Author Topic: Pepe's Pizza (New Haven, CT)  (Read 23836 times)

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Offline Steve

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Pepe's Pizza (New Haven, CT)
« on: April 11, 2003, 02:17:22 PM »
Has anyone eaten at Pepe's Pizza in New Haven, CT?

I'm planning a road trip to visit a friend in Connecticut and was thinking about making the 45-minute drive to New Haven for some pizza.


toto

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Re:Pepe's Pizza (New Haven, CT)
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2003, 01:55:42 PM »
Gotta do it!!!! Awesome!

thatbrian

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Re:Pepe's Pizza (New Haven, CT)
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2003, 05:10:45 PM »
Steve,

Pepe's is pretty good some would say excelent.  I would give it an 8.5 myself, I've been there about a dozen times.  If you like paperthin crust and are anywhere near Stamford, CT when you visit you have to try Colony Grill pizza.  I have been going there since I was knee high to a grasshopper and I think there is none better that I have tasted.

Have a good trip

Offline Randy

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Re:Pepe's Pizza (New Haven, CT)
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2003, 06:35:38 PM »
Take some picture.
 

Offline svapne

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Re:Pepe's Pizza (New Haven, CT)
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2004, 04:24:18 PM »
Been going there since I was born ( at Yale New Haven none the less )...

Every time I'm in CT I visit Pepe's and I have found no equal anywhere.

I also enjoy Zuppardi's Apizza in West Haven.

Started making pizza at home about 3 months ago and Pepe's has been my inspiration and my goal...

Highly recommended..
http://www.binaryrevelations.com/wsd/images/pepe.jpg
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Offline Steve

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Re:Pepe's Pizza (New Haven, CT)
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2004, 07:28:41 PM »
svapne, you say that you started making pizza at home and that Pepe's has been your inspiration.

Do you have a recipe that's similar to Pepe's?


Offline svapne

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Re:Pepe's Pizza (New Haven, CT)
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2004, 09:38:10 AM »
I wish...  ;D

I just don't think 3 months has been enough time, but it has been a fun and tasty time.

I have gone and watched them make pies there and gleened a few tips but nothing I have not seen posted here. I am really still just learning the basics, but I have already been told by people who have tasted my "experiments" that it is some of the best pizza they have tasted in the area.. Which is not really saying that much, since we really only have Papa Ginos and the occational town pizza place. Nothing like the great NY or NH pizza places; not really even the same food. But I am getting there.

BTW just let me say how great this site is. I wish I had found it earlier when I started making pizza; it's a great community and have been reading constantly since I found it...

When I do finally come up with what I think is a resonable homage to Pepe's I will post it here. I really need to start a pizza diary and keep track of the changes I make and what works and does not work.

I had found this link the other day that talks about Pepe's pizza and some of the ingredients and techniques used in making it;

http://www.pmq.com/hotwheels.shtml

 -Scott
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Offline andylipp

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Re:Pepe's Pizza (New Haven, CT)
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2004, 06:39:46 PM »
Iíve been trying to emulate a Pepeís pie at home for 20 years.  Every year I get a bit closer.  My buddy and I used to go there on Saturday afternoons and just stare at the pizza makers hoping to pick up tips for our own homemade pizza ventures.

We also used to try to pry secrets out of the manager/pizzamaker from time to time, with limited success.  Here are a few tips we picked up that might be helpful.

Sauce:  Sclafani San Marzano tomatoes and salt.  Thatís it. (canít swear they donít switch brands occasionally)

Flour: He recommended Gold Medal ďBetter for BreadĒ flour as being the closest consumer flour to the commercial stuff he used. Very high moisture content to the dough. Pepeís standard dough rise time is 8 hours. Also, they never roll the dough; only press it out by hand. Rolling or stretching is said to negatively affect the crumb structure.

Oven Temp:  600F.  Their coal-fired oven is a wonder to behold.

We could never get him to tell us what brand of mozz they used, but I suspect it was local (I know Calabro cheese is distributed from New Haven, and have had good success with it).  Cheese is always sliced, never shredded.

Iíve also been told, and it stands to reason, that the New Haven water is particularly well suited for pizza dough.  That would explain the existence of 3 world-class pizzas on one street (Pepeís, Sallyís and the Spot).

