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shogun
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Thanks for all of your suggestions. We will actually be staying the night on the way in Stratford (next to Fairfield) so we may have to try the Super Weenie.

I am flyrodding for stripers all week, so hopefully there will be a few of those to take back to the house and grill....

Again, thanks for the suggestions. I will be sure to report back.

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Thanks for all of your suggestions. We will actually be staying the night on the way in Stratford (next to Fairfield) so we may have to try the Super Weenie.
If you're going to be staying in Stratford, the one in Monroe might be closer. Super Duper Weenie Monroe listing on some site . On the other hand, superduperweenie.com doesn't mention it, so....not sure. Hopefully it's still there. Fairfield wouldn't be unreasonable, either, and I can only vouch for the original in terms of deliciousness, though I'm sure Monroe is good.
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If you are determined to try Pepe's, best go for lunch or mid-afternoon, or prepare for a loooong wait. Though the website says they close from 2-4 (or whatever), the day I was there they served straight through. According to the cabbie I had to the train station, he has to call in his order at 6PM Friday night to get his pie picked up by 8. If he waits until 7 to call, they run out.

The lady at the train station said that she liked Modern better, so I had my kid pick some up when he visited friends in Connecticut. We all liked it, but not as much.

Sally's remains unexplored territory for me, but I know at least one person on this board who has an opinion on it.

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Pepe's and Sally's are both much, much better if you eat there; the pies do not transport nearly as well as one would like, especially the white clam, which you must try (although most of my NH family gatherings include Sally's at home, and I'm not complaining). I have not tried Modern. Probably won't work for you, but we had no trouble getting seated right away at Pepe's a few Saturdays ago when we stopped in right before closing.

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Pepe's and Sally's are both much, much better if you eat there; the pies do not transport nearly as well as one would like, especially the white clam, which you must try (although most of my NH family gatherings include Sally's at home, and I'm not complaining). I have not tried Modern. Probably won't work for you, but we had no trouble getting seated right away at Pepe's a few Saturdays ago when we stopped in right before closing.
I respectfully disagree. I ate half a Pepe's pie in its natural habitat and brought a pie-and-a-half home on the train. After re-warming in a hot oven on a pizza stone, the carryouts had lost a step but were still excellent.

'Course, there's probably not a pizza stone in Andelman's hotel room.

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So, turns out that New Haven is perfectly placed for a pizza lunch if you're travelling to the Great Northeast. Sitting there at the confluence of interstates 91 and 95 it is, despite being a bit of a hellhole, a crossroads and a lesson in the effects of the global econmy on America's manufacturing base. Bring your children to teach them about the importance of marketable job skills and singed crusts. Possibly, Yale and pizza are the only reason it hasn't become a ghost town. If you hit the pavement in DC about 5:30 AM with Massachusetts in mind and drive like hell through slack weekend traffic, you'll hit town about 10:30, a half hour before Modern Apizza opens up. If you leave at a more civilized 7 AM and deal with the various East Coast rush hours, you'll can hit Frank Pepe's just about the time the lunch crowd goes back to their looms. And, if your car breaks down on the New Jersey Turnpike or you decide to pop into SoHo to check out the cool shoes at Barker Black or detour through the Bronx to buy sausage on Arthur Avenue you might make town just as Sally's opens at 5PM.

Now, there's a certain circle jerk aspect to the whole "who has the best pizza" debate, but if you're even vaguely concerned with it, you kind of have to hit New Haven, which some consider Pizza Valhalla. Eating New Haven pizza also gives you license to pretentiously refer to it as "apizza" if you want, too. Plus, the city fathers saw fit to route the interstates so that a decent pizza is almost as close to where you're going anyway as that Roy Rogers back at the Molly Pitcher rest stop was. So, what the hell, right? Boston kind of sucks for food anyway, so you may as well pig out in on the banks of the Quinnipiac.

