Professional sales people, truck drivers, and those who find themselves in traffic much too often need a break every now and then. If you’re an adventurous eater, and maybe keep a list of culinary stops to make when-in-the-area, lunch might just be a high-note on an otherwise humdrum humpday.
Bruce, a life-long epicurean and the guy I live with, keeps just such a list. When I asked him what he did in between appointments in the New Haven, Connecticut area yesterday, he told me he referred to said list and stopped in at Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, an authentic pizzeria that’s been in business since 1925.
Familiar with my “don’t eat that until I take a picture,” speech, He’s had enough meals with me to know that a food-centric third degree was on the way. Quickly he sent me copies of the photos he took and I realized that there was an opportunity to do something with my husband of multiple decades that I’ve never done before. I interviewed him just the way I would interview anyone else for an article.
Here’s how the interview went:
Susan: Were you in the mood specifically for pizza or was there another reason you decided to stop here?
Bruce: I think it was on TV. I had it entered into my address book on my phone. I was hungry and I wanted to have something good for lunch.
S: You keep a list of pizza places in your phone?
B: Yup, I also have a list of restaurants and bars around the country. When you or someone else tells me about a place that sounds interesting I enter it. I like it when a plan comes together.
S: So how did the lunch go?
B: It was good. I thought the server was pleasant. It’s apparently turned into a destination stop. A few people seemed like they might be local but the rest seemed more like tourists. It’s easy enough to find and there are signs on the lamp poles outside that say Wooster Street is their Little Italy.
S: So, what’d you have?
B: Pizza and a glass of wine. The wine is served in a small utility glass like a juice glass. The tab came to $14.09. I ordered the Frank Pepe original pie, small. The server asked if I wanted mozzarella on it and I told her that I did. (they charged an extra $2.00 for the cheese)
I was tempted to try the clam pie but I didn’t want to spend more.
S: How did you like it? Describe the pie please.
B: It was a bit rustic. Not a perfect circle but with a slightly burned crispy crust. The sauce was a little sweet but not overly. They cut the pie irregularly. Not really in triangles. Some slices were sort of rectangular and some were almost triangular.
There was about a 5 minute wait until I was offered a bigger than necessary table that I shared with another guy who was waiting to eat. He ate his pizza with a fork and knife. I told him if you’re in New York you eat it with your hands.
S: How did the pizza compare to other pies, particularly a New York pie?
B: It’s on par. The dough had a good flavor. It didn’t droop when you pick it up and it was foldable.
S: Would you go back if you’re in the area?
B: Yes, I’d go back. I was in and out of there in about a half hour.
One other neat thing was that they had a parking lot on either side of the store. I don’t think I would’ve gone if I had to pay for or look for parking.
Food Network did a spot about Frank Pepe a while ago which might be where we first learned of this pizzeria. You can see it here.