Offline svapne

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Re:Pepe's Pizza (New Haven, CT)
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2004, 10:19:29 PM »
Oh.. and don't forget about Zuppardi's in West Haven either  ;D

BTW if you look on the Calabro site:

http://www.calabrocheese.com/

On the product page is says this:

'Whole Milk, Part Skim Mozzarella
Our Mozzarella is soft and elastic in texture and creamy white in color. It bakes consistently to perfect stringiness and has become a standard not only on the dairy shelves, but in the institutional markets as well. Frank J. Pepe's Pizza of New Haven, where the pizza originated, uses exclusively our Mozzarella.'

Up here in MA, most Whole Foods ( http://www.wholefoods.com/ ) markets carry the whole line of calabro cheese.

I have spent a lot of time too watching them make their pies. Seems amazingly simple until you try to do it.. I am slowly putting together a recipe that I will post as soon as I am moderately satisfied; I'm not going to fool myself into believing I will acually get all the way there, but I'd be satisfied with something close  ;).

For a few insider tips, check out this article:

http://www.pmq.com/hotwheels.shtml

I'd love to trade tips with you, although I'm afraid if I actually come close I may never leave the house.. Pepe's has to be my favorite food and I always feel like a kid again going back there maybe that is part of the magic.

-Scott

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Offline andylipp

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Re:Pepe's Pizza (New Haven, CT)
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2004, 08:59:15 AM »
Scott.

Thanks for clarifying the Calabro/Pepe's thing for me.

Have you tried Randy's Wooster Street Pizza? Personally, I'm underwhelmed by his Pepe's "homage" as it is described in the article you linked.

Offline svapne

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Re:Pepe's Pizza (New Haven, CT)
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2004, 10:01:31 AM »
I have not tried it yet.. Too bad it sounds like it falls short from what you say, but then again I'm sure he is making a pizza the way he wants instead of a exact duplicate.. All the more reason to keep trying at home  :D

-Scott
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Pizzacko

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Re:Pepe's Pizza (New Haven, CT)
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2004, 07:33:03 PM »
Hey.....i have a question to ask. How do you pronounce Pepe, "Peep" or "Peepee" ;D. Just a question.

Offline Steve

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Re:Pepe's Pizza (New Haven, CT)
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2004, 08:25:46 PM »
Hey.....i have a question to ask. How do you pronounce Pepe, "Peep" or "Peepee" ;D. Just a question.

I am pretty sure it's pronounced "Peh-Pees"

old6537

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Re:Pepe's Pizza (New Haven, CT)
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2004, 02:17:08 PM »
Just out of curiosity, Steve started this string almost one year ago. Did you ever make it to Pepe's and how was it ?

Offline Steve

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Re:Pepe's Pizza (New Haven, CT)
« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2004, 03:18:03 PM »
Just out of curiosity, Steve started this string almost one year ago. Did you ever make it to Pepe's and how was it ?

Unfortunately, I did not get to visit Connecticut. My friend ended up moving shortly after I started the thread.  :(

Offline svapne

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Re:Pepe's Pizza (New Haven, CT)
« Reply #15 on: March 23, 2004, 09:26:42 PM »
Next time I go down to Pepe's I should foodsave some and ship it  ;D

-Scott
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Offline Philo

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Re: Pepe's Pizza (New Haven, CT)
« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2005, 11:34:21 AM »
The way it sounds I think I'd be happy with a pizza that's half as good as Pepe's.  It's slim pickins where I'm at in a small town in N. Minnesota. 


A friend of mine is opening a family amusement center and billiards, kind of like a huge chuckee cheese but not so cheesy.  In a round about way I aquired some restraunt equipment and pizza ovens and am putting it in this new place.  The place I got the equipment from had decent pizza for this area, but nothing even close
to Pepe's.

I wish there was a pizza making recipe just somewhat close to Pepe's.  The pizza eating people of the town would probably think it was the best thing since sliced bread.  :)


Offline PizzaBrewer

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Re: Pepe's Pizza (New Haven, CT)
« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2005, 12:57:11 PM »
Philo:  Where in MN and when do you plan to open?

---Guy
Man does not live by bread alone.  There's also tomato, cheese and pepperoni.

Offline varasano

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Re: Pepe's Pizza (New Haven, CT)
« Reply #18 on: May 14, 2005, 01:56:58 PM »
Pepe's is good. Sally's next door is better.

andylipp, the water thing is largely a myth, as you will see if you hang out on this site long enough. Any good bottled or filtered water is just fine.  There are a lot of other factors that are much more important. That block has 3 good places because of the traditions that are found there.  I too have been trying for years to make the right pie. This site is a wealth of information, but you have to wade through a lot of myth too.  Click the globe under my name for some of my photos and theory behind all this.

