Sunday, July 16, 2006

Pepe's Pizza: Old Reliable

We just got back from Frank Pepe's Pizzeria Napolentana in New Haven, Connecticut.

Charlene, Kamalei and I had made an appointment to meet college friends David and Judy who had driven down from Shaftsbury, Vermont. As an added bonus Pencil and his wife headed down from Granby, Massachussetts. What a grand reunion!

Since my friends had not experienced Pepe's before, I prepared them for a 1-2 hour wait.

Charlene remarked as we parked the car, that she noticed the line. However, as we got closer to Pepe's, the line had evaporated. We were able to walk right in, with no waiting. Our friends had reserved a table for us in the back.

I was in shock. This was the first time in all of my visits to Pepe's that there was no line. No waiting. No kidding!

(Here is the Pepe's page:'s.htm)

I found my friend Gary Bimonte, grandson of founder Frank Pepe as soon as we walked in. Gary was as gracious as ever, and gave us a warm welcome.

I had just seen the History Channel show, called America Eats: Pizza.
I had featured the show in a recent edition of Pizza News.
(See #4:

I told him I was surprised to find out, according to the show, Frank Pepe was allergic to cheese and tomatoes.

Gary stated he was surprised as well. "That is absolutely not true, Albert" Gary explained. "I don't know where they got their information, but my grandfather was not allergic to tomatoes and cheese."

All I can say is you read it here first!

The pizzas were as usual, fantastic! We started with a Clam Pizza. (Pictured above). This is Pepe's signature dish. Gary tells the story of the Birth of the Clam Pie in the Legends of Pizza CD Volume 1.

The pizza was dripping with fresh clams. The taste was garlicy but not at all spicy. As a matter of fact, I tried to take a picture of a whole clam pizza, but before I could snap the picture, several pieces were missing!

We also ordered a pepperoni and bacon pizza. These toppings also compliment the Pepe's crust as well. The crust at Pepe's is just fantastic.

There was a need to order a vegetarian pizza as some members in our party want to enjoy a healthy life style. We settled for a pepper and onion pizza. I refuse to mention any names.

I also ordered a large pepperoni pizza to go. There were members of the family who had asked us to return home with a take-out pizza from Pepe's.

As usual, Pepe's did not disappoint any of us. Pencil kept saying he could not believe how good the crust was! We were all satisfied as we left. I again thanked Gary for being gracious, as usual.

I think it is almost mandatory, that after having a Pepe's pizza, you need to go next door to Libby's for an Italian ice. We continued the tradition.

I let out my belt a notch and smiled. "Ah, I thought: pizza on earth..."

Albert Grande

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