Celebrate National Pizza Month in New Haven
October is officially National Pizza Month – or if you’re a local, National Apizza Month. In New Haven, we take our pizza very seriously. Step aside New York and Chicago, the Elm City rests its case as arguably the pizza capital of the U.S., known for its famous Neapolitan-style apizza. In honor of National Pizza Month, we’re here to give you the inside scoop on the storied New Haven pizza scene.
First things first. How did New Haven put its name on the map for some of the best pizza in the country? Here’s the back story. At the turn of the twentieth century, New Haven became a popular city for Italian families who immigrated to the United States from Amalfi. The earliest pizzerias in the city (and around the country) were largely established by immigrants from Naples, Sicily, and southern Italy, who brought their love for thin-crust Neapolitan-style pizza to our local communities. Over the years, this storied style of pizza morphed into the famous apizza as we know it today in New Haven.
Always Charred, Never Burned
So what makes New Haven’s apizza the best in the country? It’s no secret that pizza dough made in pizzeria kitchens throughout the City undergoes a longer fermentation process, which allows the dough to proof more slowly during overnight refrigeration. This strategy, along with allowing the dough to reach room temperature before baking, is the secret behind its nuanced flavor. The second reason is the intensely hot coal-fueled brick ovens where the pies are intentionally left longer, producing the signature charred crust we’ve all come to know and love.
The Apizza Holy Trinity
To celebrate National Pizza Month, look no further than New Haven’s trifecta of Italian-American pizzerias. Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, aka “Pepe’s,” was the first pizzeria to open on Wooster Street almost a hundred years ago in 1925, followed by Modern Apizza, aka “Modern,” on State Street in 1934 and Sally’s Apizza, aka “Sally’s,” also on Wooster Street in 1938.
Known for its white clam pizza, Pepe’s has dominated the pizza scene for decades, opening five different locations throughout Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts. In a similar fashion, Modern has also been churning out charred pizzas with its most famous pie being dubbed the ‘Italian Bomb.’ Over at Sally’s, the famous sauce and grated cheese pizza has lines forming around the block. Legend has it that Frank Sinatra was a big fan and would even order it all the way to New York when he was in town – enough said.
No matter which of the big three pizzerias you choose (who says you can’t try them all?), rest assured that New Haven’s famous Neapolitan-style apizza will certainly not disappoint.