Things We Hate »

Pepe’s Pizza in New Haven, CT: Overrated, Overhyped, and Overwhelmingly Awful
Posted by Jillian Madison

I was just looking at Alan Richman’s Top 25 Pizzas in the USA, and once again, Pepe’s Pizza in New Haven Connecticut made the list. This isn’t surprising, because it’s on many “Best Pizza” lists, and has even been featured on the Food Network several times.

What I’d like to know is… WHY? Why does this awful pizza place keep getting featured on TV and in magazines?  Pepe’s pizza sucks. Don’t you food critics have taste buds, or did they all disintegrate after Disgusting Pepe's Pizza New Haven CTyour last meal at The Lady & Sons? Are you buying into the “it’s on a lot of best pizza lists, so it must be good” hype? Or are you all just 3rd cousins twice removed from the Pepe family?

Here’s the thing: I live in Connecticut. I’ve waited in the lines. I’ve feasted on the various “world famous” pizza pies. And I’ve left disappointed, every time.  Sure the place is filled with history, and yes, they cook in a coal oven, but so what? The result is a tired, dated restaurant and pizzas that are so chewy you can hardly swallow them. The truth is, Pepe’s serves the worst pizza I have ever eaten in my life (and I’ve eaten some pretty bad pizza all over the world).

Unfortunately, the problems with this restaurant go far beyond their inedible crust:

1. You’re not allowed to set foot into the restaurant until there’s a table ready for you, yet the only waiting area is a 3×8 coat closet that reeks of body odor, ammonia, and vomit. You’re resigned to standing there, like a child being punished, until a rude waitress pops her head through the door and motions  for you.

2. The staff is rude and the “service” is poor. They act like they’re doing you a favor by taking your order. They huff and puff if you ask a simple question. And just a tip: don’t dare ask for a straw, unless you want to be looked at with the contempt of an axe murderer.

3. I’ll deal with standing around for hours, and I’m willing to endure rude service, IF the food is really good. However, PEPE’S PIZZA IS DISGUSTING. I can not emphasize that enough.  On our last trip there, we ordered a large cheese pizza. What we received was a dry, cheeseless, virtually tasteless pie. This is the norm at Pepe’s, not the exception. The dough is so chewy and hard that you can hardly swallow it. The crust, which is usually one of my favorite parts, is completely inedible. The cheese is exceptionally salty. The tomato sauce is bland. All you taste is soot from the coal oven and salt from the cheap cheese, and it’s simply awful.

Check out this video we shot at Pepe’s during our last visit and make up your own mind. Does THIS look like some of tthe world’s best pizza – or cardboard that was just flattened in a compressor at the dump? Look at it! IT DOESN’T EVEN BEND! And that’s not a good thing. It’s more dried up than Jerry Seinfeld’s career.

(Have you eaten at Pepe’s? What did you think? Who serves your favorite pizza? Personally, I can’t get enough of the slices at Ray’s in NYC. But frankly, even CAFE METRO has better pizza then Pepe’s.)

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    200 Responses

  1. Tatiana says:

    AMEN! I went to college in New Haven in the 70′s, and Pepe’s was crappy even then. With the large Italian-American population there, there is much better pizza to be found in just about any local dive.

    • Scott says:

      I triple the motion! I completely agree with both you
      guys and have been telling this to people for years!
      Modern Apizza in New Haven is probably the best
      Pizza I have ever eaten…dough is unsurpassed,
      sauce is AMAZING and the cheeses are so delicious
      this makes for one incredible experience.
      Pepe’s needs to be torn down once and for all.
      It truly is a place for morons to go and get fooled
      into thinking they are eating good stuff.

      • Bob says:

        Modern Apizza in new Haven is without a doubt
        the most amazing pie in the world.
        I have been all over and even eaten real Italian
        Apizza. Modern shines through as being the most
        well rounded delicious red pie ever. 10 thumbs
        up. the rest of you can wait in line at Pepe’s.
        GOod luck!


      • Wendy says:

        I agree with you regarding Modern. I love their pizza. I’m having Pepe’s today at work for the first time so I’ll see.

      • BOB says:

        I’m not partial to Modern. It’s at the end of my block. They are nicer people in general but, I am not a fan of their crust. It’s great pie but i still prefer pepe’s or Sally’s. They stop being rude to you at Pepe’s about the 50th visit lol but, hey everyone liked the soup nazi right?

      • Dee says:

        I have to laugh – the sauce recipe is EXACTLY the same. The sausage is EXACTLY the same. The mozz is EXACTLY the same. I love both pies equally. I’m thinking the trashers routinely order Domino’s and consider a Pizza Hut a true pizzaria experience…. Or is it Greek style that you prefer? Any way you slice it, there’s no excuse for trashing other’s tastes. Pepe’s and Modern are unequalled in my opinion. It’s MY taste. And I was raised better than to look down on y’all for not caring for it, but that goes both ways! Manners go a long way… :-)

    • BROSSI says:

      You all must be high…. Frank Pepe’s pizza is by far the tastiest/most traditional pizza joint there is.. As much as i cringed reading thru these comments, the only good thing that can come from this is that all of you UN-CULTURED, NAIVE, and IDIOTIC people bashing pepe’s wont take up space while i wait in line to feast on the worlds greatest.. have fun eating dominos ya jackass’!

    • Bart Biffleson says:

      Another agreement. And add Sally’s and Modern to the list. Rude nasty wait staff, and horrible, salty, overcooked pizza. I’m much more of a fan of Rossini’s in Cheshire CT and DD’s in Poughkeepsie.

    • Pizza Billy Boy says:

      I have read quite a few of these alleged “comments” and I conclude that this is a tit for tat being expressed and that most of the criticism is contrived against Pepe’s because they are successful.

      I hVe only eaten a few times in Pepe’s and the pizza is decent and not anything they way it has been described. I feel Sally’s is a better pizza then Pepe’s.

      Get off your butts and start being honest with your comments because it is so transparent what you are trying to do; feature one over the other for personal gain.

      If I have ever seen paid trolls then here they are in mass. Are they buying you off with pizza?

  2. Andy says:

    Thanks again for giving us the plain truth. Maybe Fee-Yetti could shed some light on where the best “pie” in the US can be found.

  3. DKM says:

    Holy crap! Pizza is one of my favourite foods, but there is NOTHING about that pizza that looks at all appetizing to me. The cheese (more like “cheez”) looks greasy, I hate scorch marks on my crust (always tastes likes ash to me), and the whole concoction looks more like someone drew a pizza on cardboard than actually cooked one.

    • Dee says:

      Heh, heh, heh and I thought it was the TASTE that mattered! Silly me… The cheese, in fact, is not greasy. What you see is the tomato sauce floating through the cheese. And as it cools it condenses some. The scorch marks are a brick oven pizzeria’s trademark. Eat around them if you don’t like it. Bring your comments after you’ve actually tried it, then tell us you do or don’t like it. No need to be nasty about it based on a picture.

    • Paulson says:

      I guess Domino’s is more your thing.

  4. Chris says:

    When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other. Just goes to show that the public will believe anything, so long as an alleged “gatekeeper” of information (in this case the Professional Restaurant Community) convinces them it is in their best interests to believe them.

  5. JaySticLe says:

    I personally think Pepe’s pays off the critics so that they get on their lists.

    Either that, or they’re treated differently because they’re critics.

  6. Kitty says:

    I don’t believe there is a Pepe’s out here in the Pacific Northwest and I certainly hope they don’t move one in. As for my favorite, PN’s not really known for pizza, but up in Canada, there’s a little joint called–er. Mountain Pizza? Rocky Mountain Pizza? It’s up in Whistler and very delicious. Big, fluffy, cream-colored crusts, no burnt spots. Huge toppings. Warm and good and perfectly sized.

    Anyone heard of Cici’s? They show commercials here all the time but the closest is on the East Coast. Their stuff doesn’t look particularly fantastic, but I’ve bought in to the commercials so I’d like one of those to come out. Just for try-sies. XD

  7. Ellen says:

    That pizza looks disgusting.

    I’ve been to Cici’s a few times in Texas. If it’s the same place you’re talking about, it’s the one with the $5 pizza, pasta, dessert buffet. You’re not missing much except the fact that you can gorge yourself on semi-okay pizza for only $5. It’s kind of flavorless, but a good, cheap dinner every once in a while.

  8. RaleighRob says:

    Somehow the mass population gets tagged on to whatever they hype says they should. Restaurants are no exception. Here in Raleigh, NC, lots of folks go on about a place called “Angus Barn” as being the best fine dining spot in town. I’ve been twice and wasn’t impressed. In fact I can easily think of two or three dozen places in the metro area I’d much much rather eat at. But for some reason, this place has a long-time reputation as being great…even though there are tons of lesser-known spots that are better.

    • Drew says:

      yeah, i hear that place is overhyped. there are alot of good places to eat in durham though that you don’t hear much about

  9. Byrdie says:

    We have Cici’s here in Houston. They’re ok for a fast, cheap meal. The best here is at Birra-Poretti’s. And unlike PePe’s, it actually LOOKS like pizza, too!

  10. Jenn says:

    Byrdie! You’re in Houston? Me Too! I agree, Cici’s is only ok, but you can’t beat Little Caesar’s Hot n Ready! Friggin only $5 for a large pepperoni. Fast, Hot, Cheap AND it tastes good! Pepe’s looks like something you’d find in a dumpster…

  11. Syd says:

    I’ll put the local stoner pizza joint up against that crap anytime. Ever noticed how good potheads are at making pizza? God bless ‘em.

  12. Clare says:

    You : Pepe’s Pizza :: My dad : Tacconelli’s in Philadelphia.

    Tacconelli’s pizza in Philadelphia has the same cult following as Pepe’s does. The place is so popular that you have to call a day before to reserve your dough because they always run out. The pizzas are thin and crispy, but the oven is oil-fired, and the toppings are nothing special. We’ve been there a number of times, and every time we ask ourselves, “Why is this place so good?”

  13. Lana says:

    “Hot n Ready, $5″ sounds like something fast, hot & cheap I can pick up on a corner in the bad side of town, if ya know what I mean. Always thought that’d be a funny T-shirt, tho. Make people look twice, I’ll bet. *guffaws*

    My favorite pie was at a place called Frankie Johnnie & Luigi Too in Mt. View, CA. The place seems to have hit n miss service – ours was always great, but I’ve heard horror stories too. Ya just never know. But the times I’ve been there, had awesome pizza and always a great time.

  14. Byrdie says:

    to Jenn: COOL!! Nice to know another foodie and FNH junkie is in H-town!

  15. manny says:

    that video is classic. its hard as a rock.

  16. Cuisineboy1975 says:

    Pronto pizzeria in NYC (48th St. between 5th and 6th Aves.) has some of the best pizza I’ve ever tasted. It’s an old school pizzeria (those who frequent NYC know what I’m talking about) that also serves Italian ices out of the small, white paper cups.

  17. Byrdie says:

    Looks like it may not taste as good as a rock, though.