Jeff

Offline Philo

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Re: Pepe's Pizza (New Haven, CT)
« Reply #19 on: May 18, 2005, 07:33:13 AM »
Guy,

   Grand Rapids.  Planning on mid June.  Researching to find the best pizza.

Offline CDNpielover

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Re: Pepe's Pizza (New Haven, CT)
« Reply #20 on: June 21, 2005, 07:12:44 PM »
Guy,

   Grand Rapids.  Planning on mid June.  Researching to find the best pizza.

well check out carbones in minnesota (there are several over the twin cities).  one of the best chicago style thin crusts I've ever had.   ;D

Offline chamberi

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Re: Pepe's Pizza (New Haven, CT)
« Reply #21 on: June 28, 2005, 06:53:37 PM »
Is Pepe's considered a NY style pizza or some hybrid NY/neopolitan? That is, if I'm trying to recreate Pepe's pies, should I be following the NY style or the neopolitan style recipes & techniques on this site?

I also like Modern's a lot too (i think it's on state street). Sadly, I've never had Sally's (and now live on the left coast - so doubt i'll ever get the chance).

thanks.

Offline scott r

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Re: Pepe's Pizza (New Haven, CT)
« Reply #22 on: July 07, 2005, 01:43:11 PM »
chamberi,

I think you will have better luck making the NY style crusts, specifically those designed for high heat without oil or sugar.† I just spent the last 11 days in new york working, and I tried 11 pizzerias plus pepe's on the way down.† The Neapolitan style crusts are much softer than what pepe's is doing.† As you know, pepe's is actually a little tough, and somewhat brittle from the high heat.† The true Neapolitan dough that I tried (una pizza napolitana) was the absolute opposite end of the spectrum.† I could have rolled the dough into a pinwheel. All the famous NY coal oven joints that I tried were right in the middle, somewhat soft but also crispy.
If you really want to get the pepe's crust right buy yourself some Pillsbury full strength flour.† This is not their high gluten (all trumps) variety, but a variety with less protien.† I think it is their version of bread flour. I saw bags of it while I was there, so I know this is what they are using.† Make a fairly high hydration dough with no oil or sugar and crank that oven.† Even better, rig it to cook in the self cleaning cycle.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2005, 02:04:35 PM by scott r »

Offline chamberi

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Re: Pepe's Pizza (New Haven, CT)
« Reply #23 on: July 08, 2005, 07:28:47 PM »
Thanks Scott,

This is probably better suited for the NY Style pizza making forum, but... I had been making my pies with KASL, and just started to use Caputo 00. I'll have to try the pilsbury. Sadly, i have no self-cleaning... so 500-550 is tops in my oven (with quarry tile). I just tried the caputo on a outdoor grill, but it only got to 600 (550 on the stone). Oh, and I finally got a sourdough starter to work w/o additional yeast - improved crust flavor, but not as much as i would've hoped.

I'm jealous of your trek. Any surprises or new resaturant rec's?

Thanks for your help and the info, it's much appreciated.

Offline scott r

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Re: Pepe's Pizza (New Haven, CT)
« Reply #24 on: July 09, 2005, 04:48:33 AM »
I'll bet you used the starter dough too early.  Try a long room temp rise.   You will be able to get too much flavor with a starter if you want to.    It will get more sour than yeasty, but when done right it is really amazing and complex. 
When I have more time I am going to copy down my notes from my NY trip into a post.  Most of the places I tried were quite well known, but there was one very nice surprise.  The best sauce I had on the whole trip was from a place called Anconas on long island.  Fresh cryo pack mozzarella, and a fairly typical NY street pizza crust.   The whole package was a nice combination of styles.  They also had what they call a Grandma style (Sicilian) pie that had a thinner sauce, but I liked the round sauce better.  It was cool to have a Sicilian with fresh cheese, though.
The only other places that I tried that were surprises (just in that they are not famous) were Johnny's in Mt. Vernon and Brooklyn Coal Fired pizza, a small New Jersey Chain.  Johnny's was more addictive than cool ranch doritos, and Brooklyn CFP was pretty darn close to Grimaldi's in style and quality.