I haven't hit Sally's yet, since if I'm in New Haven at 5 o'clock things are going worse than they've gone the last few road trips, but I've become a bit of a fan of Frank Pepe's. It's pretty empty late lunch-time and the service is, shall we say, pleasantly relaxed with pizzas invariably delivered by some female who can only be described as a "chick" with a proper New Haven accent and probably tattoes in places I'm not privileged to see, and if they screw up your order she'll just give you free wine or something with a body language that says "I'm just not in the mood to deal with this, so don't make an issue of it, OK?" Pizzas are big, cheap, properly crisp and quite tasty, the room vaguely charming though small. The crust has a fine yeasty taste and good deal of browning and blacking, the toppings are modestly abundent without overwhelming the thin crust. "Tomato pies" are available with and without sauce, with the clam white pizza being a tasty classic (though I prefer the red sauce). Anyone who's been to Comet will notice the family resemblance and for all the cranks who complained that Comet did not offer a paper menu I'll point out that Pepe's became a legend without bothering to hand out menus (though I believe that they are theoretically available). All in all a fine place to bite a pie. This pizza also makes an excellent breakfast, as well, if left in the back of the car overnight.

(A New Haven cabbie told me that he has to call ahead two hours to get a carryout pizza in the evening, so a prime time hit may not be ideal.)

I was a little let down down by Modern. I thought the sauce was a little bland and runny; in combination with a heavy-handed cheese dosage, it tended to sog down the center of the pie. The crust was a little bland, as well, though perfectly cooked. Mrs. B quite liked her "Clams Casino" pizza and so did I. I thought the over-cheesing (to my taste) interfered with the breakfast potential, as well, though it was still better than the free breakfast bar in the hotel. If jumbo slices light your fire, but you find them a little prole-ish, the refined version sold here might rub you in just the right spot. The dining room was apparently refurbished to reflect the knotty-pine strip mall sensibilities of the mid-seventies, which is fine for a pizza place but makes you wonder what tattered depression-era charm might have been paneled over during the reno. Service was lovely, the wine less so.

From Modern Apizza

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The carryout pizza from Pepe's comes from The Spot next door which is the original Pepe's but some, including myself, swear that it's not quite as good. Sally's has the most personality of any of the pizzarias-it is the place that "Frank" would most likely have visited if in town. Modern is outstanding but it does not have a coal oven and usually considered behind Pepe's and Sally's (or Sally's and Pepe's).

My thoughts about Comet in relation to Wooster street are well known.

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The carryout pizza from Pepe's comes from The Spot next door which is the original Pepe's but some, including myself, swear that it's not quite as good. Sally's has the most personality of any of the pizzarias-it is the place that "Frank" would most likely have visited if in town. Modern is outstanding but it does not have a coal oven and usually considered behind Pepe's and Sally's (or Sally's and Pepe's).

My thoughts about Comet in relation to Wooster street are well known.

Apparently Pepe's is considering expansion

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I haven't been to Fairfield but I've been annually going to Pepe's and Sally's on Wooster street for over 25 years. I would suggest that Pizzaria Regina in Boston would serve as a role model to Pepe's expansion: only the original would carry the reputation unless they are able to open coal ovens everywhere(which is highly doubtful although I realize that Fairfield has one) and hire and train outstanding bakers who prove to be faithfully consistent. I also question whether there isn't some "aging" to the oven that the pizza crust bakes on similar to a cast iron skillet. Regardless, hearing that Pepe's wants to expand like this I believe there will be no hesitation in which pizzaria I visit on my next trip to New Haven: Sally's. There is a "personality" to Sally's and to the original Pepe's that no attempted clone could ever replicate. Especially Sally's.

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Finally made my first trip to Pepe's on the way back from visiting friends and family up North. After a 30 minute wait we settled into our booth and ordered 2 pies, the white clam and a mushroom and onion with mozz. The clam pizza was good (lots of canned clams and lots of garlic), and surprisingly better when reheated for a snack the next day. Both pies suffered from very soggy centers and excess OO poured on top. That said they were very tasty and the outer edges had a great crust. I figured that the super-hot coal fired ovens would produce a much more evenly crisped crust, must have been the toppings.