  18. Kael says:

    I live in CT, as well, and I’ve had the same experiences living so close to New Haven. We heard all of this hype of this AMAZING pizza and everyone said we just HAD to have it. I’ve lived all over the US and I have experienced some of the best and worst pizzas you could imagine, everywhere from Chicago to Dallas to NYC and anywhere in between. Pepe’s is definitely one of the worst, rivaling only with fast-food pizzas and their overly-greasy, overly chewy doughs and way-too-sweet sauces and processed toppings.

    Pepe’s not only does not live up to the hype, but it discourages you from listening to the locals! But don’t worry, there are a lot of people who are well aware of the horrible pizza, rude staff and long wait times with little to show for it. And I should also mention the stomachaches that typically follow eating their low-end pizza and greasy cheese.

    To Jillian – If you’re ever near West Hartford and happen to find your way into Elmwood (this is the area I’ve settled into for the time being), there’s a place called Carmine’s that’s a bit tucked away in the corner of a run-down shopping plaza. I know I’m not selling it much with that, but their pizza is very, very good. It’s about as close to a slice of NYC pizza you can get around here and I LOVE it, especially just the plain cheese, though everyone else seems to love the pepperoni. From what I’ve heard, they make their own doughs and sauces everyday, and I’m not sure where they get their cheese from, but it’s always been delicious in my experiences.

    The one draw-back is the owner, Carmine. He is the biggest ass I’ve ever met, but if you can stand him, I promise it’s worth it for the pizza. Just don’t ever let him catch you sharing a dinner! He’ll not only charge you extra for it, but he’ll kick you out.

    Quite a sweetheart, huh?

    Sorry for sounding like a promo for that pizza place, but I want it to be known that CT isn’t only the home of one of the worst pizzas in the world! I promise we have lots of good ones, just don’t listen to the reviews that have clearly been paid for.

  19. Herbert says:

    Sounds like you’re just angry because your sister is way hotter than you.

  20. Jillian Madison says:

    Kael, thanks for the tip on Carmine’s. I’ll definitely try it next time I’m over at Westfarms!

  21. DrHarleyQuinn says:

    I’ve always heard that the best pizza is in Universal studios in Orlando Fl in the Jurassic Park section. I’ve never been, but according to everyone I ask, that is the general consensus.

  22. dan says:

    I live in Mass, and I went to Pepe’s Pizza, once. Man, I’m not exaggerating when I say it was the worst pizza I have ever tasted. These food critics are either crazy, or are being paid off.

    • dave says:

      i know what you mean. i just saw pepe’s featured on a show on the travel channel. if you are from out of state don’t believe the hype about pepe’s. there are much better places for pizza in CT and none of them are in new haven!

  23. Kitty says:

    Thanks for the tips on Cici’s. Just from the commercials I can tell it isn’t really the top of the top, but it does sound like it pays for itself in the end. It’s probably a great place for an impromptu birthday party–or college students, like me! XD

    I’m also a big fan of Papa Murphy’s garlic chicken. A relative of mine just tried their new olive-oil pizza and they raved. They has good stuffs. <3

  24. Vomit says:

    Just down the street from Lady & Sons is Vinnie Van Go-Go’s. Excellent pizza. A few blocks south from there, Mellow Mushroom. Best calzones evar.

  25. Mark says:

    Are you deleting all the comments that say you’re an idiot? Because, well, you’re an idiot. Pepe’s is amazing, and you are straight up wrong. My mouth watered looking at that and then I heard you insulting it. I can’t imagine what ‘great’ pizza is to you.

    • Nicole says:

      Amen! at least someone else here knows what they’re talking about.. anyone who bashes Pepe’s has obviously never been to Italy and experienced REAL pizza.

      • DocWIN0 says:

        i have been to Italy many times; the main reason i avoid “real” Italian Pizza, and yes Pepe’s does look like the “real’ deal. Pizza, as we know it, is an American thing…and the folks here prefer that (American) style. To this American “real” Italian Pizza does indeed suck.

        Nuff said… ‘real” or American. make your choice.

  26. thatsnotpizza! says:

    Mark, you are a TOOL that doesn’t get out much if you think that Pepe’s pizza is appetizing. It looks like the cardboard box a pizza is supposed to arrive in! I can’t stand pretentious a-hole joints that make you stand outside waiting….and for WHAT?! greasy charred cardboard!

  27. Keri says:

    Try finding good pizza in Utah! I’m from Upstate New York and moved to Utah last July and I’m still looking. We usually end up going to Pizza Hut or Little Caesars because we know what to expect and both are good but not as good as some of the pizza I’ve had at home. Of course New York City pizza is the best but even upstate we have good pizza places. We do have a Rocky Mountain Pizza near us, I’ll have to check them out.

  28. dame judi wench says:

    Keri, I feel you. I live in the midwest (originally from east coast) and there are no good pizza places out here. Zero. It is torture! Pizza Hut and Little Caesers do in a pinch, but I feel bad for the people out here who think that’s what pizza is!

    NYC Pizza all the way!

    And to all the people who think Pepes and Sallys have good pizza – you are crrazy. The pizza is friggin’ disgusting. The good reviews have to be paid for. I’ve eaten at both places, and they’re even worse than midwest pizza. Just awful.

  29. Amy says:

    I live in Nashville and there is a great little sports bar down the road called Sam’s. They have the absolute best pizza. The BBQ chiken pizza is AMAZING!

  30. Mark says:

    What IS pizza to you, sir? Certainly sounds like you’ve never had Pepe’s. The crispy/chewy combo is what makes it so good. I like how you attack me when you’ve clearly never been there. I went to school in New Haven and I’ve been to the big three a bunch of times: Modern, Pepe’s, and Sally’s. I liked Sally’s the best, actually, but Pepe’s is so close it doesn’t matter. They’re all good. Try it before you knock it, at least Jill did that, even if I think she’s an idiot. I wish it wasn’t three in the morning so I could go get some.

    • DocWIN0 says:

      Man, i laugh when representatives of the restaurants go on forums to practice damage-control. It just seems cheap…

      Pepe’s Pizza looks like the authentic product…thin-cardboard crust, spiced/crushed tomato and local cheese. Middle/Lower class Italian tourists would flock to it, and enjoy it…as a taste of home. Please don’t misrepresent it as an American style pizza, it doesn’t seem to be close.

  31. Tatiana says:

    I hate the pizza at Pepe’s and Sally’s , but I do like Modern’s. In NYC, I like the pizza at Italian Village, First Ave. @ 80th St. for slices. Jilian likes the pizza at Metro Cafe, I like their chicken quesadillas.

  32. Steffi says:

    As much as I love this site I have to argue on this one. I have such fond memories of Pepe’s and I distinclty remember it as being the best pizza I have ever had. My family has eaten there for decades. I cannot wait until I am able to travel back there again.

  33. Steffi says:

    I forgot to add that when we moved away from CT, our last night there we went to Pepe’s, and the staff was so wonderful. They gave us all t-shirts, let my sisters and I back to the kitchen to help, and gave us the recipe for their dough. I’m glad they did because we haven’t been in almost 15 years, and I still make pizza with that recipe once a week, and everyone who has eaten it tells me it is the best they’ve eater.

  34. Sara says:

    Well Steffi, clearly a lot has changed in FIFTEEN YEARS. The pizza’s not so wonderful anymore. Maybe it was something special 15 years ago, but now, it’s all tasteless dried out cardboard pizzas and salty, cheap, greasy cheese.

    The 2 times I went there the pizza was not chewy. It was ‘break your tooth` hard as a rock.

    Of course everyone is entitled to their opinion on what tastes good and what does not. It is simply my opinion that pepes is overrated and is not worth the hype. The restaurant is tired, old,, dated, and so run down. The staff has a huge attitude problem. And the pizza is in a word, gross.

  35. manny says:

    I have a good buddy in CT and we have tried pepes, its not good at all and I love east coast NY style pizza (which it is not). Its apizza, and not even the best tasting apizza at that. Its coaly, greasy, and hard. Nasty

  36. Daria says:

    I notice no pizzerias in NC made the list and that does not surprise me. I haven’t been able to find any good pizza here. People here generally order from places like Dominos and actually like it. I lived in NYC for a few years and I’ve had both good and bad pizza there. None of it compares to the pizza I had in Italy.

  37. Michael says:

    LOL! They got what they deserved.

  38. DKM says:

    If Mark is serving as a spokesperson FOR Pepe’s, I’ve just been given yet another reason to not eat there when I’m in Connecticut. I have no desire to sit in a restaurant frequented by people with an attitude like his. Having your own opinion is great, but not if you’re an ASS about having it.

  39. Genevieve says:

    Here in France, bad pizza places do not last long. Considering the large numbers of people who seem to think Pepe’s serve crappy pizza, I don’t think I would set foot in the place.
    I also wonder why the staff seem to have attitude problems at Pepe’s. Why would people tolerate that ?

  40. Michael says:

    HAHAHA DKM!! But Mark is TOTALLY right, though.

  41. Innecessary says:

    I don’t mean to sound like a snob, but you should say Pepe’s pizza is inedible. Unedible is not a word.

  42. Jillian Madison says:

    You’re right – fixed.

  43. Elizabeth says:

    I’ve lived in the Have for over three years and have yet to go to Pepe’s, mostly because Modern is closer and delicious enough for me. And while I like BAR, the magazine was spot-on in calling it the rudest pizzaeria in the country–whenever we go, we sit at the bar and order from the takeout window and give all of our tips to the slightly nicer bartenders, and I refuse to touch a mashed potato pizza.


    @Elizabeth – you’re a wise woman avoiding the mashed potato pizza at BAR. My friends made me try a slice a few years back, and it was vile. Stay strong! Resist peer pressure! (and yes, the staff is still really rude there!)

  45. Dani says:

    Hmm, I remember seeing an Alton Brown interview in which he talked about some of the not-so-good food places are typically only stated to have the best food because they’ve been around for a very long time and havn’t changed. People don’t like change, I guess. Perhaps it’s the case with Pepe’s?

  46. Michelle says:

    OMG! Finally! Someone with the nerve to put down Pepe’s! I’m a CT. Native and generations of my family claim it was the best. I had it and thought it was terrible!!! I don’t like blackened crust that is ‘inedible’ and chewy. You are right, it’s hype and good because ‘they’ all say it is. Best pizza: Willington Pizza in Willington, CT (near Storrs & UConn). We went there as students with Kara Wolters and Becca Lobo. Ingredients were fresh, crust a perfect middle ground of crispy and bready. Seafood scampi is fab as is redpotato with sourcream…..The California with artichoke hearts & gorganzola…and of course the normal toppings. A salad for two and a pitcher of Elm City (not sure that’s around anymore) was perfect for us married-living-off-campus students….

