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The School Newspaper of Harriton High School

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New Haven “Apizza”

What Makes New Haven Pizza Different?


When traversing the Eastern Seaboard, the biggest difference might not be found in the cities, the people, or the accents: it may be found in the pizza. Or, in New Haven, Connecticut’s case, the apizza (“ah-beetz”) as it has been dubbed.


New Haven’s rendition of pizza features a thin crust, much thinner than that of traditional New York pizza. Some even describe it as cracker-like. The crust is coal-fired to a tasty char (not burnt!). So for anyone who likes their marshmallows a little blackened, this pizza is for you. The sauce of apizza mirrors the traditional Neapolitan than New York style, consisting of little more than tomatoes. To complement the sauce, one can add toppings to their liking including mozzarella (“mootz”) which is only added upon request.


Frank Pepe’s vs. Modern vs. Sally’s 


In New Haven, the three hardest-hitting apizza establishments are Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, Modern Apizza, and Sally’s Apizza. 


Frank Pepe’s, the oldest of the three, opened on Wooster Street in 1925. Pepe’s first apizzas were tomato pies with grated pecorino romano. They tout this with a bright red fluorescent sign inside that reads “Original Tomato Pie”. In addition to their tomato pie, Frank Pepe’s is famous for inventing the white clam pizza which consists of fresh clam, garlic, oregano, grated pecorino romano, and olive oil. The interior of Frank Pepe’s showcases a monochromatic green theme, with all-green booths and a green ceiling. With old photographs lining the walls and an open view of the massive coal-fired oven, the century-old beauty of the classic pizza joint is on full display.  

Modern Apizza, the pride of 1934, is known for its signature pizza: the Italian Bomb. In contrast to Sally’s and Frank Pepe’s, Modern believes the more toppings the merrier. The Italian Bomb is topped with bacon, sausage, pepperoni, mushroom, onion, pepper, and garlic. Modern is also heavy-handed with its cheese, dousing every pie with mozzarella and grated pecorino romano. Despite all this, Modern’s pizza is still apizza due to the thin, charred, tasty crust. 

Sally’s, founded in 1938, is a bit more modest, delivering the feeling of a homey, neighborhood spot that dishes out pies of comforting warmth. Similar to Frank Pepe’s, Sally’s walls are filled with pictures – history and famous customers. One photo features Frank Sinatra, who loved Sally’s. Salvatore Consiglio’s (Sally) sons Bobby and Richard still work in the secluded kitchen, wheeling and dealing what some claim to be the best apizza in New Haven.

Is New Haven Pizza Superior?


With its storied history and countless proponents, New Haven has a respectable claim to the best pizza on the East Coast, and possibly the world. But, what do I think? 


I recently had the opportunity to try apizza for the first time. First, at Frank Pepe’s. I tried Pepe’s white clam pizza, a tomato slice with mozzarella, and a piece of pepperoni. Simply said, it was great. I enjoyed the crunchy crust, the uniqueness of the clam pie, and the greasy goodness of the pepperoni. However, it was a tad unfamiliar. I have had thin crust before, but I was not ready to give apizza the throne over what one might find in Philadelphia/New York or the classic Neapolitan.


Sally’s was next. I ate a slice of plain mozzarella, a plain mozzarella with sausage, and a white with broccoli. Sally’s impressed me. And, if anyone wants my input on Frank Pepe’s vs. Sally’s, I have to go with Sally’s. But, it could have just been a good day. Sally’s slices seemed more consistently cooked compared to Frank Pepe’s where some slices had char and some did not.


I realize I am a man of bias. My predisposed “favorite” pizza is the classic NYC/Neapolitan fusion that has been omnipresent throughout my life. I loved trying apizza, but unfortunately, one lovely apizza weekend can not change my mind. But, who am I to decide? Go! Take the time to try apizza, you will not regret it, and maybe, you will find your “world’s best pizza”.


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About the Contributor
Eli Kwait
Eli Kwait, Staff Writer
Eli is a junior excited to add food articles to the Banner’s features. His enjoyment of food, mostly eating as he is not a great cook, inspires him to try writing pieces about food in the school paper. Outside the Banner, Eli plays ice hockey and baseball for the school, participates in various service organizations and councils, and enjoys music. He can play both the piano and drums.

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    DianeMar 21, 2024 at 9:49 am

    Great, fun, informative article! 👍😊