Overall I am glad that I stopped, and will do so again if I have the time, but see that we are lucky with the places that we have locally in DC.

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The clam pizza was good (lots of canned clams and lots of garlic), and surprisingly better when reheated for a snack the next day. Both pies suffered from very soggy centers and excess OO poured on top. That said they were very tasty and the outer edges had a great crust. I figured that the super-hot coal fired ovens would produce a much more evenly crisped crust, must have been the toppings.

Unless something has changed, Pepe's uses fresh clams and, I believe, stops serving the clam pie when they run out of fresh clams.

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A couple of years ago we were in New Haven looking on a college visit for the boy. (No not Yale.) As I remember, we found some great pizza while we were there. However, the most intersting meal we had was at a small place behind (and down the alley) from Zinc. I don't remember the name, but they only served small plates, had a decent but not outstanding list of wines by the glass, but was a lot of fun. We haven't been back since the kid decided to go to school somewhere else, but I do remember the pizza.

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Unless something has changed, Pepe's uses fresh clams and, I believe, stops serving the clam pie when they run out of fresh clams.

Could be, but they sure looked canned to me and some bites were a bit gritty. That said, it was a fine tasting pie.

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My wife and I will be in New Haven for a weekend in the near future. We'd love to hit at least one of the above-mentioned pizza joints. Is it nearly impossible to get a table on a Friday or Saturday night at Sally's or Pepe's? Are there any other dining options in case we get our fill of pizza? We'd be willing to drive a bit, I suppose.

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My wife and I will be in New Haven for a weekend in the near future. We'd love to hit at least one of the above-mentioned pizza joints. Is it nearly impossible to get a table on a Friday or Saturday night at Sally's or Pepe's? Are there any other dining options in case we get our fill of pizza? We'd be willing to drive a bit, I suppose.

I had a cabbie tell me that he orders his Pepe's Pizza buy 6PM Fridays so it will be ready by 8, and that the line is out the door. You might consider an early meal to beat the rush -- Pepe's is open all afternoon, I believe -- and then you'd have the night to do whatever it is they do in lovely downtown New Haven on a Saturday night.

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I had no trouble walking in on a weekend about a year ago, but it was on the early side. The pizza places are all really close to each other so you can just pick the one with the shortest line, which is why I went to Pepe's and not Sally's. Pepe's was great, but not as good as the top NYC places (Una Pizza & DiFara) but it was definitely worth trying. I keep meaning to take the train out there to go to Sally's. And to fly to Phoenix blah blah blah...

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We were given pizza from Bar today, which is what the local pizza snobs have been telling everyone at our conference is the best pizza in New Haven. If it truly is (I haven't been to Sally's or Pepe's, will probably go to one of them tonight), then DC has 6 better pizza places than anywhere in this pizza-snob filled town. Soggy center, dull (but perfectly cooked) crust, tasteless sauce, and subpar toppings. Other than that, though, it was great. :mellow:

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We were given pizza from Bar today, which is what the local pizza snobs have been telling everyone at our conference is the best pizza in New Haven. If it truly is (I haven't been to Sally's or Pepe's, will probably go to one of them tonight), then DC has 6 better pizza places than anywhere in this pizza-snob filled town. Soggy center, dull (but perfectly cooked) crust, tasteless sauce, and subpar toppings. Other than that, though, it was great. :mellow:

Never been to Bar, but DC doesn't have 6 spots better than Sally's or Pepe's. Next time, try them.

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Never been to Bar, but DC doesn't have 6 spots better than Sally's or Pepe's. Next time, try them.

I am really glad I revisited this thread before I decided where to eat on my free night. A tomato pie with onions, sausage, and pepperoni was not only better than any pizza I have had in DC, but I am also having a hard time remembering a better pizza anywhere. Perfect crust, great sauce, and incredibly generous with the ingredients. A medium is huge, too, and a deal at $17 with all those toppings. I am stuffed, but still thinking how good the leftovers are going to be for breakfast tomorrow morning.