  47. Mike says:

    Woah, woah, WOAH!! You may not have had the best experience at Pepe’s, and their pizza is far from consistent (they have a lot of sub-par pies come out), and there are definitely better pizzas out there, but FOR REAL are you SERIOUSLY trying to tell people the Ray’s and Cafe Metro is pizza?!?!?! And better than Pepe’s?!?!?! Your criticism of the un-floppy and slightly burnt crust is way off – - it should certainly fold, but it should be pretty stiff horizontally (um it’s called CRUST, not bread). The slightly burnt bubbles of cheese is right – that half cooked crap in NYC is WRONG. If you want real pizza in NYC the ONLY place to go is DiFara’s – the man is a master. If you want better New Haven pizza – the answer is Modern, but nearly any ACTUAL pizza place in the New Haven (not talking domino’s or hole in the wall crap places) will beat the pants of 90% of the pizza dumps in NYC – that includes the crap-assiest if oft-touted Totonno’s on the UES and in Yonkers – absolutely INEDIBLE no matter how much they tell you “only god makes better pizza.”

    Reader’s Digest version: anything in new haven is better than anything in Manhattan – HANDS DOWN. If you think otherwise, you have no idea what pizza should be.

    • Alex says:

      plus, I haven’y seen one comment (disclaimer: I haven’t read them all) that mentions one of the pizza places in NYC that they are actually famous for….oh wait maybe someone down below got some right

  48. Amy says:

    “Reader’s Digest version: anything in new haven is better than anything in Manhattan – HANDS DOWN. If you think otherwise, you have no idea what pizza should be.”

    Just…read that back to yourself a couple times. Basing an absolute on such a subjective premise is terribly flawed logic. Go eat at every pizza place in New Haven and every place in Manhattan, and then preface that statement with “In my opinion…” and maybe you won’t come across as a close-minded moron.

  49. Mike says:

    Amy – You’re right – I do have an edit to make – - I forgot to put “WHEN IT COMES TO PIZZA, anything in new haven is better than anything in manhattan” etc., etc.

    I’ve tried so many ‘best pizza in the world’ places in Manhattan since moving here, and nothing even comes close to The Spot (the original), Modern, Pepe’s, Sallys, Grand, Palm Beach, Anthony’s, Tolli’s, DiPalma’s, or any of the other venerable, long-lasting pizza places in the area. Have you ever tried any of those places? Or are you gonna tell me that some random ‘house of pizza’ in whatever hick town in the midwest you’re from is ‘the greatest pizza ever’?

    Closed-minded – perhaps. At least I’m right.

  50. Jessica says:

    My husband, son and I moved to Groton, CT in Dec. of 2007 but we haven’t had the chance to eat pizza (or anything else for that matter) in New Haven. After reading Jillian’s review along with the other comments, we will not be planning a trip to Pepe’s. In my part of CT, there are PLENTY of pizza places to eat at and we have already found our favorite, Valentino’s in Ledyard Center. My fav white is Pizza Bianco and my fav red is the Meat Lover’s.

    On a different note… Anyone have recommendations for great Indian, Chinese, Sushi, Greek, Jamaican, or Mexican located in the areas from New Haven to RI and the shore to Hartford??? We are willing to drive an hour for excellent ethnic food. Or can anyone recommend a website that has this information?

  51. Andrea says:

    In Boise, Id I really like the Pie Hole or Casanovas (they have a Clam Bacon pizza that is awesome!).

  52. Nutmeg Nanny says:

    Sally’s pizza in New Haven is the way to go! I also love Wellington Pizza in Wellington. Their potato pizza is super tasty.

  53. George says:

    For everyone looking at the pictures and listening to the author I’d recommend you try it first. Pepe’s is phenomenal, the chewy crust? It’s a little chewy but in a good way, you taste the true pizza flavor. Anyone can throw dough sauce and cheese together without the pizza flavor (like Dominoes, Pizza Hut, Uno, etc.) but Pepe’s is nothing but pizza flavor. I sense some bitterness from the author and several respondents or at least a lack of taste. They sound like folks raised on Florida pizza… As far as the reply regarding Pronto, been there, done that, loved it but I wouldn’t put in in the same league as Pepe’s, it’s NY style. NH style is a bit different but both are great. For the respondent who says Sally’s is the way to go, yeah, it is great but that is splitting hairs. I recommend Pepe’s, Sally’s, Modern, Zuppardi’s and Mike’s of West Haven to get true pizza flavor. Otherwise, stick to Greek or Chicago style pizza…

  54. George says:

    Jessica, try Accupolco’s in Stratford or Pancho Gringos in Monroe.

    • Alison says:

      Panchos & Gringos is in Brookfield or Bethel. I think you’re thinking of Senior Panchos, which is in Monroe and is A LOT better then Panchos & Gringos.

  55. George says:

    Nutmeg Nanny, I’m not familiar with Wellington pizza but if you mean Willington pizza in Willington I couldn’t agree more. I haven’t been there since the late nineties but wow was it good, square slices and all sauce flavor. Nothing like NH pies including the fact that they slice the pie in square slices. So tasty. Potato pizza though? Why not hod out for used motor oil pie?

  56. Winnie says:

    TO the original poster. You need to understand that this was one of the first pizza places in U.S. Pizza has changed over the years. Pepe’s has not. They still serve the same product that made them famous. It may not be your favorite but it it has certainly stood the test of time. Pepe’s, Sally’s and Modern Pizza in New Haven are some of the best pizza’s in the world.

  57. CPOST says:

    Well, Ive eaten here and it was BLAH. RAYS IN NYC IS TERRIBLE!!!! If you want good pizza in NYC area best places to go are as follows: In Brooklyn, Grimaldis (Under the Bk Bridge and order the sausage and pepper pie with a manhattan special or Brooklyn lager) and L&B Spumoni Gardens (but make sure you get the square pie there). Staten Island, Denino’s pizza (Much better the Pepe’s garbage). In the bronx, Louie’s and Ernies (while your there make sure you get a deep fried ham calzone as well!!). Now all of those should be on the top list. Pizza is one of those things that is hard to choose the best pizzaria because when it comes to pizza some people like different things. Some like it thick some like it thin, cooked in a wood, coal or brick oven. Everyone has different tastes and this can be argued for years to come!

  58. Patrina says:

    THANK YOU. I’ve been born and raised in Hartford, CT and Pepe’s is definitely not what they hype it up to be. I’ve never been to the New Haven one, but one was built on in Manchester, CT, where my friends and I decided to go. I made the mistake of walking into the dining room rather than waiting outside of the glass door so that others can gawk at you while eating the charred asbestos. We were seated, or waitress was actually nice, and did her job in making the pizza out to be “so good.” We ordered a large cheese. Okay, the first flaw I noticed, is it supposed to be poorly cut, my slice was kind of trapezoid shaped. But looks are deceiving and this is some of the best pizza around, right, so I’ll try it. High blood pressure runs in my family, I did not need all of that salt that hit my tongue. I guess it’s a good diet pizza because after the 45 seconds of chewing you figure that you eventually have to swallow. Being that I hadn’t eaten much that day, I ate about 2 slices, only because I was paying, but I will not dine at Pepe’s again. In New Haven, I think it’ll be a good idea to go to York Street Pizza on York Street of course, their pizza is divine and cheaper, which is the only pizza place I go to in New Haven.

  59. Patrina says:

    Jessica, in Hartford there is a Jamaican restaurant named “Jahmskes” in the Bravo Plaza on Albany Avenue. There are lots of Jamaican restaurants on Albany ave, but this one is the most popular because they know what they’re doing, good for an anytime meal. If you want something light, go to Peppers Jamaican Bakery in the Copaco plaza in Bloomfield, another favorite of the locals. I am half Jamaican and it’s some of the food I grew up eating.

  60. Tim says:

    I went to Pepes about 2 years ago and thought it was awesome. We got a small white clam pizza and a small cheese and pepper pizza. Both of them were awesome. We also tried Modern pizza later that night and that was excellent too. Sorry you didnt like it.

  61. Di says:

    I have been to Pepe’s a few times and each time I went the pizza crust was burned/black. I asked the waitress why is this pizza burnt she said that is the Pepe trademark it is suppose to be burned, really, I don’t think so. Every person in the place who ordered a pizza in the Manchester Pepe’s the crust was burnt. An I think that they make a sloppy pizza if you order one with more than one item on the pizza it is like they threw it together. I also went to the Pepe’s in Manchester a few other times and I will never go there again. I haven’t had any rude waitresses in any of Pepe’s pizza places. As far as Modern on Wooster Street is another place for burnt crust and they have some rude I mean rude waiters. You wait forever for your pizza and then the waiter has the nerve to be rude when you ask where is the soda that you ordered. Modern used to be alright but I haven’t been there in quite a while.But I did recently hear from people that have gone there recently that they wouldn’t go there again. I was told the waitress was rude once she brought the pizza you never saw her again, and the pizzas changed it wasn’t as good as they use to be. I grew up in New Haven and my father use to bring home a pizza once in a while from Pepe’s
    and it was in the 40′s and the pizza was nothing like they are making at Pepe’s today.
    They have changed a lot, you didn’t have all these gourmet pizzas that you have today, you either had sausage or mushroom on your pizza
    not pineaple, chicken, clams, etc. I know that the times have changed but give me a break Pepe’s is not the number one pizza in CT. You had some good pizza places on Grand Avenue years ago run by the original old timers. I don’t know how many of them are still in business. I haven’t yet to find a good old fashion pizza place. The one closet to one is in my opinion Zuppardi’s in West Haven. I have seen them send out burnt crust pizzas but when I order I always tell them light baked no burnt crust, and the pizza does come out the way I want it. They also have made some changes also.
    I don’t think that there are too many family
    members making the pizza’s anymore. Now the two sisters are running the business and they have
    changed the menu, they now sell italian ice,
    frozen pizzas to go, cookies, etc. try their pizza if your in the area.

  62. G says:

    I just tried Pepe’s for the first time and I have to disagree with everyone saying how terrible the pizza is. I personally had a very pleasant experience with the service at the new Pepe’s at Mohegan Sun. As for the pizza, it is the perfect, crowning example of a New Haven style pizza (possibly because they invented it?). It seems that some people are mistaking a “bad pizza” for a good pizza that is a style they don’t like. This is simply a more Neapolitan style pizza, exactly like their name would suggest, “Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana”

  63. Erin says:

    Anyone who says Pepe’s pizza is good is either a family member, a paid reviewer, or lost their taste buds.

    If you like the taste of soot and salt, Pepe’s is the place for you!

  64. G's X says:

    Money makes the world go round people. I think that the pizza was phenomenal, but the behind the scenes dramas and broken souls who actually make the dough (literally and figuratively) are perhaps what some critics of Pepe’s are tasting. The love and obsession with the almighty dollar is evident, and supercedes all others. It all depends on what you value in life, I guess. John Lennon was right. I wonder what he would say about Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria Napoletana?

  65. todd says:

    Pepsi cola is disgusting, it’s crazy that some people like it because its the worst cola I’ve ever tasted. The people who constantly drink it or list it among the best cola’s are clearly subscribing to a herd mentality.

    This post is hilariously amusing. “Disgusting” pizza? do mean it causes you disgust? from the video, it looks like at least some of the pizza was eaten. Exaggeration is seldom very useful in food reporting.

