At the start of 2017, I started some fun research for Westchester Magazine. Fun because…PIZZA! The piece, titled “A ‘Haven’ for Pizza Lovers,” was a food/travel article that featured four (I would’ve included Da Legna in here if I was allowed) popular New Haven pizza places, and short write-ups on each, including the pies they’re all most known for. For me, it was a cool article to get asked to write because I’m from Connecticut and went to these places all my life, so to introduce it to a New York audience felt special.
Still, due to print magazine constraints, a lot of hunger pain-inducing photos got left out. So, why not post the outtakes here? Who the fuck wouldn’t want to see average to above average pizza pics?
With that said, enjoy the photos, with some extra blurbs and captions with my personal feelings.
Let’s start with my favorite of the bunch. I mentioned the Italian Bomb in the article, but for real, pizza geeks, Modern’s plain (light mozzarella, Pecorino Romano, chunky red sauce, olive oil, and oregano) is one of the best 2-3 pizzas I’ve had in my life. It’s simple, perfect for a pizza purist, and one you could not get sick of eating.
Shouts to my boy, James Gribbon who implored me to try “the plain.” Huge thank you to Bill Pustari for having me in and showing me how they operate in the kitchen. Turns out he knows my dad, so that’s cool.
Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana
In terms of nostalgia, this was my favorite overall visit. I had never been to the original location before, and usually opt for Fairfield cuz it’s closer. What’s even cooler is Frank Pepe’s grandson, Gary Bimonte came out to meet me, and gave me a guided tour complete with a Pepe’s history lesson.
People freak out for the white clam pie (and the addition of bacon is the right move) or the tomato, which I thought was their best, but that changed. Over the summer they do a fresh tomato pie using ripe, pulpy local tomatoes, garlic, basil, and mozzarella. Don’t sleep on their Margherita either, a fairly new menu item.
One of the first I reached out to was BAR. They have a strong social media presence and we were already Instagram buddies. General manager, Max Toth hit me back up and welcomed me in to tell me all about BAR and what makes them different.
I didn’t know much about BAR having only been there once before. It’s clubby in there after hours (which I knew), and they sling slices after night, unlike the other O.G. spots. It’s also got a strong craft beer presence and it even doubles as a brewery. What BAR is doing is paying tribute to the NH pizza of old and making it current with creative toppings, like their collaboration with the nearby cheese shop, Caseus, and churn out some funky, but delicious mash-ups. Speaking of mash…their mashed potato and bacon pizza is one of the greatest creations in New Haven’s history. Yes, greater than Yale.
Unfortunately for me, Sally’s was closed on BOTH of my eating days. They were in a transitional period then with the Consiglio Family wanting to sell the business; sometimes they wouldn’t be open when they should’ve been, stuff like that. They eventually did this past December. For this one I had to go off memory, which sucks, cuz I badly want Sally’s and I want it often. I was able to grab a pic of the storefront and I tapped Elizabeth Dorney, who went to Sally’s around the time when I needed pizza pics, for her photos.
It’s still the best damn tomato pie around and that potato/onion/mozz/parm/rosemary one is calling my name! See you soon, Sally’s.