Attention pizza fans: Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana (Pepe's, for those in the know) is preparing to open their 8th restaurant, this time in West Hartford, CT. Pepe's, an institution in the pizza world, is third-generation owned and operated—the first location opened nearly 90 years ago in 1925, in New Haven, CT.
'Connecticut' on Serious Eats
The true "work" of a touring comedian isn't what's done on stage—it's what it takes to get there. And I don't mean that in the "How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice!" sense, either. I'm talking about plain old crappy travel. Spending nearly all of your waking hours in a car with another man for multiple days in a row will force you to develop methods of breaking the monotony together. And inevitably, around the three hour mark, things start to get weird.
Head to The Chelsea for their namesake burger featuring a cheddar-dipped patty topped with sweet-sour onions and chopped bacon.
Consistency issues aside, The Spotted Horse Tavern's burgers feature outstanding meat and buns with mostly good toppings.
This favorite local watering hole serves perfectly grilled, hand-pattied burgers and great hand-cut onion rings
People like to give Yalies grief about New Haven. They point to the crime and the poverty and those are, without a doubt, serious problems which affect the community. But when they act like New Haven has nothing more to its name than a couple good pizza joints, well, I feel the need to step in.
When I started as a freshman at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, I wasn't optimistic about the food options around town. But by the time I graduated last spring, I'd discovered that Middletown has way more to offer than meets the eye. From a Thanksgiving turkey sandwich that will rival your grandmother's turkey dinner to some of the best hash browns on the planet, check out my favorite spots around Wes.
I cut my teeth (and occasionally the roof of my mouth) on the thin, blistered pies of Southern Connecticut. Exploration eventually lead this enthusiast away from the Holy Trinity (Sally's, Pepe's, Modern), and in to the arms of smaller, off-the-beaten-path gems like Papa's. The times I've sat down to enjoy a pizza from Papa's, I've been rewarded with the flavors and textures of New Haven without the headache or attitude. If you're traveling up I-95 through Milford, take the detour.
On any given day come lunchtime, there's always a lengthy wait at Aux Delices, a tiny cafe nestled on the corner of Greenwich's main shopping street. The shop is run by Debra Ponzek, a chef and cookbook author who has received nods from Food & Wine and the James Beard Foundation. Her prepared specialty foods and freshly baked desserts do not disappoint. The extensive sandwich list may render you completely indecisive, but if you're into sandwich simplicity, go with the tomato mozzarella panini ($8.25).
As with any road trip, the all-important matter of lunch came up first. Even before we started discussing it, I was pretty sure where Ed was going to lead us. See, both he and Connecticut Slice correspondent Amy Kundrat have waxed poetic about what is supposedly the "best clam pizza on the planet" (according to Ed). As a kid who pretty much grew up eating clam pizzas in New Haven and beyond, this, I had to taste.
Starchy, sloppy, and utterly satisfying, poutine is classic Québécois drunk food so it makes perfect sense to indulge in the stuff the morning after when you're suffering from the dreaded gueule de bois. Chez Ben, an unassuming little diner in Manchester, Connecticut specializes in French Canadian fare including this hangover slaying Breakfast Poutine ($6.50/$8.50). It's a heaping pile of home fries, scrambled eggs, cheese curds, brown gravy, and your choice of bacon, ham, or sausage served with buttery wedges of toast. Depending on your feelings about A.M. pâté you can upgrade your plate with a side of Creton (a "cold Canadian meat spread" according to the menu) for an extra $2.15.
Al Forno's white, red and "famous" pizzas are thin, crispy New Haven-style pies, the result of a three-day fermentation. They are evenly crisp and a bit charred, thanks to the gas-powered brick oven, and finished with a heavy hand on ingredients, and a bit of grated cheese.
Yesterday marked the opening of the newest edition to the Batali-Bastianich empire. Tarry Lodge opened their first outpost in Port Chester, CT in 2008. We'll have a First Look for you next week when Slice correspondent Amy Kundrat checks out the new Westport location.
The wood-fired brick oven pizzas at Figs are anything but pizza. These bistro pies are built with thin, crispy crusts that largely forgo the mozzarella and tomato duo in favor of piles of intricate toppings; components that echo the American bistro dishes that make up the rest of this menu at this popular Sandy Hook, CT restaurant. If it weren't for the prominent custom-made brick oven and a steady flow of take-out pizza boxes, you might otherwise skip the pizza menu altogether, which would be a travesty.
From Sally's Apizza [Photograph: Adam Kuban] The New Haven Pizza Fest got underway last Thursday and Friday. While sadly two days are behind us, the good news is that the second half of the festival is this Thursday and Friday from 12-1:30 pm on the New Haven Green (map). If you can get there, why wouldn't you?! The festival is a fundraiser for The Connection Fund. They have had 483 pizzas donated from 28 area pizzerias, including their sponsors Modern Apizza, Abate, Tolli's, P&M, Born in America, and Marco Pizzeria. Slices are going for 3 bucks each or 2...
Slice is no stranger to Zuppardi's. This New Haven-style joint just over the border in West Haven has "The Best Clam Pizza" Ed Levine has ever had. But on a recent visit, I had another pie in my sights altogether.
Unapologetically cheesy, with a hefty crust and a side of homespun hospitality, the pizza at Nick's in Danbury, Connecticut feels both instantly familiar and timeless. The anchor to this family-run operation is a full menu of Italian American specialties, a couple of gas powered ovens and a tangy signature sauce.