    And I question whether you’ve really tasted some of the best pizza in the world, as you claim, if you count NY’s “Rays” as one of your favorites. This only demonstrates how idiosyncratic people’s tastes are. I would sooner not eat pizza than to eat at any incarnation of Famous Rays. We just have different tastes. I prefer Joes, Johns, Grimaldis, Patsy’s, yes, all the usual suspects (I guess you might say I must subscribe to the herd mentality). A lot of food writers prefer these places. You prefer Rays. Fair enough–but doesn’t this show you that your dislike of Pepe’s is just one person’s idiosynchratic opinion? Not really worth trying to present this as the unquestioned truth. good luck!

  66. Philip says:


    I will not waste too much of my time or breathe, but I felt the need to cite a plain and obvious fact:

    All of you are absolute morons.

    Pepe’s pizza is a stroke of genius and a gift from god. Everything you cited that make you think it stinks, is actually what makes it so perfect.

    I am so glad there actually are people out in the world who don’t like Pepe’s. Imagine what that waiting line would look like if there weren’t some morons like you guys out there.

    Lastly, you don’t deserve Pepe’s pizza, so I’m glad you don’t like it for that reason.

    Pepe’s LIVES. The second I can afford it, my goal in life is to open a Pepe’s pizza location in Manhattan.

    When I do that, and I become a multi-millionaire, I will happily refer back to this article to have another laugh at all you pathetic excuse for pizza lovers.

  67. trilambda says:

    Pepes would fail in Manhattan because you can actually get great ny style pizza in the city. Pepes looks like dog food

  68. [...] reader Neo just alerted us that the video we included in our review of Pepe’s Pizza in New Haven, CT was shown on Good Day LA thismorning. I know, exciting, [...]

  69. DKM Marlink says:

    Toss sez:
    ‘This post is hilariously amusing. “Disgusting” pizza? do mean it causes you disgust? from the video, it looks like at least some of the pizza was eaten.’

    And just how were they supposed to determine the pizza was digusting WITHOUT eating it? If they hadn’t taken a bite, you’d be bitching that they judged the food without tasting it. And I don’t know about you, but I try not to waste food. Even if it’s awful, I’ll at least attempt to get through.

    Guys, Phillip obviously doesn’t speak English as a first language, so I’ve decided to be helpful and translate his words for him:

    Phillip says,
    ‘I am an absolute moron.

    Pepe’s pizza gives me strokes, and it stinks.

    I’m imagining the line outside Pepe’s, in a world populated by morons like me.

    Lastly, you don’t deserve Pepe’s pizza–you all deserve much better.

    The second I can afford it, my goal in life is to open a Pepe’s pizza location in Manhattan, which will unltimately fail because, as I’ve previously stated, I’m a moron.

    When I do that, and I lose millions of dollars, I will happily refer back to this article to have another laugh at myself.’

    Glad to help, Phillip!

  70. DKM Marlink says:

    And because I can ALSO laugh at myself, I’m laughing at the fact that I wrote “Toss” instead of “Todd.” Maybe I was subconsciously going for “tosser”? The world may never know, but at least we all got a giggle out of it.

  71. DDyams says:

    loved the video, that pizza looks horrific. From what I know of PePes, it is really slipping since all of the chains have opened up. Its not the same old joint from back in the day.

  72. pepe pizza lover says:

    Ok for one, ur all saying that pepe’s pizza doesn’t even look like pizza, though i believe that pizza that looks so perfect is the grossest pizza! What i’m looking at is a bunch of people are to picky to enjoy the wonderful pepe’s pizza and are now all running off to pizza hut! I for one adore pepe’s pizza cause it’s real!! the crust has such flavor and the toppings are the best. A few weeks ago, my friend ordered a tomato bazil pizza and the waitress said that they couldn’t make it because it wasn’t the right season yet, They recieve their fresh tomato and bazil in the middle of July, when its fresh. Now is that a good sign or what. Honestly, you people are crazy.

  73. pepe pizza lover says:

    Dear Jessica,
    I feel terribly sorry for you that you had to read this and immediately think that pepe’s is terrible! If i were you i’de be curious about pepe’s at least. There has been many times where people have told me that a restaurant sucked and i have tried it out anyways and it ended up being my favorite restaurant.

    Trust me, the writer of this article and a large chunk of the taste budless commenters DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT!!!!!!!!!! I took a trip to New Haven, CT a few weeks ago and was told by a friend to visit Pepe’s pizza. After the trip i did not want to go back to wisconsin because Pepe’s was so good. And now i run into a situation where there is a person living near Pepe’s pizza and not willing to even try it. Believe me, you will be thanking me soon enough!

    Sincerely, Pepe Pizza lover

  74. Temper Mental says:

    Wow, I work up the street from Cafe Metro. I ate that pizza all the time during college.

  75. lovepepe's says:

    You are all nuts…first of all if it is so bad why do you go back??? Second you obviously don’t know what you are talking about….I grew up in ct too and have NEVER had a bad pizza from there – it is AWESOME and that is why it is on the top ten lists…

    Seriously, who are YOU to say top food critics are wrong — are you an expert???

    Pepe’s offers a certain type of pizza and maybe your taste buds just aren’t developed enough to appreciate it — by all means call Dominoes! I don’t want to wait in line behind you anyway – line will move quicker for me!

  76. Nick says:

    I love Pepe’s Pizza. Everyone is so used to thinking Pizza Hut type pizza is real…well It’s not! This is real pizza. The crust gets black spots because the coal ovens pull moisture out of the crust and it discolors. It is not burnt. If you want to try a good pizza make sure to check out Pepe’s. Don’t believe all of these negative reviews, find out for yourselves.

  77. JRfromAFAR says:

    Opinions about the original originator seem to polarize many people. I grew up on Pepe’s and still dream of the large clam pie with extra clams. My close high school friends do as well. Since moving out of state 30 years ago, return trips always include a visit to Wooster St. My wife thinks Pepe’s sucks because she grew up loving Greek pizza from Glens Falls, NY, which I will never eat again. Designer pizzas asise, we tend to love what we eat as kids. It’s the memory which enhances the experience. I sincerely hope all of the Pepe’s naysayers who posted stay away to keep the lines shorter.

  78. Andrew says:

    I agree with most of your observations regarding Pepe’s Pizza in New Haven(the main store and The Spot next door). I cannot speak for the newer locations that have opened up in the last few years.
    In my humble opinion, Pepe’s made very good pizza during the 70′s and 80′s. The Spot opened in the mid to late 80′s and they made almost as good a pie as the main store. If you were lucky enough to be waited on by the late great Sal at the main store, he saw to it that you had a pleasant dining experience, and made sure you were happy with your pizza. We went up there so much that he basically became a father figure to myself, my family and friends.
    The other waitresses in those days were OK, but ask them to get anything besides your pizza or a soda refill, and it just wasn’t gonna happen. The trick was to go at the slower times of the week, not after a big concert at Toad’s Place or New Haven Coliseum.
    My fav pizzas in those days were the special with everything, white clam with bacon, and grated Parmesean. Never had a bad pie until 1995, and to this day and I will never forget it. My wife and I drove up, decided to go to The Spot because the line at the main store was wrapping around the building.
    We got seated and waited with anticipation for our usual fix. Well, it was a completely tasteless piece of garbage, and I’m not exaggerating either. I remember telling my wife that we should ask for a pizza box to eat instead, because it would probably taste better.
    I was like a fish out of water. All the wonderful memories of my youth had just been eradicated in one bite. I asked the waitress what happened, did you guys change the recipe, use cheaper ingredients, the oven not working, etc. She just shrugged and told us she had no idea, and didn’t really seem to care at all.
    We asked for at least some extra Parmesean cheese to try and eat the awful $20 pizza that we had ordered. She brought out like a thimble’s worth, in one of those tiny medicine cups.
    At that point, it was time to leave, never to come back again. Was like the day John Lennon died. The end of an era. The family has obviously chosen profit over quality. I want to emphasize though, that in the old days when Sal the waiter was alive, this place was one of the best and I sure do miss that! God Bless you, Sal!

  79. Greg says:

    I couldn’t agree more. They act like they are doing you a favor by selling you crappy pizza. It seemed like they all took lessons on how to be #$@holes. We walked in and they immediately yelled at us. Then when we were being seated they yelled at us. Then when we left they yelled at us. They wouldn’t last a second on the west coast. Come on east coasters, get some balls and stop following the crowd over the cliff. PNW rules.

  80. CherryRose says:

    For the best college-town pizza, GO BLUE!

    • Alison says:

      I grew up in Ann Arbor and this was the only place we ever got pizza. I always get a little nostalgic for a slice whenever I see a picture of it.

  81. Jess says:

    Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    I tried Pepe’s. After all, I do live close to New Haven. It was hyped. I tried it three times. Each time, like a masochist, I figured, “It’s okay, it’ll be better the next time.” And I kept coming back.

    It’s crappy, small, misshapen pizza. It’s burnt. It’s by no means a delicious representation of Connecticut Apizza. That’s what Tolli’s in East Haven is for.

  82. Tom says:

    I just went there today for the 1st time and i was very exited. I live in NY but i couldnt pass up this opportunity. I must say i was one of the best pies i have ever eaten. I have eaten all in brooklyn/manhatten and this place is awesome. I cant wait to go back. The crust was cooked to perfection. Crispy and soft above it. The taste and texture was great. By looking at it you do not think it looks good but the taste is great. I want to try Sally Apizza next.

  83. Tricia says:

    I arrived at this post via Google looking for a review of Pepe’s to send to a New Yorker who trashed New England pizza! The only reason this post is so high in the Google ranking and caught my attention is that the writer did something different and perverse and trashed Pepe’s. Hye, I love that place! Their clam pie–just clams, garlic and organo–NO cheese!– is perfection on earth. The regular pie is to my liking too.

    I grew up in New Haven but had never been to Pepe’s until after I’d moved away and become a New Yorker. People in New York City, especially Brooklynites, pride themselves on having the greatest pizza in the U.S. and perhaps the world. I’ve been to the legendary Lombardi’s, DiFara’s, Grimaldi’s, Totonno’s, Patsy’s, John’s. Even the corner pizzeria is better than the pizza in Anywhere USA. As for Pepe’s, it’s worth a trip from anywhere. I have taken friends from NYC, California, Tokyo etc. Everyone raves about it.

  84. t murallo says:

    this is for the person dogging peppi’s pizza in new haven,ct. i’ve also eaten pizza all over the world. some good and some bad. for some reason, you bad mouth bad mouthed peppi pizza. you are the first person in many many years that bad mouth peppi pizza!!………i suspect your taste buds are mixed with xxxxx??

  85. priuslover says:

    Damn right, Pepe’s sux dood, give me some Domino’s any day. dat sheet is da bomb!!!!

