New Haven, Connecticut pizza fans fall into a few sects: Sally’s or Frank Pepe’s. There are even a few people that subscribe to the Modern camp.
The first time I tried Sally’s, it was cold, very, very cold outside. I know this because I had to wait outside for 45 minutes. By the time I got inside, I could not feel my feet. I took stock of the pizza area, with the multiple ovens, and at least eight people in the kitchen area. I then waited another 30 minutes for my pizza. When I got the pizza, it was boring. It was well made, properly charred, the right blend of ingredients, but boring. Perhaps they had an off night, but a 45 minute wait, service from an indifferent staff, and a line filled with Connecticut’s version of hipsters… no thanks.
I did not try Frank Pepe’s in New Haven, but the one in Bridgeport. Again, long wait. Again, boring pizza. Well made, proper balance of ingredients. Again, blah and boring.
Thankfully, between Bridgeport and New Haven, there is a gem. Nestled amidst residential dwellings, off the beaten path, and thankfully, if there is a line, only one that last five or ten minutes, there is Zuppardi’s.
I’ve been to Zuppardi’s a few times, and if there is any gripe to be had, it would be with their consistency. Mind you, the pizza is always very good, but sometimes, it is a little saltier than others. Sometimes, it appears that the ingredients are different (more on that later), but the pie is never boring. It is always very good, well made pizza.
On this particular occasion, I was joined by my girlfriend and a friend from out of town. As she was from Arizona, there was no point in going out for Mexican.
The sausage and mushroom pie ($21.25) was near perfection. This was in stark contrast to the last time that I got sausage from the same establishment. The last time, the sausage was sliced, not the chunk, lump-style goodness that you see on this gem. While not especially loaded with fennel or spice, the flavor was sharp. The mushrooms… well… they were mushrooms. Not fresh, but not bad. They were in abundance, but not in excess.
The pepperoni pie ($18.50) was well made, but I just don’t think that pepperoni works particularly well on a Zuppardi’s pie. Some might say that the pepperoni overpowers the sauce, but I think that it makes the whole experience too tart. That’s right, tart, not salty, maybe tangy, but mostly tart.
Zuppardi’s sauce is very savory, not sweet. The crust is thin, but not to the point of being a wafer. While there is no great snap or crunch to each bite, the pizza does have a proper crust and char.
If you are planning a trip to New Haven, I would definitely take a detour to West Haven to check out Zuppardi’s over some of the more hyped pizzerias of Connecticut.
179 Union Avenue
West Haven, CT 06516