PS I feel like smacking the people who said that Bar was better than this place. To think I almost skipped this place after my disappointment at lunch.....

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I am really glad I revisited this thread before I decided where to eat on my free night. A tomato pie with onions, sausage, and pepperoni was not only better than any pizza I have had in DC, but I am also having a hard time remembering a better pizza anywhere. Perfect crust, great sauce, and incredibly generous with the ingredients. A medium is huge, too, and a deal at $17 with all those toppings. I am stuffed, but still thinking how good the leftovers are going to be for breakfast tomorrow morning.

PS I feel like smacking the people who said that Bar was better than this place. To think I almost skipped this place after my disappointment at lunch.....

So, where was it?

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So, where was it?

Many people who live in New Haven refuse to stand in line at Sally's or Pepe's or even Modern. The result is a feeling that a second or third rate pizza joint is acceptible or even first rate-when in fact, it is not.

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So, where was it?
Many people who live in New Haven refuse to stand in line at Sally's or Pepe's or even Modern. The result is a feeling that a second or third rate pizza joint is acceptible or even first rate-when in fact, it is not.

That still doesn't tell me where DPop ate. 'less I'm going blind even fater than my optometrist says, DPop was so blissed out by the experience :mellow: that he (she?) forgot to tell us the location.

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That still doesn't tell me where DPop ate. 'less I'm going blind even fater than my optometrist says, DPop was so blissed out by the experience :mellow: that he (she?) forgot to tell us the location.

I think this is exactly what happened, because I can't believe I forgot to mention that Pepe's delivered my best pizza experience ever last night.

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I think this is exactly what happened, because I can't believe I forgot to mention that Pepe's delivered my best pizza experience ever last night.
Phew! That means you still have something to look forward to.* Where are all the other Sally freaks?

*Pace, Waitman, but there's also the real thing in Naples, too.

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Closed down Sally's last night; had the good luck to show up after the rush (we overheard one woman declaiming about her two hour wait as she was leaving) , there were only three parties enjoying a spring night on Wooster Street ahead of us. The decore is clasic pizz joint, save the press clippings and poster featuring Zonker Harris celebrating Sally's 50th (1988) and signed by former Yalie Gary Trudeau. Sally has shuffled off the mortal coil, a lady that appeared to be Mrs. Sally was much in evidence and the staff were pretty clearly all family, including the somewhat artfully abrasive waiter, a 30-something gentleman who flung the menus on the table and signalled that our order would be taken in a moment by rapping on the table and announcing "you're next" as he passed by.

The pizza? I wasn't blown away. The crust, was thin and properly burnt, but lacked character. The sauce was a little too laid back, as was the buffalo mozzarella; the pepperonis were shaved too thin for my liking and distributed with a light hand. A fine pie, mind you, but not one I'd go out of my way for. Of the big three, I think I'm going to have to go with Pepe's.

Sadly, the boy has declared that he will never again live in New England, and so the chances of my stopping by to sample the "second tier" New Haven spots in search of an undiscovered gem seem limited, alas.

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The pizza? I wasn't blown away. The crust, was thin and properly burnt, but lacked character. The sauce was a little too laid back, as was the buffalo mozzarella; the pepperonis were shaved too thin for my liking and distributed with a light hand. A fine pie, mind you, but not one I'd go out of my way for. Of the big three, I think I'm going to have to go with Pepe's.
Never got a chance to try the pie at Pepe's. Only knew Sally's week after week, premortem. Ne'er a bufala's mozzarella in sight back in the day of char and generous fistfuls of pepperoni just thick enough to curl up in baloney-cup fashion. What can I say?

How about this?

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Stopped by Pepe's in Manchester for lunch yesterday. Had a small pie with sausage. It was good, perhaps very good, but not worth altering my travel plans in the future so I hit the area around lunch time. There was good char on the bottom but the edges were bordering on burnt. The middle was a little too soupy. The sausage was excellent but they put just a few really large pieces on so that not every slice had some. It could be expansion issues and if I happen to hit New Haven at meal time, I'll try again. Otherwise, I'll just wait until I get to NY and go to any of the handful of places within 2 miles of my parents that have better pizza.

