The Ernie's Special, a classic sausage and mushroom pie.
Something magical happens when you drive far enough up Whalley Avenue: the urban grind of New Haven disappears, and you enter Westville. Suddenly everything is quaint, and even the Chinese restaurants, laundromats, and countless other strip mall businesses develop a neighborhood feel. As Yale students, maybe we were just especially conscious of the fact that we were no longer in the “Yale bubble,” but the change seemed deeper than that.
Ernie’s, we realized, is the perfect neighborhood place you’ve never heard of: a restaurant that attracts few visitors from afar, and is instead content to serve wholesome food to the people who live nearby.
The red pie with mozzarella at Dayton Street Apizza.
Dayton Street Apizza lies just a few miles up Whalley Avenue from downtown New Haven, but it feels well off the beaten path. This restaurant is a true neighborhood place: an unpretentious takeout joint with just 14 seats, it is hardly a destination restaurant like New Haven’s Big Three, and most of its residents are Westville locals from just down the street.
We were surprised, then, that the New Haven Advocate said it had pies “to rival Wooster Street.” Continue reading
Red pie with mozzarella at BAR
If the world of New Haven pizza were an ecosystem, BAR might be its platypus. A strange animal that seems difficult to categorize, this brewpub/dance club/pizzeria is undoubtedly distinct from its traditional coal-oven cousins, yet it cranks out thin-crust pies that place it right up there with the best of them. While Sally’s and Pepe’s have an old-world mystique to them, BAR is the youthful underdog. With its throngs of Yalies, handcrafted microbrews, and iconoclastic mashed potato pizza, it doesn’t aim to mimic the venerable palaces of Wooster Street, but it still threatens to top them.
The gorgeous red pie with mozzarella at Roseland. Slick with oil and deliciously cheesy.
When Stephen, Margo, and I decided to make the 20-minute trek out to Derby to visit Roseland Apizza, we knew we were in for a treat. This neighborhood joint has been extolled by none other than Roadfood guru Michael Stern, who calls Roseland “one of the great pizzerias in Connecticut, ergo one of the best on earth.” Although acknowledging Roseland’s myriad temptations—”honest bread with old-time character,” fried calamari with a “shattering-crisp crust,” and pasta specials ranging from lobster ravioli to a classic spaghetti and meatballs—Stern concedes that this is first and foremost a pizza place. “Whatever else you eat, you must eat pizza when you come to Roseland.” Continue reading
Welcome to the New Haven Pizza Project, a blog run by two pizza-loving Yale University seniors who will be spending a full semester hunting down the most delicious New Haven-style pizza in and around the Elm City, a.k.a. New Haven, Connecticut.
Our plan? To visit a dozen of the most traditional local pizza places: not just Pepe’s and Sally’s, the inescapable giants of Wooster Street, but also lesser-known gems including Roseland Apizza and Zuppardi’s. Eating our way through mounds of chewy crust and cheesy “muzz” (that’s mozzarella for you non-New Haveners), we will rate each pizzeria and develop what may be the sole comprehensive guide to New Haven’s best pizza places.
So sit back, relax, and enjoy. If you’re at all like us, you might find yourself running out for a slice sometime soon, or even a whole pie.