  86. LH Sardone says:

    I totally agree! We waited in the line at Pepe’s, got the same rude treatment, and then were served overcooked tasteless pizza. Down the street, Sally’s pizza tastes a little better, but the treatment is even ruder! We got there to Sally’s on a weekend in October right after they opened at 5pm and got a table right away. 1 hour later, after we saw numerous table of “regulars” seated after us getting their pizzas, and numerous takeouts flying out the door, we flagged down a manager (the lone server was ignoring us) and complained. He apologized and promised we would have our pizza in 7 minutes. And we did since that’s how long it takes from stretching the dough to taking it out of the ovens. There is an older woman in the back by the ovens and cash registers who holds all the order ticketes and decides which order to put in next. She was obviously putting aside the “outsider” orders until we complained. Another “outsider” couple right across from us got exactly the same treatment. We were so hungry when the pizza finally came that we ate the whole tray. Was it good? Not until we asked for the jars of spices and red hot pepper to jazz it up to our taste.
    My bottom line on Wooster St pizza – go elsewhere!!

  87. Julie says:

    Wow, looks like I’m all alone on this, but, um, do you have some sort of mental disability I should know about? I’ve been to Pepe’s, and the pies look nothing like that heinous picture you took. Why don’t you like it? You couldn’t wait on the line? Seriously, it’s ok if you don’t think it’s the best, but to say it’s the worst?! Are you f-ing kidding me?! You’re like my old roommate. Despite living in NYC where there’s good pizza on every corner, she ordered from Papa John’s and Dominos. You can enjoy your sub-par quality $5 pies while I enjoy the good stuff!

  88. mac says:

    not going to contribute to the Fox-Daily Show yelling fest that serves as discussion these days, which was obviously started by the author to generate traffic to her site with a clear instigation into a topic that she knew would take off like the death panels in the health care plan. And yes I acknowledge that I am participating too.

    Setting that aside, I have very fond memories of Pepe’s, many great pies at Modern and some pretty good pies in NYC. Tastes in pizza vary somewhat, which is fine, and sometimes the quality at any restaurant will have a bad day. But anyone who says that Pepe’s is terrible, certainly has a differnent agenda than providing an honest review so anyone reading this should not be scared away and make their own call. Service is not their strong point and I always hated the attitude about getting some parmesan cheese. Although the service in Fairfield is very good and the pizza excellent as well.

    I live in NYC and have eaten at many of the places cited by people who “hated” Pepe’s. I would describe most of the top NY places as good to great (partial to the Patsy’s at 117 by the slice!!) but some of the “great” places cited by some critics are pretty marginal (Pizza Village (i live 1/2 a block away and eat it regularly), Pronto, Ray’s, etc), or overrated (Totonno’s, some of the newer Patsy’s).

    I have never had a bad pizza from Pepe’s and nobody that has ever gone with me has either, let alone the hyperbolic drivel written by some above.

    Pizza is like sex (for guy’s), it’s really hard for it to be terrible although some times it can be only functional. Ray Bari is my keynote exception to that, I would rather have old street hot dogs from a cart.

    My personal opinion is that NH pizza is better than what I have had in NY and most of the rest of the country is missing out completely. There will always be good places here and there so if you tell me that Billy Bob’s Mountain Organic Stoner Special Pizza in Seattle is awesome, I will be happy to try it when I am there. But Wooster Street is the place for me.

    Interestingly, the single best pizza experience was a deep dish special at Chefs on Fire in the basement of the Depuy Canal House in High Falls, NY. All toppings came from the surrounding farms and were piled deep with fresh, luscious happiness.


  89. CTcosmo says:

    I love NH Pepes!

    I was wondering, have You tried the one in Fairfield? My kids are picky pizza eaters.. Me too… we had no leftovers we left very happy and will be going back soon:)

  90. Michael says:

    I am born and raised on Wooster Street…actually NEXT DOOR to Pepe’s 61 years ago. And I walk by Pepe’s twice a day.They are not the Pepe’s I grew up with. Consider the following: they only advert5ise in Yale and tourist publications. The vast majority of the customers are clueless Yalies and yes touristas. Old time Italians rarely go there… why wait in line for apizza?? There are NO Italians doing any food prepearation there. I always thought that REAL Neapolitan Apizza was made by REAL Neapolitan Italians. (go figure). They are running on their reputation. And most of the folks who go there are embarassed to say they stood in line for not so great apizza

    REAL New Haven Italian Apizza?: Sally’s, Modern (which incidentially is an OLD Italian place, despite the name), Anastasio’s, Grand Apizza and Abates. For other REAL Italian down home food, try Ferrucci’s Deli across the street from Pepe’s. You will think you went straight to Amalfi.

    I Grew up in a bakery on Wooster Street, but I am NOT related to any of the aforementioned places !

    Tomorrow I will ahve a plain apizza at Anastasios…

    Mike from Wooster St.
    in the ELm City of New Haven

  91. Dan says:

    ok, I couldn’t disagree with this article any more than i do. as a new haven resident and one who has also ate at pizza places all over the world, there is no doubt that new haven’s pizza is the best i’ve eaten anywhere. and while i much prefer sally’s over pepe’s, i personally think a place like modern is better than either.

    there is no doubt that some of your complaints are legitimate. the service at these places is horrendous and they ought to be ashamed of the way they treat their customers. but to say that one of these pizzas is bland is utterly ridiculous. they are the most flavorful pizzas i’ve ever eaten, and they only get better each time.

    besides, who goes to a world famous pizza place like sally’s or pepe’s and orders a cheese pizza? you’re clearly not a pizza eater, because only novices (or children) would order that. go get a bacon and onion pie, or a summer special (fresh tomatoes, basil, and garlic) or the clams casino. you want a cheese pizza, go to dominoes. you want to eat the best pizza anywhere in the world, come to new haven, come to wooster street.

  92. John says:

    You people are crazy. Food will vary from time to time. If your looking for consistancy go to pizza hut!!!. All of the best pizza around is a little burnt at the bottom. Almost all the pizza places in the worster st area are served like this. It has lost some of its quality of the years. The reasom is the secret is in the dough and being not a single family member nor Italin works in the kitchen anymore. Why should it be passed on to any smuck. The pizza is still good, before you critisize go learn to be a chef, then you atleast will know what your talking about before you run your papa john tainted taste bud yappers

  93. New Orleanian says:

    I have been laughing out loud reading the many negative comments about Pepe’s. At first I though this is like “The Onion” – a satire, because it is in the foodnetwork humor section right. But after watching your video I realized you weren’t kidding.
    You certainly can have your opinion, but most (probably the vast majority) of the people who wait, sometimes for hours, in line have been there before. Like many of them, I have eaten there many times growing up and can fully appreciate the perfectly spotty “char” on the crust and the amoeba shaped pie and funny shaped slices that let you know you are having a unique pizza. I hate to break it to you but that’s how pizza was made here in the U.S. when it all got started. It is wonderful that there are still a few places around that don’t try to be like everyone else. If you want perfectly round pizzas and perfect triangle pieces then Papa John’s or Pizza Hut is for you. I think they even have a special pizza sized cutter that makes the perfect cuts every time.
    Call it what you will, but in a town where there are so many other incredible pizza places, like Modern or Sally’s do you think they would really continue to do so well after all these years if the pizza was truly “disgusting” like you claim. Do you think that the expert (meaning “real”)food critics you are trashing would tarnish their reputations by saying how good it is if it really wasn’t? Of course not. Read the book “American Pie” by Peter Reinhart. He has written what is considered probably one of the most authoritative books on artesian bread making and traveled the world looking for the best pizza to write American Pie. In it there is a whole chapter devoted to New Haven Pizza. I am sure you would think he is an idiot too based on what you have said. Not sure what contribution to the world of food literature you have made – other than your obviously perturbed blog here.
    I have been to Pepe’s and the others, and occasionally don’t get “the perfect” pie but come on – you ordered a “cheese” pizza at one of the top pizzerias in the world and complained like a pregnant women. I know you were hungry because you waited so long and were upset because they didn’t fall all over you or smile at you like they do at The Olive Garden, but at least order a white clam pizza or a sausage and mushroom pie. They didn’t have the “all you can eat” bread sticks either, sorry.
    What you showed in your video was obviously a slightly overcooked piece of pizza. I have eaten there many, many times and usually the pieces are even hard to lift with one hand because they have the perfect “flop” at the tip like a true Neapolitan pie. All criticism aside, I think you were probably looking for a differently kind of pizza. For instance, I know many people who crave and love Chicago style pizza but I personally can’t stand it. To me it is horrible but to them it IS pizza. Ok so I’m not going to go into Pizzeria Uno and shoot my snobby video an put up a obviously instigating post about how it is the worst ever etc, etc.
    With regard to the wait staff. That is, and was a family business. There was an old man named Sal who worked there for many years. He was so nice they even mentioned his passing on the evening news. I remember as a kid he would come over to our tables just to slap us “five” even if he wasn’t our waiter. But then there was his sister I think, she was such a mean old women who would snear and complain if you didn’t know exactly what you wanted – but that’s what made the place legendary. I have been back to the New Haven place and even the Naugatuck location everytime I go to CT. We have always be treated so perfectly by the new people so I am not sure what happened to you. I suspect they could read the sour pusses on your faces and saw you making your little video and complaining.
    You are naive; most of those who haven’t bothered to respond to your post know it too.
    Find peace, and your favorite pizza.

  94. Gayle King says:

    Nice try, New Orleanian, but just because a lot of people don’t like Pepe’s Pizza doesn’t mean they’re “naive.” It means they have TASTE BUDS. I completely back the author up on this one. Pepe’s makes some of the most God-awful pizza I have ever tasted!!! Talk about over-rated. My husband and I still laugh about how gross it was, and we had it 7 years ago.

  95. Bork Bork says:

    He traveled the world in search of Pizza and dedicated a chapter to CT? Holy crap, I guess he missed Naples…

    I’ve yet to find a pizza that actually is tasty and complies with some sort of tradition in the great US of A.
    I’ve eaten some tasty pie, sadly most of it is laden with nasty tomato sauce and greasy sausage.

  96. Hoss McCalister says:

    I visited Pepe’s pizza 15 years ago in college after visiting a nearby park to see the Jesus tree. It was horrible. It was a week night so it wasn’t very crowded which was good and I don’t remember the wait staff being overly rude. I just remember that the pizza sucked. Living in New Haven for 4 years I can tell you that ALL the local pizza places were better than Pepe’s.

  97. Tatiana says:

    I hated Pepe’s back in the 70s when I was attending college in New Haven, Any dive place in East Haven was WAAAAAYYYYYY better than that dreck. Now, after spending the past three decades in NYC, I’ll soon be moving back to the New Haven area. Pepe’s will NOT be on the list of places to go to for pizza.

  98. Ary says:

    That video was great! what a horrible pizza

  99. John says:

    You must be Irish… Certainly not Italian.

  100. My heritage has nothing to do with it. Disgusting pizza is disgusting pizza, and Pepe’s is amongst the worst I’ve had in my life. I’ll stand by that. If you like standing in line for 45 minutes for an overrated, overhyped, sooty, salty, brick hard pizza, by all means, ENJOY YOURSELVES.

