Having written an entire book about pizza, I'm kind of embarrassed to admit that I've never been to Zuppardi's Apizza in West Haven, Connecticut. My brother Mike, who's been eating New Haven–style pizza for almost 50 years, has been telling me for years that Zuppardi's is a top-notch joint. So driving back from Providence with Alaina Browne, we had the perfect opportunity to finally visit.
On our cell phone from the LaCrosse we ordered a large sausage and mozzarella pie. Fifteen minutes later we found ourselves in a residential neighborhood looking at a white wood frame house with a Zuppardi's sign in red.
When I walked in the door, current co-owner Cheryl Pearce (she owns it with her sister Lori Sweeney—it's been a family business since 1934), was boxing and cutting our pie. Perfect timing! One look at what she was cutting and I knew that all was right in my pizza-loving world.
I practically ran outside with the box, placed it on the hood of the car, and picked up a slice.
179 Union Avenue, West Haven CT 06516; 203-934-1949
Pizza style: New Haven-style pizza
The thin-enough crust was crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. There was lots of tangy aged mozzarella that I had seen being grated when I arrived. The crust was really good, the cheese was also, but it was the house-made sausage that I was blown away by. With all those big fennel chunks, it was the kind of porky deliciousness that you'd pick off the pizza and eat straight up if no one was looking.
We weren't even hungry (we had after all eaten parts of a dozen sandwiches in Providence two hours before), but I still managed to have two or three slices. I could have eaten more, but I was mindful of the fact that I had to step on the scale for my diet post two days later.
So don't be a chump like me. Add Zuppardi's to your New Haven pizza itinerary. You won't regret it. I promise.
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