The foodie traveller on New Haven’s pizza wars

July 3, 2015

In the Connecticut, home of Yale University, they eat not pizza but ‘apizza’ – made to an old Neapolitan recipe and the subject of a family rivalry

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New York has its foldable sidewalk slices, Chicago its buttery-crusted deep-dish, but many would argue that the best pizza in the US – or anywhere – is found in New Haven, Connecticut, home of Yale University. Here, the “apizza” (pronounced ah-beets) traces its roots and distinctive nickname back to Neapolitan immigrants, though it has evolved into something to horrify purists back in the old country.

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It all began in 1925 when baker Frank Pepe started making thin-crust “tomato pies” in a coke-fired oven at his eponymous restaurant, Frank Pepe at 157 Wooster Street. The standard dish consisted of nothing more than lightly charred, slow-fermented dough with tomato sauce. Mozzarella – “mootz” – was extra. A scattering of garlicky fresh clams later became the signature topping.

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