  101. frank says:

    Pepe’s Pizza does suck BIG TIME. I have lived in Ct for 40 yrs, & was a driver for the distributor that, & let me make it clear “USED TO SUPPLY” Pepe’s with all the ingredients being cheese, tomatoes, flour and all the toppings they use. I have eaten 90% of the pizza in CT from Greenwich to Groton & Any Pizza restaurant owner will tell you one of the keys to success is consistency in the products they use. Well Pepe’s used the cheapest of the cheap, not to mention the distributor I worked for has since gone out of business. Maybe 40 yrs ago it was good, but not anymore. If you want a great pie Try Modern Pizza on State St in New Haven, Rossinis in Cheshire, or Randy’s on Queen Street in southington just to name a few. Pepe’s is pure garbage & only gets by on a century old reputation that it does not come near to living up to.

  102. dave says:

    Are you idiots for real?

    The pics you took are not like any I’ve had. I’ve had pizaa in multiple countries around the country, and will fly to New York, just to drive to Pepe’s.

    there’s people out there that will trash anything ‘establishment’ regardless of the actual qualities of said object.

    Grow up, and enjoy things that are really good, popular, unpopular, fashionable or not, good is good. Pepe’s is great

  103. Kevin Cushman, Sedona Arizona says:

    Gee, I guess all those people who stand in line day after day, week after week, year after year, decade after decade are just doing it for their health.

    Nothing is perfect all the time but I’ve been to Pizzeria’s all around the country and Pepe’s is the best. We have one in Phoenix called Pizzeria Bianco. Lombardi’s on Spring St. in New York. 2Amy’s right off Wisconsin in Washington DC is another I go out of my way for.

    If your pie at Pepe’s is a little burnt on the bottom (which I love) then go there again and before you finalize your order, perhaps you might say, “Please don’t burn the pie(s).” Also, everyone has a bad day so if you think they’re rude, say something nice. It rubs off.

    If you get a large white clam, shrimp, spinach garlic pie with NO mozzarella, you’ll get a piece of heaven. If you don’t care for one of those items I mentioned, leave it off. Not all pizza’s need red sauce. One more thing. Food, like music, art and literature is subjective. So, if you don’t like something, don’t go back and make a video. That’s bush league. Usually, people who go out of their way to trash something are not trashing the product, just someone who was rude to them. Besides, if one looks carefully, in the beginning of you video, half of the pie is gone, so someone at your table must have liked it. Again, ask them not to burn it.

  104. Hoss McCalister says:

    I don’t ever want to hear anyone who lives in Arizona comment on Pizza again. Seriously…. Kevo – Dominoes is probably your idea of a good time!!! No offense…

  105. Drew says:

    So I typed in “pepe’s” into google today. I was absolutely appalled to see this article with its slander.

    Jillian, maybe nobody told you that “worst” and “best” are opinions, not factual characteristics, and different people like different styles of pizza.

    I grew up in Branford, a short drive from new haven, and I have waited in that “coat room” many a time. The wait is never longer than it has to be due to everybody LOVING THE PIZZA, and service has never ever been less than exceptional.

    Maybe its not your kind of pizza, that sucks, oh well, don’t go there anymore. I feel bad for the people who haven’t had a chance to try it and take this bias review to heart.

    If you have never tried pepe’s, and are in the area, I highly recommend giving it a try and forming your own OPINION.

  106. Drew says:

    oh yeah and the pizza is delicious so fuck you all thanks

  107. Hoss McCalister says:

    Drew – Clearly you are very passionate about lousy pizza. You should see if they are hiring a coat room custodian, because clearly you would be a perfect fit for that job.. and since you love it there sooo much, they can pay you in that dried up and burnt pizza.

  108. CHill says:

    I actually dislike pizza. I only eat it if I’m hungry and that is all is served at a party or to test someone’s theory about “so-and-so’s” pizza being the best. For the 25 I have been on this earth I could not find one pizza that made me understand why people like eating pizza so much.

    UNTIL Pepes Clam white. I am not paid by pepe’s either! I moved onto Wooster Street and thought, why not? I am not the biggest fan of seafood either. Well, you guys seem to be very irate. First of all if you didn’t have their signature pizza you should shut your mouth and the same applies to people who haven’t had ANY of their pizza.

    Your video has a lot of hate and not much merit. This article is one long complaint and the waiting area does not smell like vomit. The service is awful and the servers are rude but get over yourselves…

  109. Tom says:

    Despite living only a short drive away from Pepe’s I never started going there until earlier this fall.
    I have to say my wife and kids all love going to Pepe’s and we go now every two weeks. I’ve never encountered the Beer and Vomit smell mentioned or the rude staff, on the contrary we did get served a pizza once that was burnt and when I said something to the server they simply made us another pizza.
    I also never faced any lines although we go during the week before 5:30pm and we usually get right in.
    I think the pizza is excellent and a stop at Libbys afterward is something our whole family looks foward to.

  110. jimbob says:

    Any one who writes that a review doesn’t know pizza. He must have grown up next to Papa Gino’s American’ized pizza.
    It isn’t pizza anyway. If your Italian you’d know it’s Apizza.. pronunuced “aabeats”

  111. WAHOO WILLIE says:

    “I notice no pizzerias in NC made the list and that does not surprise me.”

    @Daria, you must be inland somewhere because around Wilmington there are several Greek owned resturants w/ first rate pizza. Then there are all those New Yerkers who’ve opened “real NY pizza” joints….. Then, I actually like Dominos.

  112. Brian says:

    oh my god people, stop your bitching. it’s ridiculous. true the service isn’t very good (my friend asked if there was free refills, the waitress just looked at him and shook her head). but the pizza is pretty good. you bitchy little wanna be food critics just think because you dis the food, it makes you look smarter. IT DOESN’T!!! the pizza style is new haven style. something you wouldn’t understand. so stop your little whiny ass attitudes and suck it up.

  113. Hoss McCalister says:

    Yo.. Brian… I have had pizza in several of New Havens best Pizza parlors and they don’t adhere to one style. You are nuts. You are also the first one to really whine… Let’s be honest this pizza pales in comparison to many of the New Haven alternatives… Like let’s say… Dominoes.

  114. Sally says:

    Self-called foodie Jillian Madison, off to a tragic start as a critic, filled with raging vengeance, obviously has a few food-appreciation genes missing. She probably grew up on pizza that was not made by Italians, who, fterall, originated pizza, who have, afterall, the expertise needed to make excellent pizza. Amazing that some people just don’t have a clue. Their buds have been dulled by dull food. She appears also to have a visual gene or two missing, as there is nothing better looking than an authentic pizza, looking like an original work of art, often square. Pepe’s is only my 2nd favorite pizza, but still my favorite place to go. New Haven is enriched by many Italian-made pizza restaurants, and the best Italian food in the U.S. Just goes to show. If ya don’t get it, ya don’t get it. And ya never will.

  115. Nancy says:

    Well hello to all the New Haven newbies who’ve only been there for 15 or 20 years. New Haven is my home town and though I live in Westchester now I still go back for several things and pizza (actually apizza – thank you to that accurate poster) is one of them. During my childhood, in the 50′s, there was hard line drawn between the Sally’s folks and the Pepe’s folks (modeled on the Yanks, Red Sox gulf which was actually worse then). I was a Sally’s person and still am. But Pepe’s comes in a close second – I’m mature enough to admit it now!

    Like other New Haven natives I’ve wandered the world wondering why people don’t cook pizza thoroughly and am constantly asking for them to get it crisp. Most of the doughy stuff out there doesn’t even qualify to be called pizza and definitely not apizza.

    New Haven apizza is a thing unto itself, love it or hate it. I love it. For those of you who don’t love it, go a little farther West on 95, stop off at Jimmy’s in West Haven and have some fried oysters and birch beer – it’s great!!


  116. dkmissy says:

    i just saw that place on the travel channel but i am confused! is it “frank pepe’s” or just pepes?

  117. billb says:

    Crust is best part and unique. It’s chewy but excellent. Pies a bit overcooked for my taste, I prefer softer. Our service has always been efficient and friendly. Tried at Mohegan Sun and also very good. In my Top 10. Lombardi’s NYC my favorite

  118. billb says:

    Crust is best part and unique. It’s chewy but excellent. Pies a bit overcooked for my taste, I prefer softer. Our service has always been efficient and friendly. Tried at Mohegan Sun and also very good. In my Top 10. Lombardi’s NYC my favorite. Tried Clam pie but didn’t care for. Sausage my personal favorite topping everywhere
    Sally’s, down Wooster street also excellent . Thinner, more traditional crust.
    Midtown on State St (?) also great New Haven pie. I find them similar to best of NYC coal fired pies.
    Jillian should stay at Pizza Hut.

  119. Paul says:

    I live in Yonkers NY and a pepe’s just opened about a mile from me.
    I had seen the new store yet had no clue what the deal was.
    Until a guy iWork with started raving cause he went to college in mass
    and was aware of pepes. So he filledme with the hype.
    So last night a Friday my wife and kids wanted pizza so I said great inky way home
    I will order and try this magical pie out. That is where the disaster started …kinfdof
    like going up the steep hill on a roller coaster…u don’t know exactly what’s
    coming but may be bad . I risked my life dialing my iPhone onthe
    hutch, and lierally called 15 times and got no answer at all,
    u get a girl offering option of 1 place takout order4 talk yo a manager
    but each Time hit them got voicemail after waiting 2 min.
    Very annoying to say least. I give. Them benefit of doubt and figured
    I would do a drive by. Now if u don’t know Yonkers, central ave is really
    a very huge congested mini hiway w tons of stores etc. And pepes must be getting a
    rent discount as it is located in possibly the worst spot logisticAlly
    . I had to drive by twice. The small lot was full and there
    was even police activity in it! I parked blocks away and went past the line of Folsom drooling
    at the door….sorry I have to go…will post rest later

  120. Hoss McCalister says:

    Paul… It looks like your experience was better than mine.. I actually had to eat the pizza!!!!

  121. Blueyes says:

    i live in Rhode Island, and once was taken on a 2 hour drive just for this pizza. I was so dissapointed. And i actually left hungrier than when i went in.

  122. Richard Preston says:

    Some of the best pizza in the USA can be found at “Moon River” in the Murray Hill section of Jacksonville, Florida.

    I am a native brooklynite and can tell you this pizza is as good as anything Ive had in brroklyn (which is outstanding)

    Dick – Orange Park, Florida

  123. Shane says:

    You’re a fool. Modern, Pepes and Sally’s are the best in CT and probably this whole country.

    Have fun eating your cheese pizza elsewhere. You probably like your pizza baked in a pan and cut into squares too.