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We turned off of I-95 specifically to try some New Haven pizza and chose Frank Pepe's since the original location happened to be open at noon on a Sunday. When I saw on our navigator that we'd probably get there around 12:20, I told my wife we'd probably have to wait in line. She rolled her eyes. But when we rolled up, sure enough there were 20 people in line outside despite the constant threat of rain. Once we got inside (about a 20 minute wait), I was shocked at how organized and relatively clean the place was for being open (at that location) since 1940. Looking at the taps behind the bar, I couldn't help but chuckle when I saw Genessee on tap for the first time in my life (by the way, it does go great with the pizza). We decided to order 2 medium pizzas: clams with red sauce & mozzarella and a sausage & pepperoni. When they arrived, we were first struck by how large the mediums were. Two people just making a stop during a long journey should probably get two smalls. Both pizzas were well-charred around the edges, which made me remember the piles of uneaten crusts on tables that we walked by when entered. Were people turned off by the char (interpreted as "burnt") or did they want to focus the center's goodness? I had to find out for myself. I started with the clam pizza, which had a real randomness in toppings coverage, though each slice packs a pungent taste of garlic. My wife made the comment, "I never thought I would ever wish a dish to have less garlic--until now." It stepped close to the border for me but didn't cross it. The clams themselves were chewy and they're flavor didn't assert freshness, so I can understand why mdt might think they're canned. Honestly, every clam I've ever had in my life was chewy and bland until I had great steamers earlier this week in Massachussetts. I'm not sure if you can avoid overcooking clams in such a hot coal-fired oven, but it did detract from the pizza. The crust, though, was actually quite wonderful. Though chewy, it had a sweetness and saltiness that went well with the char. I ate my crusts. As for the sausage and pepperoni pizza, we ended up enjoying it more. The sweet Italian sausage and pepperoni were cut thick and liberally applied around the pie. I personally like thinner pepperoni and spicier sausage but we enjoyed this anyway. Overal, we were glad we stopped--and will stop again--because it's overall a great pizza, but it's not the best pizza we've ever had. We did really liked the crust and always enjoy a coal-fired oven preparation.

By the way, it appears that there's another place worth a stop beyond pizza while in New Haven. While folks were waiting for Pepe's, several people curbed their hunger pangs by walking a block to Libby's Italian Pasty Shop. We stopped there after pizza and loaded up on cookies and my wife got a great Italian ice. I haven't had cookies this good since my friend's Italian wedding in Pittsburgh earlier this year (by the way, the homemade cookies at a Western Pennsylvania Italian--and some other ethnic groups--wedding is a SHOW! We're talking trays after trays of homemade cookies plus to-go boxes for the guests to take an assortment home. My buddy's wedding had over 40 large trays of homemade cookies. I have pictures I think). The Italian Ice put Rita's to shame. Pastries at Libby's I'm a little suspect about though. People in the Pepe's line were raving, but we saw that the cannolis were pre-filled, and that's never a good thing. If you're going to Pepe's, I'd get some cookies while you're waiting in line. My favorites were clearly the pignoli (with amaretto) and the figs.

Pax,

Brian

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Our experience was a lot like laniloa's above. The Manchester location was nice and easy to find, popular, and the service was very good. But the flavor must have been lacking the day we went in August. I looked around the room and every table was vigorously shaking their containers of extras like cheese, oregano, pepper flakes, etc. We had the clam pizza with tomato sauce and garlic (by the way, the small one is big enough for two!), and while the tomato sauce was sweet and flavorful, we shook our heads ruefully and said to ourselves that it was no match for the tomato sauce at Comet or any number of other pizza places we've been to in DC, even in Louisiana. Truly no accounting for taste! The clams were freshly shucked and quite good. No problem there!

Too bad we couldn't swing by New Haven to compare with the original.

I am not a pizza professional but I approve this message.

