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New Haven–Style Pizza: A Pie Worth Lining Up For
Move over, deep dish: New Haven, CT cooks up one of the country’s most distinctive—and delicious—pizza pies. Grab a slice of knowledge with this Groupon guide.
Every year, thousands of high-school seniors compete for the right to call New Haven, Connecticut, home. The crowds that line up every evening along Wooster Street, just a few blocks from the Yale campus, also crave admission. They’re queuing for tables at Sally’s Apizza, a septuagenarian pizzeria renowned nationwide. (GQ named Sally’s white pizza with potato the sixth-best pizza in the country in 2009.) Most will claim the wait was worth it to taste a real New Haven pie, known as apizza (pronounced “a-beets”).
Before it blossomed into a regional style, New Haven pizza was a specialty at the equally famed Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, located a few doors down on Wooster Street. It was there, in 1925, that the style’s defining features were established. First, the oblong crust, which is flatter than that of a New York–style pie that hasn’t been run over by a cab, and usually crisped in a coal-fired oven before being served atop a sheet of wax paper. Second, the sauce, which can be either tomato-based or “white” (a light brushing of olive oil and garlic).
Finally, there are the toppings. New Haven pies don’t necessarily include mozzarella: a “plain” pizza only has red sauce, with no trace of cheese. Instead, chefs opt for unique flavor combinations, such as the white clam pizza that’s a Frank Pepe specialty. Such flexibility might be one reason why New Haven–style pizza has spread so far beyond city limits. In the past 10 years, it’s taken root in such cities as Chicago (Piece Brewery & Pizzeria) and Clarendon, Virginia (Pete’s Apizza), spreading the apizza gospel nationwide.