  124. ArrogantBasterd says:

    I think the fact that Cici’s pizza buffet (which honestly tastes like Red Baron microwave pizza, only far more terrible) is being trumpeted on this thread should clue ya’ll into the fact that we are dealing with people who automatically dislike anything unique, and who have no business reviewing any pizza aside from their local California Pizza Kitchen (even that may be above some of your heads). These people are lovin’ it (the McDonald’s dollar menu) and think what you find at Pizza Hut is the epitome of awesome pizza (perfectly round, a layer of frozen mozzarella an inch thick, bland sauce, crust twice as chunky as a slice of wonder bread), and they cannot be saved from themselves. Let us be happy with our unique, flavorful pizza style that will never be co-opted by Pizza Hut! Most of you who are ragging on NH apizza here are silly out-of-town rubes who expected to taste the wings of your Jeebus here. It’s a friggin’ pizza afterall, you can only do so much with the medium.

  125. andrea says:

    I live in NYC now and still swear by Wooster Street Pizza! Pepe’s and Sally’s are hands down the best pizzas I have ever had and anyone who disagrees doesn’t know what real pizza is!

  126. andrea says:

    I have been going there since a kid and never got a pizza out of the oven like that….looks like you waited 2 hrs to eat it and it hardened up…if ur gonna criticize at least be honest about it

  127. Geoffrey says:

    If you prefer Ray’s to Pepe’s, then you’re no connoisseur.

    How about Grimaldi’s, John’s, Lombardi’s? How about Sally’s, where the pizza is just as good but the line and service are worse?

    Get with it, the various and sundry Ray’s are the McDonald’s of pizza.

    • I never claimed to be a connoisseur. I’m just a regular girl, who has eaten at Pepes several times, and always found it VILE. Apparently, quite a few people agree with me. And that’s the beautiful thing about taste and opinions, Geoffrey. Everyone’s is different.

      • Travis says:

        Your review is mean-spirited. You gripe about the “rude” service. Your language is rude. I assume your objective is to let people know about your unpleasant dining experience. I can appreciate you wanting to do that. Too bad your message got lost in your quest to be as nasty as possible.
        You say you’ve been to Pepe’s several times and always found it VILE. Why would you go back to a place a second time when you say the waiting area reeks of “body odor, ammonia, and vomit.” Why would you go back a second time after you found it VILE the first time? And then you went back again after finding it VILE the second time? Most people think of “several” as “three or more” so I’ll assume you’ve been to Pepe’s at least three times. Did you think it would get better after your first two “disgusting” experiences? Why would you think that? They’ve been doing this for how many years? “Not bad” the first time might warrant another visit just to see if perhaps they had a bad night. But vile and disgusting should not deserve a second chance in anyones book. Especially when you have to walk through a waiting area that smells of vomit, ammonia, and body odor. Am I repeating myself? Belaboring the point? Now you know how I felt when I read your review. Be nice next time and maybe I’ll pay attention to what you say and not how you say it.

  128. Scott says:

    Pizza is one of my favorite foods. What I will never do is to say that a particular pie is vile, or disgusting. People have different tastes and enjoy foods of different textures. I have had pizza that I would never eat again. That doesn’t make the pizza bad, it just means that I don’t like it. I would never discourage anyone from trying pizza at a particular location unless the proprietor did not have a clean restaurant. That said, I have been to Pepe’s several times. I get the clam pie with bacon. In my mouth, the combination of the smokey bacon, briny and sweet clams, fragrant garlic and earthy romano cheese is a taste that rivals any of the best entree’s I have had in my life. I have often described that pizza as the best food I have eaten. It, as a pizza, is more satisfying to me than the best of any other food I have eaten. I would suggest that you try that specific pie. I have had a sausage pie as well, but it doesn’t compare from the standpoint of the flavor combinations that work for me.

    To suggest that Pepe’s success is due to hype is to suggest that the thousands who eat there with any regularity wait on the line and pay for the pricey pizza not because they find it delicious, but because of some covert astroturf marketing effort where people, paid by the Pepe’s ‘machine’, tell their friends about their experience or otherwise brainwash them into thinking the pizza is the best. So powerful and effective is this effort that those who follow the advice, even upon eating the vile pie, are inclined to return even though they despised what they ate.

    Obviously, I am being sarcastic but as one of the ‘brainwashed’ I would suggest Pepe’s. Go with a friend and get a small pie to split. See what you think.

  129. Hoss McCalister says:

    I have to agree with most of the people on this post… Pepe’s is pretty gross… That video is great.. it really defines the experience.

  130. mia says:

    BAR in New Haven has pretty good pizza too…jsyk..

  131. dave says:

    I too agree with the author of this review. being from the bridgeport area I had heard all this jive about Pepe’s for years. people I knew in New Haven said there pizza was close to a religious experience. I finally went there in 2000 and it was a major disappointment. First the pizza came undercooked, then they burned the hell out of it. Also the staff were arrogant and unfriendly. I grew un in Fairfield and the Pepe’s there was no big deal, Apizza Center was better. I used to love Jerry’s and Napoli Pizza in Bridgeport, I’m not sure if they are there anymore. I live in Milford now and I think both Bella Napoli and Mama Teresa’s are better than Pepe’s. I also like Mario The Baker and Captain’s in Bridgeport. Captain’s is Greek style pizza but it might just be my favorite in the state.

  132. Jeff says:

    Your quote: “The truth is, Pepe’s serves the worst pizza I have ever eaten in my life”. Seriously now. I grew up in the New Haven area, eating good pizza at many different pizzerias there. The best was always Sally’s and Pepe’s. If the pizza were truly the worst, then you are saying that hype prevails over the taste buds of countless people who have eaten there again and again since they opened in the 1920s. I don’t think so.

    Did you also think that the Wizard of Oz was a lousy movie?

  133. dave says:

    pepe’s is totally overrated, it’s nice to see some people telling the truth. i think they do pay off critics. i think jerry’s shakespeare pizza in stratford is much better, without all that new haven pizza hype. if you are from out of the state don’t waste your time in new haven, it’s a lame city that couldn’t even support a AA baseball team!

  134. Rich says:

    You are crazy. Maybe you think Pepe’s is overrated. I will disagree. But the worst pizza ever. Have you ever been to Pizza Hut? Domino’s? Pepe’s and Sally’s are the two best pizzas in the world and Modern is likely 3rd. Try the sausage or a white clam.

  135. Lisa says:

    You anti-Pepe’s people are nuts! The place has been in business since 1925. It clearly has a following. Sure the service is not 5-star, it’s a pizza place. If you don’t like it, get out of line and make room for someone who loves the food. Since they have their new hours, I haven’t waited longer than 1/2 hour-but I would certainly not go on a fri or sat nite either. I live out of state now and the first thing I want to do on all my visits is go have new haven pizza. I have heard Pizza hut, CiCi’s, Dominos. If this is what you like, than Pepe’s is not for you. New haven pizza requires a certain acquired palette.

    • Bob says:

      who cares how long it’s been in business. you are the type of person who would eat there even if they had dog shit pizza, just because of the name. Example of a conversation you would have with friends: “hey guys- you have to try Pepe’s new dogshit pizza…it is the best, because it’s made by pepe’s. even though it’s dogshit and dough.|

  136. Anna says:

    I grew up in CT and now live in WDC. Wow, I was going to check out Pepe’s next month but now I am not sure. Anyway, if anybody can recommend a good pizza place in WDC, MD or the Northern VA area – please let me know.

  137. Lauren says:

    I love Pepe’s and everyone is entitled to their opinion. But anyone who thinks Ray’s pizza in NYC is the greatest pizza ever made, has not truly had good pizza. Problem is, once someone finds their favorite, it’s not debatable. Same goes for steakhouses, fried chicken. That’s it. It’s all a personal preferance. BUT, there’s a reason Pepe’s is on all the lists. It’s delicious :)

  138. Dana says:

    This article is correct about the waiting area being small and that’s about it. It may be their opinion that they disfavor the pizza, but they are obviously so self-interested that they did not understand that others have opinions as well. I would guess that this person may have had some sort of bad experience and decided to bash the establishment. The place is very popular so be prepared to wait. One of the types of pizza that is Pepe’s specialty does not include your typical cheese, it includes Parm which may have confused these folks… The truth is the pizza is the best Ive had along with Roselands in Derby Ct. It is thin crust and does not bend easily because it is uniquely cooked in a charcoal oven. Do not accept everyone’s opinion as these people intend. Plus, how can anyone know how a pizza tastes through a video? Visit Pepe’s, it may not be your favorite but in my opinion its damn good pizza!

  139. Eagle says:

    These people who claim that pepe’s is awful are absolutely BONKERS and have no idea what they’re talking about — Pepe’s, Sally’s and Modern are the 3 best pizza joints on the planet. Me, I’m a Sally’s guy, but will eat the other two anytime, anyhow, anywhere. Been eatin th estuff since the early 70′s. Never knew how good ZI had it until I tried that garbage New Yorkers pass off as pizza — gimme a break. Next thing ya know they’ll be saying Chicago has good pie — windy city GARBAGE!

    The White clam w/ bacon, onion & peppers (clams casino) is to die for. The plain w/ garlic & basil is a delicacy. Straight mozz will never go wrong. Personal favorite: sausage (conventional but fantastic).

    When there’s leftovers, I have been known to wake in the middle of the night to down a couple of slices. Best way to reheat the pie is in a frying pan (believe it or not).

    This entire web page is SACRILEGIUOS to claim Pepe’s is awful. Repent, I say, Repent!

  140. squezey says:

    you couldn’t be anymore right about the place. There is so many better pizza places in Connecticut. The pizza at Pepe’s was just ok but it isn’t a place I would go back to unless someone takes me there. Oh yeah and at this place only get the basic white or red pie or get ready for the most disgusting soupy mess on a pizza you will ever see. I say go to Modern Apizza. Now that place is one of the best places. I have not tryed Sally’s yet though.

  141. JC says:

    Amen sir! Pepe’s pizza sucks. I first tried it at Mohegan Sun because everyone told me it tasted JUST like New Haven’s. I was disappointed – it tasted no better than any other pizza I’ve had. But I decided to try the New Haven one. Still disappointed. The pizza didn’t look like your video’s but it was incredibly bland and blah to me.

    Sally’s was slightly better, but in my opinion, Modern Apizza is MUCH more delicious. I am dying to try some New York pizza though – I think that’s truly the pizza capital of the world from what I have seen on TV.

  142. JP says:

    You guys are all crazy. New Haven pizza rules!!!

  143. BOB says:

    Honestly, the more of you that hate it the shorter my wait. Have any of you ever had you know….a neopolitan pie from Naples? Stick to Dominoes you don’t deserve pepe’s or Sally’s.

  144. Matt says:

    You’re fucking retarded because Pepe’s makes the best pizza in Connecticut undoubtedly. First of all to judge a pizza purely by looks is incredibly stupid. Nevermind to lie about ther service. I’ve become friends with some of the waiters over the years, now would that be possible if they were dicks the first time I asked for a straw?

    And to even call Pepe’s bad is ridiculous enough, but you lost all your credibility when you said they were the worst because there’s no way in hell a REAL pizza can e worse than Dominoes’ or Pizza Hut’s nasty shit.

