Frank Pepe – Heavenly Pizza in New Haven
During our bloggers lunch at Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana in Fairfield, CT (here is the link for the fascinating story of the Frank Pepe family and many interesting pizza facts), I learned that charcoal pizza ovens are not created all the same – they need to be seasoned. For the most of the cases, similar to the aging of the wine, oven seasoning is a very gradual process. It simply requires millions of the pizzas to be made over the years in the same oven, over and over again. Pizza oven in New Haven, where Frank Pepe started, is rightly known to be producing very best Frank Pepe pizzas, so during the spring school break, I was determined to go experience Frank Pepe pizza at the source.
I like to see a line at the entrance to the restaurant. Well, kind of. It might suck to stand in line – but when you see the line, it means that the place worth it.
I also can’t really complain about our wait – it took us less than 10 minutes to be seated on Friday at 1 PM during the school break. I was told that over the weekend, the line can extend for the half of the street, but it still worth it.
We got to our table, figured out what we want to eat, ordered the food. While we were waiting for the food to arrive, I took an opportunity to snap a few pictures of the pizza in the process of making. I could probably stand there for an hour, watching well orchestrated, visual symphony of pizzas been assembled, put into the oven, moved inside the oven and coming outside of the oven and being placed on the tray to be delivered to the table. Pictures don’t do the justice to this performance, next time I have to record a video…
We ordered three pizzas. The Original Tomato Pie with Mozzarella, The Original Pie with Bacon and Mushrooms and of course the #1, White Clam Pizza. In a word, incredible. Yes, all three. In the White Clam pizza, the balance of garlic and herbs with the sweetness of fresh clams was just something incredible. The Original Pie – just enough of everything, just perfectly enough. With its seeming simplicity, it is so easy to make even the regular cheese pizza absolutely inedible – too much cheese, too oily, strangely tasting tomatoes, soggy, chewy, tasteless crust – the list of potential pizza flaws is very long. When you taste the Frank Pepe pizza, you taste a perfection. The crust, perfectly charred, perfectly fresh, airy, and sweet and crispy – absolutely a “wow”. I would gladly come back to Frank Pepe pizza to just to eat enough of that crust. The original pie with bacon and mushrooms? Yes, you got it again – perfectly delicious. Smokey bacon, cooked to the perfect consistency – just a fiery of flavor. Ahh, and that crust…
I can tell you – I had a proof that this was absolutely the best pizza when I heard my kids raving about it talking to their friends – our kids are discerning eaters ( yes, you can call them spoiled like that, okay) – so if they are raving about the food, it worth something. And another testament to that – when the friend asked my daughter if that pizza was worth an hour ride in the car, the answer was – absolutely.
Yes, Frank Pepe pizzeria worth a trip – whether you live close enough, or visiting – I highly recommend you will add Frank Pepe Pizzeria (in New Haven, if you can!) to the list of “must experience” attractions. You can thank me later. And by the way – drop me a note – I will be happy to join you. Cheers!
Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana
157 Wooster Street
New Haven, CT 06511