We took a little trip to New Haven yesterday, and while we were there, we decided to take a walk down Wooster Street, which is at the heart of New Haven’s Italian-American community. Having only a little bit of time, we figured we could only stop at one place for lunch and wanted to make it count. Naturally, we chose to dine at Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria Napoletana.
As soon as we walked in, we saw a house full of new and regular patrons indulging in the world-famous Pepe’s pizzas. There were busy workers rapidly moving pizzas in and out of Pepe’s legendary wood fire oven. It was quite a sight to behold, as we were able to look right in and see the pizzas being cooked at a scorching hot temperature – 650 degrees, to be exact. Before long, we were greeted by Nick, the restaurant manager, and he quickly showed us to our booth. As we waited for our pizza to arrive, we conversed with Nick as well as our waitress about Pepe’s past and present, and just what it is that keeps customers pouring in from all around the world.
The Pepe’s story began in the 1920s when a young and uneducated Frank Pepe came to New Haven from Italy with very little money in his pocket. The young Pepe took a job at a local bakery where he learned to make bread and soon he took this knowledge over to his own restaurant in 1925 where he applied his bread making skills to creating delicious pizzas. At this point, he operated in the smaller building that is now known as the Spot, which is next to Pepe’s current location where they have been operating since 1938.
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