  145. J Rock says:

    I found this site because I googled “new haven style pizza sucks”. I’ve been to Pepe’s and I was very disappointed. The pizza is thin and dry and hard. Some pieces tase like coal, others are salty and just plain nasty. People kept telling me that it was the best pizza they’ve ever tried but I hated it. So far the best pizza I’ve had in CT is at a place called Gio’s in East Granby near the airport.

  146. Tbone85 says:

    Gotta disagree. I had Pepe’s in the mid 80s and it was fabulous then. I’ve gone back every 3-4 years since, it is has remained an awesome food experience. My wife and later kids thought it was nostalgia–until they took their first bites. Now they are more enthusiastic about going back than I. Introduced a coworker based in NYC (who also accused me of nostalgia) last year during a trip to Stamford, and he went bananas. He’s been back a half dozen times since.

    Not everyone has the same taste. If you’re into deep dish, you might not like Pepe’s. Like anything else in life, you have to try it for yourself to make up your own mind. There’s a line every night with repeat customers for decades on end for a reason–and it’s definitely not the hype.

  147. Tom says:

    For what it’s worth, I really like Pepe’s.

  148. Hoss McCalister says:

    Pepe’s Pizza is very similar to Dominoes, minus the quality control.

  149. Carly says:

    I’ve eaten there. We waited for about half an hour, and got two pizzas. They were cut all weird (Like if Sandra Lee did it), and they tasted awful. Worst part was, my parents were going on and on about how “Good” it was. Terrible.

  150. GristleMcThornbody says:

    The two best places I’ve had pizza are Luigi’s in Fairfield, CT and Carmine’s in Brooklyn. I however, live at least 250 miles from both places, with no good pizza within 65 miles of where I live. My life is sad.

  151. Eric says:

    You people have no clue. Pepe’s does not hype itself. It is like a very good movie that others hype beyond belief and could never meet the hyped expectations. It is also a bit like wine, some may like it, some may hate it. So be it. I love it, I love Sally’s and Modern. They are all very good.

  152. Louis says:

    i thought pepe’s tasted like a grilled cheese. i wasnt impressed. i thought to myself, i could have made something at home that tasted exactly like this

  153. Paul McGhee says:

    Pepe’s pizza is very good. Everyone knows that. But if you have a web site and you’re a really clever, cool blogger, you have to stand out from the crowd with your really important opinions.

    I’ve had their pizza, more than once. I know food. The Pizza is excellent.

    Your blog, however, seems a little self important and jack-assy.

  154. Ed says:

    Taro’s in Millerton, NY. EXCELLENT every time.

  155. Judith says:

    Hmm, guess I’m glad I didn’t stand in the long line, today. Instead, I went down to Anastasio’s (same side of the road, just down the block), and figured I’d take a chance on their pie. I ordered a large in thirds…many places balk at that, but they were fine with it…ordered green peppers, garlic, and bacon, respectively, with extra sauce. What we got was a real New Haven, Italian pie experience! The crust was thin and crispy, the cheese was not over-loaded, peppers were sweet, and the bacon was piled high, and crisp, not limp and uncooked like I have had at other places.
    So, while I have no opinion on Pepe’s pizza, I can say that, if you want a great Italian apizza, and you either don’t like Pepe’s, or you don’t want to stand in line, go a bit further down the road, and you won’t be disappointed! In fact, my dad said it was the best he has ever had.
    Judith – Milford

  156. Lynne says:

    There is a reason there is a long line. The reason is that the food is good and the pizza is great. People would not keep coming back if it wasn’t and then there would be no line. Pepe’s has been around since I was a little girl and I’m now in my 40″s and we stood in line back then to wait for a table. The pizza is just as good now as it was then. No complaints here!

  157. Jeff says:

    Try Luna pizza … best apizza I have EVER had …

  158. Needle says:

    You can say what you want about the service at Pepe’s. However, when you say the pizza is disgusting, you reveal that you are totally clueless concerning Pepe’s or pizza in general. In fact, I am curious how you became a part of Food Network? Are you are relative or a major stockholder or something? Clearly you know little or nothing about food. Pepe’s Pizza sucks? Mai non. You suck.

    • RachelNM says:

      I’m sorry. I’m a few months late on responding to this comment but the ignorance was a little overwhelming.

      Jillian Madison is a blogger. She has NO AFFILIATION WHATSOEVER with the Food Network itself, as she has repeatedly said in many blog entries over the past few years. She just watches the Food Network, laughs, makes fun of it and I love her for it.

      “Are you are relative”<<?? Really? Clearly, you know little or nothing about basic grammar.

  159. Stephen says:

    Pepe’s is the best, just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean others can’t, you suck. I rest my case.

  160. lola says:

    i am from nyc and my aunt who lived there said best pizza EVER i think and told her WORST PIZZA EVER!!!!!!!!! I could not have pizza from a month.

  161. Tom says:

    Pizza is a comfort food that you get used to when you are growing up. I grew up in NYC and have to say Pepes is one of the best pizzas I have ever had. Jillian must be used to Papa Johns and Pizza Hut. Sorry this is not a California pizza. It is a real Italian Pie.

    • More like you must be used to licking the bottom of chimneys.

      • Mark says:

        Jill, I agree wholeheartedly with you. Pepe’s is overrated. Modern used to be good but has since gone downhill. Last time I went to Modern I waited 55 minutes to get an undercooked, doughy, salty pizza. If you like the apizza style then perhaps try Salerno’s in Stratford. It is in my opinion the epitome of apizza. If you don’t like that style then Papa’s pizza in Milford is pretty good, but go to Papa’s 2, not the original.

  162. Joe says:

    i never considered any pizza in CT to be good. i spent 8 years of my life living near Chicago, great pizza, deep or thin!!

    most pizzeria’s blow in CT. at least the one’s by my house. my buddy and i went to Franks on his suggestion. my first coal fired pizza. this was great!! thin, crisp crust, good tomatoes, great cheese. we got a sausage and a margarita. delicious.

  163. Bob says:

    Jillian, I couldn’t agree more with you. My first experience with Pepe’s was when they came to Fairfield, CT. My wife and I were excited about the “famous” pizza place opening up in town and we endured the one hour wait outside, it was a nice summer night and we thought it would be well worth it. What we found was absolute burnt swill that looked like someone literally threw on a tray. It was shocking. There was nothing, absolutely nothing good about this pizza. It is insulting, and made for suckers who are dumb enough like us to believe the hype. The crust was burnt, hard as a rock, very little sauce and just awful, we left after one gross slice apiece. Today, I went with some friends to Pepes in New Haven who drove very far to try out this “acclaimed” pizza. I’m a fair guy and thought maybe my last experience was a rare off night and thought that headquarters in New Haven would show me differently. What did we get? A wait of 45 minutes in the cold and again, the worst in edible swill I ever tasted. To anyone who says how wonderful this crap is, you must be friends with the owner or have never been out of town. This is the WORST pizza I ever had. Tastes differ so if you like burnt hard/chewy crust with very little cheese or sauce or sauce, thrown on a tray, then god bless you, but Pepes will never get another dime from me.

    • Gary says:

      Have been going to Pepes for 40 years and it was always very good. Over the years we have experienced sub par to poor pizzas. Just went today to Manchester and the pizza was very dry and tasteless . For many years In New Haven I stood and watched the pizzas being made while we waited for a table.I watched the pizzas being made today and noticed they didn’t put grated cheese or olive oil on the pizzas. I think quality control has been lost with the expansion and the loss of the old family members involvement in the business. The pizza crust was always chewy and burnt, but always a moist and tasty pizza like no other.

  164. rick says:

    Why do you keep going back

  165. I must respectfully disagree with you and your very biased review of Pepe’s pizza in New Haven.

    The first two things you said about the Pepe’s had nothing to do with the most imortant part of Pepe’s: the pizza.

    Let’s face it Pepe’s is not for everyone. On this we will agree. However, the crust you showed in the video was a classic Pepe’s crust.

    You are absolutely correct: about the crust. When you cook pizza in a coal fired oven you will get the black char on the crust. And that to me is what makes Pepe’s so special.

    You also did not talk about the Classic clam Pizza which is Pepe’s most famous. Have a clam pizza, then let’s talk.

    For someone from Connecticut, I am also shocked and surprised you did not talk about the other great pizza in New Haven: Sally’s Apizza, Modern Apizza and the new up and coming Bar Pizza.

    There is a lot of GREAT pizza in Connecticut. I don’t want to take anything away from the great pizza in New York, but check out your own back yard, first.

    For example The Recovery Room in New London is another great pizza. Also Little Rendezvous
    in Meridan has great pizza. Of course, Roseland in Derby is probably the most under rated pizza in the state.

    As I have always said, you are the ultimae judge as to who makes the best pizza. And I wish you the best in all of your pizza advetures.

    pizza on earth, good will to all!
    albert grande

  166. bob b says:

    Pepe’s is perhaps in pizza the most overrated place on the planet. I went there twice and it’s good but it’s nowhere near great. I would say it’s a step above chain restaurants. It isn’t all that flavorful to begin with and all you taste from the dough is charcoal and saltiness in every bite. Now I like some brick and wood oven charcoal taste on my pizza but at Pepe’s IT IS the crust. The only thing you get out of going there is a massive amount of wasted time from waiting outside for so long just to get into the place and a hole in your wallet. People only like the place because of the hype, if there wasn’t any hype for the place the amount of fans the place has would be cut in half. They probably do pay off critics to do good reviews of the place. Save your money and go somewhere local that’s actually good, you don’t have to wait 5 hours to get in, and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to eat.

  167. kitty says:

    I am a New Yorker with Bronx roots now living in Ct.
    Sad to say that I have not yet found pizza that is great here. I have resorted to now making my own
    in a makeshift brickoven. When I do get the urge for
    a pizzeria pizza I usually go to the new Frank Pepe’s
    in Danbury,Ct. It suffices but it’s not Grimaldi’s or
    Lombardo’s. I am thankful that I found this post because I will use some of these recom-
    mendations in my search for a truly great pizza. One thing to remember is that pizza taste is subjective and that we all equate what is the “best”
    with what most of us have grown up on. Pizza is a comfort food and awakens memories of past…as seen in many posts, thats why we are so passionate about it. My next stop will be Modern or
    Zuppardo’s in search of a decent NY type pie.

  168. ex-Pepe's fan says:

    Pepe’s was once excellent! I grew up ~100 miles away, and as teenagers, we would drive all the way to New Haven for it. I’ve known people who drove from Virginia as a day trip for Pepe’s clam pies.

    I moved to New Haven 10 years ago and felt it wasn’t worth the wait as a local (mostly got white clams and veggie bombs at Modern, but I never see myself driving 100 miles to get a pie from there now. Also, don’t knock the mashed potato pie at BAR until you try it, but BAR’s kind of terrible in other ways). I went back to Pepe’s 2 years ago with someone who had grown up loving it and it was terrible. Perhaps even more disturbingly, the pies are now round instead of oddly rectangular.

    All the old timers who remember Pepe’s are right — it was great. But they should never go back (or to one of the franchise locations) or their memories will be tainted by the recent, entirely negative changes. And they have to not read current reviews on the internet.

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