--MC Horoscope

PS We got a piece of sausage by mistake on our pizza and it had the most flavor! Go figure! Also, our toppings were not distributed very evenly on the pizza. All the garlic was on a single slice, if you can believe it.

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Pepe's is running a fresh roasted red pepper pizza special, which is divine. Their veggie pizza is overloaded and imbalanced, however. Also had my first disappointing clams and garlic experience - still very good, but nowhere near as good as in past visits and, for the first time in my experience, less exciting than my tomato-sauced pie selection.

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Planning a gorge-a-thon of CT food, mainly centered around New Haven-ish, sometime soon. Looking to try obviously the various apizzas, superweenie, the fabled steamed cheeseburgers and I think I read about a clam palace or somesuch. Anything else I should try to hit? Any suggestions to where to walk off some of the excess so as to make room for more food (short of renting a few extra stomachs!)? Thoughts on stuff for breakfasts? Or desserts/baked goods? Not really looking to go high end this trip, but willing to look at pretty much anything else. TIA.

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Planning a gorge-a-thon of CT food, mainly centered around New Haven-ish, sometime soon. Looking to try obviously the various apizzas, superweenie, the fabled steamed cheeseburgers and I think I read about a clam palace or somesuch. Anything else I should try to hit? Any suggestions to where to walk off some of the excess so as to make room for more food (short of renting a few extra stomachs!)? Thoughts on stuff for breakfasts? Or desserts/baked goods? Not really looking to go high end this trip, but willing to look at pretty much anything else. TIA.

Here is a pretty thorough review of Conn. pizza joints from Serious Eats.

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I'm sure, somewhere in the web, there is notification that Sally's Apizza is "on vacation" starting on Sept 6th and returning on the 28th. Also, because it was my first visit, I didn't see the subtle signs of closure (e.g., chained parking lot, little sign in the window, etc.). So, the consolation prize was a visit down the block to Frank Pepe's place. I was focused on Sally's because I'd eaten at the Yonkers Pepe earlier this trip.

In New Haven, had the famed White Clam pizza. I know it's on many pizza fans "bucket list" and I enjoyed the briny clams, garlic and cracked black pepper. Will have to try for Sally's again on another trip.

post-226-010321000 1284126043_thumb.jpg post-226-090285100 1284126060_thumb.jpg

Pepe's Yonkers location is larger inside that the "original" and has the same green ceiling and white "picket fence" booths labeled with house numbers I had the Mozz, Sausage and roasted red peppers. Very crispy crust and good flavor. Easy parking and no drama. I was happy to see that a suburban clientele was fine with the char...

post-226-034434500 1284126465_thumb.jpg

[Happy this is my 500th post]

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I'm sure, somewhere in the web, there is notification that Sally's Apizza is "on vacation" starting on Sept 6th and returning on the 28th. Also, because it was my first visit, I didn't see the subtle signs of closure (e.g., chained parking lot, little sign in the window, etc.). So, the consolation prize was a visit down the block to Frank Pepe's place. I was focused on Sally's because I'd eaten at the Yonkers Pepe earlier this trip.

In New Haven, had the famed White Clam pizza. I know it's on many pizza fans "bucket list" and I enjoyed the briny clams, garlic and cracked black pepper. Will have to try for Sally's again on another trip.

post-226-010321000 1284126043_thumb.jpg post-226-090285100 1284126060_thumb.jpg

Pepe's Yonkers location is larger inside that the "original" and has the same green ceiling and white "picket fence" booths labeled with house numbers I had the Mozz, Sausage and roasted red peppers. Very crispy crust and good flavor. Easy parking and no drama. I was happy to see that a suburban clientele was fine with the char...

post-226-034434500 1284126465_thumb.jpg

[Happy this is my 500th post]

Ha! I was just up there this past weekend Also upset Sally's was closed. I found Frank Pepe's too heavy handed in the sauce, but the crust was very, very, good, if a bit too thick on the outer rim for my tastes. I give the nod to Modern, considering the whole package.

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