Author Topic: Pepe's of New Haven #3  (Read 4018 times)

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Offline apizza

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Pepe's of New Haven #3
« on: October 19, 2007, 10:55:14 AM »
Pepe's opened a third place, in Manchester, CT. Here's a review.

http://www.courant.com/entertainment/dining/reviews/hc-flavorrev1018.artoct18,0,2476844.story

I think he liked it.  :pizza:


Online Pete-zza

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Re: Pepe's of New Haven #3
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2007, 11:30:53 AM »
I have discovered that over time newspaper articles tend to disappear. So, I have copied and pasted below the article found by apizza.

Pepe's Is Still Upper Crust
Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, 221 Buckland Hills Drive, Manchester, 860-644-7333, www.pepespizzeria.com
By GREG MORAGO

Courant Staff Writer

October 18, 2007

In one of my favorite short stories, Truman Capote describes an author who has been living handsomely for years based on the critical success of one early novel and a couple of short stories. The author wisely realizes that her fame would take a precipitous drop if her work were more frequent and more available to the masses. "Like the value of diamonds, her prestige depended upon a controlled and limited output," Capote wrote.

So many things are like that. Louis Vuitton and Hermès know that if you make enough handbags at a price everyone can afford, then there's nothing prestigious or exclusive about owning one. Some movie stars know that the less you allow of yourself, the higher your stock. Limited supplies of truffles and caviar make them all the more coveted.

I consider the validity of these truisms when visiting the venerated Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, which, improbably, has opened shop in Manchester. Now with two branches (the other in Fairfield) of the original holy temple of pizza in New Haven, one has to wonder how special Pepe's can be if it continues to make itself more available. Until the Fairfield branch opened last year, you could only get what many consider the world's best pizza at one place. That brilliant exclusivity was as central to the Pepe's mythology as the infamous waits were part of the overall Pepe's experience. Lose that control factor of exclusivity, and what do you end up with? Domino's?

Shut your filthy mouth! Having been to the new Pepe's in Manchester, I'm happy to report that the pizza is magnificent. The same charred, chewy crust; the same sweet slather of vivid tomato sauce; the same luscious melt of blistered cheese. One has to assume that the owners governing the sacred Pepe's name and product refused to branch out until they could honestly replicate not just the life-altering pizza but the entire Pepe's experience.

If that is true, the owners have been exceedingly diligent. Manchester's Pepe's is faithful in look (and, to a lesser degree, atmosphere) to the original, right down to the oven, the kitchen's white tiled walls, the bare-bones booths, the good-old-days photos on the walls, even the annoyingly small drinking glasses. But this is not a schooled Pepe's clientele. For one thing, they're unfamiliar with the formation of the line and how it works. This, on the two visits I made, caused the locals to complain and tempers to rise for even something ridiculously short as a 30-minute wait, which for New Haven is nothing.

Therein lies my complaint about this spawn of the mother ship. Why does Manchester, with its unappetizing glut of cookie-cutter chain restaurants and its seemingly bottomless appetite for the ordinary, score this unique gem? (Perhaps only the folks at Cavey's can appreciate this tasty irony.) How is it that these palates, which have developed an alarming affection for the endless salad bowl, are graced with one of the most extraordinary taste sensations known to man? Is this some cruel joke by the food gods?

Let us stop sniggering and start eating. On my first visit, I play the classicist, opting for an original tomato pie with grated cheese. It is a wonderful thing: the crunch of heat-scorched dough with a thin painting of tomato and a judicious sprinkling of salty cheese. This is the benchmark. Or is it the white clam? That, too, is divine. We ordered our white clam pie (one of life's most quirky but endearing food experiences) with bacon. No mozzarella, just the garlic and olive oil. Have the smelling salts handy because you might faint from happiness. The bubbles in the crust create small tidal pools where the fresh clam liquor collects and mingles with the bacon fat. Hit one of these pockets just right, and your tongue is in for delirium - the bracing sea smack, the rush of garlic and the piggy tug of bacon. One dining companion begged us to feed him another slice and then strap him to a recliner from the adjacent La-Z-Boy furniture store and let him die a happy man.

