardi’s sausage and finally ernies native tomato. i’d happily eat any of those pies again,

photo below is Bar’s underdone, bench flour loaded crust, Next Door’s wonderful broc rabe pie and ernie’s native tomato pie.





Thank you so much @vinouspleasure! Now I need to get out and try some new pies!

our crawl was pre-pandemic, I hope the pizza is as good as it was. report back and let us know!

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Sorry to say that pizza did not work out on the way home either. What we missed in pizza we made up in Turkish food as we stopped in Paterson NJ to do some Middles Eastern grocery shopping (Fattal’s on Main St) and picked up dinner to bring home from one of our favorite places, Toro’s, also on Main St.

Unfortunately/fortunately I will be traveling to Boston fairly often this summer as my aunt is having some health issues. I’m hoping to get pizza eventually. Thanks for all the wonderful recommendations. I will keep them handy.


A NH clam pizza traditionally has no cheese on it.

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Late reply …… but, Frank pepe’s in Yonkers doesn’t hold a candle to New Haven. I live in Westchester.Sally’s in Stamford is as good as New Haven. If You want an everything pie (Italian bomb) Modern is still worth a special trip to New Haven. The big 3 (4,5,6) in New haven should definitely be experienced at some point. Sally’s and Pepe can obviously be tried at the same time. Modern is not really much further so can still be fit in one day. Have to give the guy from bar stool pizza kudos, his reviews are pretty damn accurate and his using plain cheese pie as his reference is fair. His fave of all is sally’s and his reviews are worth watching- once you add toppings it may change. As I said the italian bomb is great but only if you want lots of stuff on a pie, otherwise I’d choose either sally or pepe’s


personally, can’t stand the barstool guy and I’d trust your reviews before I’d trust his.

Pepe’s is just a marketing tool these days. I recall once going and seeing a line and waiting and once inside I saw there were empty tables and realized the line was totally manufactured for the sole reason of having a line to make it seem more popular than it was. Last time I went. The apizza is good but there’s better in the area without the charade.


After a second bad experience at Modern, we were inclined to head somewhere new. Perhaps I don’t need to confirm that the Zuppardi’s clam pie is indeed fantastic, but will post that here all the same. We especially appreciated that the thin crust was crisp all the way to the center of the pie.

Thank you to those of you who suggested it!