In 1909, Frank Pepe immigrated to the United States from his native town of Maiori, Italy. He was poor, illiterate, and just 16 years old—but he had a strong work ethic. After a stint in a New Haven factory and service as an Italian solider in World War I, he settled down for good in New Haven with his wife, Filomena, and started a bakery delivery service. But because he couldn’t read, he had trouble deciphering the orders. So he started having his customers come to him, and in 1925, he and Filomena added a simple item to the menu: Neapolitan-style pizzas.
To this day, the staff still heats up coal-fired ovens to bake the original tomato pies that Frank and Filomena first made famous. They can also add toppings such as bacon, Italian-imported anchovies, and house-roasted red peppers to their pizzas, or create specialty pies such as their signature white clam with olive oil, fresh garlic, and oregano. Diners can pair their pies with Pepe’s salad, tossed in balsamic vinaigrette, or have the server tap draft brews such as Sam Adams Boston Lager and Peroni. They’ve served Foxon Park soda since 1925, so diners can request bottles of cream soda or diet white-birch beer made from only the sveltest birch trees.
At Brick Oven Pizza, the wood that heats the giant traditional oven imparts an unmistakable smoky flavor to every one of the pies. Customers keep coming back for specialty and custom-built pizzas topped with premium ingredients such as shrimp, fresh garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes. Crispy golden calzones are also available, as well as grinders and meatball-parmigiana subs.
Primo Pizza smothers hunger with thick-crust, Italian-style pizza pies handmade from fresh ingredients. Cooks roll out dough on site daily, setting the stage for a large 16-inch pie, upon which a special blend of spices and whole peeled tomatoes play a savory sauce enveloped in a romance with creamy, fresh-cut, whole-milk mozzarella. Choose up to five toppings from Primo Pizza’s 30 options, which include old standards, such as sausage, pepperoni, and mushrooms, and new specialties, such as steak, calabresa, corn, clams, and anti-cheese. This Groupon is good for dine-in, carry-out, or teleported orders only.
Passed from Andy Saldamarco to Tom DeLuca, Saldamarco?s Deli has been a fixture in the community for 39 years, and DeLuca carries on Andy's recipes as he serves up many of the same sandwiches and hot foods such as eggplant parm, chicken parm, meatballs, and sausage and peppers that have kept it a local staple. Saldamarco's was also voted #1 best Italian Deli in the 2013 Best of Shoreline Readers' Poll, #2 for best soups, and #3 for best salads. Freshness is a priority, as all salads are made fresh including tuna salad with Hellman's Mayo and the Deli grinds their own beef with no additives. Housemade roast beef adds tasty weight to soft sub rolls, and freshly cut steaks and pork roasts line the butcher's case alongside strands of housemade italian sausage that are great for grilling in the summer or exercising when a jump rope is unavailable.
In the kitchen of Nuzzo's Apizza, third-generation pizza maker Barry Nuzzo and his team of cooks prepare thin-crust New Haven-style pizzas and Sicilian-style pies layered with ricotta cheese. Patrons can choose from toppings such as bacon, clams, or red peppers roasted on-site, or opt for a specialty pie: the Eggplant Rollatine, for example, which combines eggplant, marinara, ham, ricotta, and Parmesan. The cooks also make gluten-free pizzas, pasta dishes, and submarine sandwiches.