We understand the feeling. It's almost as good with the mozzarella and pepperoni pie. Marvelous. Another visit brings a delicious sausage and onion, a soulful plain red sauce and mozzarella (another textbook pie), and a pleasing chicken. Is it Pepe's fault that we combined salami and spinach and were left underwhelmed? No. Which is a lesson to a new generation of Pepe fans: Don't overload your pie, and stay away from combinations that won't work (vegetable pies are, for me, something to be avoided).

However you slice it, Pepe's is a marvel. The Manchester oven is churning out the pies for lines that form every night. The legend grows, however unlikely, in the Buckland Hills - and soon, points beyond. According to a Pepe's manager, two more stores bearing pizza's most legendary name are due in another year in Connecticut. Exclusivity, at least the type that's critical to one-of-a-kind experiences, seems not to be in the company's model.

But Pepe's doesn't have to worry about sullying the brand. Not with pizza as excellent, as special, as perfect as this.

Offline deb415611

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Re: Pepe's of New Haven #3
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2007, 08:47:00 AM »


If that is true, the owners have been exceedingly diligent. Manchester's Pepe's is faithful in look (and, to a lesser degree, atmosphere) to the original, right down to the oven, the kitchen's white tiled walls, the bare-bones booths, the good-old-days photos on the walls, even the annoyingly small drinking glasses. But this is not a schooled Pepe's clientele. For one thing, they're unfamiliar with the formation of the line and how it works. This, on the two visits I made, caused the locals to complain and tempers to rise for even something ridiculously short as a 30-minute wait, which for New Haven is nothing.



I was driving home from Worcester last night & remembered that I had seen that Pepe's had opened in Manchester, CT.  It is across the street from the Buckland Hills Mall (Sears side) in a small plaza with a LazyBoy furniture store.  We got there about 6pm (Saturday night) and I was surprised to find that the line was really short - it wasn't even outside.  We only had to wait about 30 minutes.  The writer of the article was right about it not being a schooled Pepe's clientele - it was a mix - a few people who had experienced a real Pepe's organized line and some who had not and you could tell who was who.  Once we got inside we were waited on immediately - we knew what we wanted and ordered right away.  It appears that they are experiencing some newness kinks -   I  heard our waiter ask the table next to us if "Did they get everything right?"  They brought us a pizza that was not ours - it was hard not to dive in since it looked incredible.   We ordered a large 1/2 pepperoni, 1/2 sausage and a large pepper & onion pizza w/ mozzarella on both.  I have never had pizza from the original Pepe's - I have been to The Spot once and the Fairfield location once - I think that these were even better than the pizza that I had the other two times.  My 16 year old son who had never had Pepe's pizza was very happy - I think he ate 1/2 a large pizza by himself (this kid can eat but won't stuff himself it the food isn't that great). 

Summary - Pepe's pizza in less than 2 hours - can't get much better than that.  (I'm sure that the next time we go the lines will be longer)

I took a couple pictures with my cell phone - if they are any good I will post them later today.


Offline beaunehead

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Re: Pepe's of New Haven #3
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2007, 05:11:31 PM »
FWIW, I was in New Haven this week, traveling through, and I remain convinced that the "best" pie in New Haven is that of Modern Apizza....though Pepe's clam is really special. Not sure what all the fuss over Pepe's really is about....

For me, it's DeLorenzo's (Trenton, NJ) and Modern on top of my list , in that order.
Stuart

Offline DaveK

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Re: Pepe's of New Haven #3
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2007, 05:33:13 PM »
Not sure what all the fuss over Pepe's really is about....

