Hi everyone! I wanted to get in one last post for 2014 about my first time ever at Frank Pepe's Pizza. Yes, that, Pepe's pizza. The one that is on every "Best Pizza" list ever penned. Nationally renowned, Pepe's has been serving the Connecticut population and beyond since 1925. What took me so long to get here, you ask? I'm kind of scared to admit this but here goes: I don't really like pizza.
Here's the thing, I don't like ooey-gooey, drippy, uber melty pizza. I'm going to blame this on texture; I cannot stand strands of melted cheese that dangle off the edge of a fresh cut slice. For this same reason I also detest mozzarella sticks and some forms of nachos. Pepe's traditional pizza is a "tomato pie", which is the main reason I agreed to this adventure. Now that that's out in the open maybe you can take the "Loser" sign off my back? Thanks.
After a long day at Mystic Seaport we (Steph, Jess and myself) decided we would stop about half way and attempt to get in to Pepe's. We struck out in New Haven, the line was easily a block long, so we moseyed on over to Fairfield. The line was significantly shorter but with darkness and cold air surrounding us it felt like longer than a thirty minute wait.
As a group of three we were, thankfully, catapulted to the front of the line. We had already decided on our orders so we placed everything at once: a small broccoli mushroom for myself, a large tomato pie to share, and the perpetual favorite white clam pizza for Steph and Jess.
I surveyed the surrounding pizzas and the majority of them were huge. Like can barely fit on a sheet pan and the edges are draping over big. Some parties had added cheese to theirs, others an array of toppings. No two pizzas were the same, it was a true exercise of probability.
Regardless of how good the pizza is, I was happy enough to see White Birch beer on the menu. When my sister and I were kids and dad went to pick up a pizza, he always came home with two slender bottles of Boylan's birch beer. Think of it as root beer's pretentious cousin. It's a rather uncommon beverage, at least here, but it's deliciously refreshing and pairs perfectly with pizza.
Forty minutes later our pizza arrived. It would have been out sooner but since there were two food based allergies at the table our server had them make us another tomato pizza, It seems the first one was not "clean cut" despite her notes to the staff. As one of the food based allergies I was grateful for her professionalism and consideration, servers everywhere take note.
Anyway, my broccoli mushroom pizza was just what I wanted out of a pizza. A firm yet chewy crust, slathered with what can only be described as "Nonna" grade tomato sauce and sprinkled with tender veggies. Most importantly, not a gooey shred of cheese to be seen.
Mine was good but the white clam pizza smelled and looked phenomenal. Times like this I really hate my allergy. Really, really hate it. This is what Pepe's is known for and all I can do is huff clams.
I was very close to throwing all caution to the wind but I didn't feel like making a hospital trip at the end of a terrific day. Any way you slice it (teehee), Pepe's is worth the drive but maybe not an additional seventy minute wait. Then again, I didn't have the clam pizza so what do I know? I think I'll take a page from the local's book and call in my order so it's ready upon my arrival an hour later.
Have a fantastic (and safe) New Year's Eve and see you in 2015! Don't forget to check out Facebook to see what I'm serving up at tonight's soiree. Until the next dish, ciao!