The Best Pizza Shops in New Haven

Close up on a clam Pizza from Frank Pepe in New Haven
Image by Michael Talalaev / Getty Images

Forget politics. In the city of New Haven, Connecticut—home to Yale University and the birthplace of the hamburger—pizza is the most contentious subject of debate. Well, in New Have it's actually apizza (pronounced "ah-BEETS"). The city has its own style of pie that is not only distinctive, it consistently earns the city's pizza shops mention among the top pizza places in the nation.

There's little agreement among residents, though, about which New Haven pizza place is the ultimate destination for the city's signature oblong, coal-fired, crisp, and blistered thin-crust pies. In this guide, we'll take a close look at the top contenders and venture just a bit afield to ensure you don't miss other worthy pizza delights while you're visiting Connecticut's second-largest city.

01 of 08

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana

Cooks prepare and bake pizzas at Frank Pepe's Pizzeria
Christopher Capozziello / Getty Images
Address
157 Wooster St, New Haven, CT 06511, USA
Phone +1 203-865-5762

If you don't have time to taste them all, for history's sake, head straight to the home of the original apizza. Frank Pepe, an Italian immigrant, is credited with inventing New Haven's style of tomato pie, sprinkled with grated cheese and cooked to charcoal-black on the bottom and edges. That was in 1925, and today, Frank's grandchildren continue to operate the flagship restaurant on Wooster Street in New Haven's Little Italy as well as 11 additional locations in the Northeast. Purists will want to try Frank's invention, topped simply with crushed tomatoes, olive oil, grated Pecorino Romano, and herbs. Then, order a second pie topped with mozzarella and your favorite meats, veggies, or seafood. Patience is a virtue here: The flavors released by the shop's single, 600-degree F brick oven are worth the wait.

02 of 08

Sally's Apizza

Two pizza pies on a table at Sally's Apizza Outdoor Patio New Haven

Kim Knox Beckius

Address
237 Wooster St, New Haven, CT 06511-5752, USA
Phone +1 203-624-5271

The rivalry between Pepe's and Sally's is legendary. Even Frank Sinatra chose a side (Sally's). The two pizza shops are a block apart on Wooster Street, so it's easy to put them head-to-head yourself. Sally's, which debuted in 1938, has continued to earn high praises since the business changed hands in 2017, and its covered outdoor patio with walk-up ordering is a welcome addition. Fans of Sally's tend to credit the flavorful, less-charred crust as the source of their affection.

The outstanding pie to try here is the white potato: It's topped with thin-sliced potato rounds, onions, rosemary, mozzarella, and Parmesan. There's a second location in Stamford, Connecticut.

03 of 08

Modern Apizza

White Clam Pizza with lemon wedges at Modern Apizza in New Haven

Kim Knox Beckius

Address
874 State St, New Haven, CT 06511, USA
Phone +1 203-776-5306

A fixture on State Street since 1936, Modern completes the "holy trinity" of New Haven pizza shops. If you like white clam pies—or any flavorfully topped pizza—you may find Modern's your favorite of the bunch. Here, the brick oven is powered by oil, not coal, so the thin crust is crunchier and more golden brown than black, without the charred flavor that competes with toppings like garlicky, lemon-spritzed clams. The crust also holds up under topping pileups like the Italian Bomb's bacon, sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, peppers, and garlic. Wash the deliciousness down with an old-timey Foxon Park soda like white birch beer or cream, made in East Haven for nearly 100 years.

04 of 08

BAR

Mashed Potato and broccoli Pizza at BAR in New Haven

Carl Lender / Flickr / CC by 2.0

Address
254 Crown St, New Haven, CT 06511, USA
Phone +1 203-495-8924

New Haven's 21 and up pizza spot is a nightclub that also happens to have darn good New Haven-style pies with a twist. BAR's claim to fame is its mashed potato pizza, order it as a white pie with garlic, mozzarella, and bacon. It's a decadent combo, but the thin crust keeps you from feeling too weighed down to dance after dining. Don't overlook BAR's signature green salad with pear slices, caramelized pecans, and crumbled blue cheese. Come back for an egg-topped brunch pizza on the weekends.

Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08

Zuppardi's Apizza

White clam pizza on a metal tray

Courtesy of Zuppardi's Apizza

Address
179 Union Ave, West Haven, CT 06516, USA
Phone +1 203-934-1949

Over in West Haven, just 3 miles from Wooster Street, you'll find traditional New Haven-style pizza without the crowds at the city's big three shops. Walk beneath the green-white-and-red-striped awning and into the warm environment of a business that's been operated by the same family since 1934.

Zuppardi's is famous for its fresh clam pizza swimming in fresh-shucked littlenecks and for "The Special": a red pie graced with mozzarella, mushrooms, and Zuppardi's own homemade fennel sausage. Here's another thing that sets Zuppardi's apart from the competition: Its New Haven-style pies can be ordered online for shipment to you anywhere in the 50 states.

06 of 08

Roseland Apizza

Person holding a pizz with many toppings on a metal pizza peel

Courtesy of Roseland Apizza

Address
350 Hawthorne Ave, Derby, CT 06418, USA
Phone +1 203-735-0494

It's a half-hour drive west of New Haven's Wooster Street, but Roseland Apizza should be in the mix if you really want to get your thin-crust pizza fix while you're in the area. Located in the New Haven County city of Derby, this restaurant has been run by the same family since 1935, and everything they serve here is over the top. Both in quality and portion size. You're going to find the best pizza options du jour listed on a "specialty" chalkboard in the back. Roseland is known for its seafood ponsinella pie topped with a pound of lobster, plus scallops and shrimp. It comes with a bit of a thicker crust and a hefty price tag.

07 of 08

Da Legna x Nolo

Mushroom and ricotta pizza served with lemon on dark wood table

Courtesy Da Legna x Nolo

Address
687 State St, New Haven, CT 06511, USA
Phone +1 203-891-7704

If you want to branch out from the style of pie that put Connecticut on the pizza map, you should try the sourdough-crust beauties Chef Daniel Parillo makes in his scratch kitchen at Da Legna x Nolo. These artisan pizzas—like the Honeypot topped with San Marzano tomatoes, hot peppers, onions, soppressata, and truffle honey—can be paired with wine or specialty cocktails. There are vegan options, and a gluten-free crust can be substituted for any traditional or gourmet pizza you choose.

08 of 08

Est Est Est Pizza

buffalo chicken pizza on an outdoor table

Courtesy of Est Est Est Pizza

Address
1176 Chapel St, New Haven, CT 06511, USA
Phone +1 203-777-2059

On a budget? In a hurry? Can't agree with your dining companions about toppings? Or on your own and really only want a slice of pizza? Do as Yale students do, and pop into Est Est Est for affordable specialty slices. Located a block away from the Yale University Art Gallery and Yale Center for British Art, this modest spot's thin-crust pies aren't traditional New Haven-style, but they'll fill you up in a pinch.

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