Them's fightin' words, mister.  ;D
« Last Edit: November 11, 2007, 05:38:41 PM by DaveK »

Offline beaunehead

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Re: Pepe's of New Haven #3
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2008, 04:41:51 PM »
Stopped in at Pepe's on the way back from Maine last weekend-- to give it one last chance (have thought for a few years that Modern is the "best" pie in New Haven, and still do). Finally realized what the "problem" with Pepe's is, after watching them make a pie and eating them: they don't stretch the dough; used their hands to create an essentially-rolling pin density. So, the pie comes out crisp (with some corn meal on the bottom) , but with high-gluten flour and the density, it's like chewing card board. Jaws get tired and it's very filling. Nothing light, airy and crispy about it. Finally put that "issue" to rest.
Stuart

Offline scott r

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Re: Pepe's of New Haven #3
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2008, 01:32:04 AM »
FWIW, I was in New Haven this week, traveling through, and I remain convinced that the "best" pie in New Haven is that of Modern Apizza....though Pepe's clam is really special. Not sure what all the fuss over Pepe's really is about....

For me, it's DeLorenzo's (Trenton, NJ) and Modern on top of my list , in that order.

Jeff varasano had a similar experience lately.  He hit up Pepe's and Modern and preferred Modern!


Offline beaunehead

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Re: Pepe's of New Haven #3
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2008, 07:55:03 AM »
I actually have visited Patsy's in Harlem and Totonno's on Coney Island since November, and DeLorenzo's has opened a new place in Robbinsville, NJ, while keeping its original location in Trenton. I'd revise my "top" list to add Totonno's on Coney Island (there are others I've not been impressed with) after DeLorenzo's (though Totonno's is very expensive) and would put Patsy's on par with Modern...not sure, but I think maybe after Modern.

FWIW
Stuart

Offline David

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Re: Pepe's of New Haven #3
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2010, 09:41:57 PM »
Just came across this tidbit over on chowhound recently .Franchise?

You can read the thread here:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/634364

I found the original prospectus. Here are some of the highlights:

Business Plan Overview
As described by Zagat’s restaurant guide, Frank Pepe Pizzeria
serves “the best pizza on the planet”. Widely recognized by
others such as The Food Network, The Travel Channel, Pizza
News, Citysearch, Forbes and GQ, Pepe’s has built its brand for
decades as one of the best pizza places in the country.
Frank Pepe opened his doors in 1925 priding himself on the
quality of the product he served. Pepe’s Pizza LLC will expand
Frank Pepe’s legacy by building and franchising new locations
throughout the U.S., starting with company owned stores In
Connecticut and the Northeast.
Transaction Overview
• Investors purchase 49% of Pepe’s Pizza LLC for
$1,000,000. Investors guarantee, on a pro-rata basis, a
$500,000 line of credit. The line of credit, agreed to in
principle by Fleet/BofA, cannot be used until the LLC is
generating revenues of at least $1,200,000 and cashflow of
$200,000 per year. 15% of Series A Stock is set aside for
management, board and advisors. Members of the Pepe
Family and Organization retain 36% of Pepe’s Pizza LLC.
The Pepe Family and Organization continues to wholly own
original Frank Pepe Pizzeria and The Spot (LLC holds right
to purchase original stores in the future). Members of the
Pepe Family maintain voting control through super-voting
rights until 5th store is successfully launched.
• 5,000,000 shares of Series A Common Stock to be
outstanding subsequent to funding. Shares issued to
following groups: 1,800,000 to the Pepe Family and
Organization; 2,450,000 to the Series A Common Stock
Investors; 750,000 to management, board and advisors.
• Series A Stock will be priced at $0.41 per share and sold in
$50,000 units (each unit representing 122,500 shares or
2.45% of the total shares outstanding).
• The funds generated from this transaction will fund the
development of the first new location. Plans are to use
internally generated cashflow to develop further locations
(external funds may be raised if the management and
board believe it most prudent to expand faster).
« Last Edit: March 20, 2010, 09:43:32 PM by David »
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Online scott123

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Re: Pepe's of New Haven #3
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2010, 11:19:46 PM »
Geez, David, where were you last week with this info? I had a million bucks burning a hole in my pocket so I blew it on an Enzo. I could have had 49% of a Pepe's franchise! *hitting my head*

Seriously, though, the pizzeria will probably continue to make money, but this marks the end of quality pizza for Pepe's.  You don't have lawyers hovering in these kind of numbers without the presence of rotting flesh.