Locals swear by it, and out-of-towners travel from afar to get their hands on it: New Haven pizza is an institution. “Apizza,” (pronounced ahh-beetz) is the moniker for the thin, coal-fired, unevenly charred but delightfully chewy and crispy crust that’s exclusive to the Elm City.
Must-Try Pie: Italian Bomb
Slightly away from the center of downtown, Modern is a neighborhood favorite with one of the friendlier staffs. The Italian Bomb is a hefty pie with sausage, bacon, pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, peppers, and garlic, which will keep not only vampires away but your date, too. Try their “plain” (light mozzarella, Pecorino Romano, chunky red sauce, olive oil, and oregano) for a pure pizza experience.
Must-Try Pie: Mashed potato and bacon
BAR doesn’t have the rich history of the other New Haven joints (ask them if they care). The crust pays tribute, but they’re flipping the script with pies like hand-whipped mashed potato with chopped bacon and mozzarella, and collaborations with nearby cheese-shop Caseus on Tuesdays. What else separates BAR? It’s also a microbrewery, live-music venue, and nightclub, and, unlike the rest, they sling giant slices after dark.
Must-Try Pie: Tomato Pie
Only open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday, expect one- to two-hour waits during peak hours, sometimes surly customer service, and a tattered (albeit charming) dining room. But Sally’s is damn good and arguably has New Haven’s best charred crust that stands up to any topping. If you’re a purist, come here and get their tomato pie with a little “mootz” (it’s considered a topping), or none at all, because no one does this version better.
Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana
Must-Try Pie: White clam (Pro Tip: Add bacon)
True, there’s a location in Yonkers, but if you’re in town, you might as well stop by. If you do, Pepe’s white-clam pie uses fresh-shucked Rhode Island littlenecks and packs a garlicky punch. In summer months, fans line up for their fresh tomato pie, loaded with local tomatoes, garlic, basil, and mozzarella.