The Temple of Pizza – Sally’s

I introduced my son to Sally’s Apizza in New Haven last night. This is, according to many pizza freaks, the best pizza on the planet, one of those subjective designations that will spark many a debate among food geeks and their sub-genus, pizza geeks, for the rest of time.

If you check out the wikipedia entry on Pizza, you will see that Sally’s and its Wooster Street neighbor, Frank Pepe’s, are not the original pizza parlors in America, but, being in operation since the 1920s and 30s, among the earliest in the nation. Sally’s followed Pepe’s — Sal Consiglio was a nephew of Pepe and started a dozen years later.

I prefer Sally’s because they burn the crust — black lips and fingers are the sign of a Sally’s dining experience — and the carbon-enhanced taste, while hard to imagine as a positive, is indeed the signature of a Sally’s pie. I also prefer Sally’s because it’s the place where my New Haven pizza experience began in 1977, with a bunch of classmate, crowded into the same booth. The large cheese pie came out on a big paper-lined pan — no plates — and the instant I bit into the first slice I was able to declare: “This is the best f—ing pizza I have ever eaten.” The hour-long lines one usually has to endure is testament to this fact.

We lucked out last night — we breezed right into a booth, no wait, probably because Yale is finished for the year and there aren’t any hungry students contending for seats.

We started with a medium pepperoni apizza (it’s “apizza” in New Haven and you have to specify mozzarella else you get a crust with tomato sauce), moved onto a classic cheese, an ordered another pepperoni to go. My son the skeptic, who told me the build up was a bit excessive on my part, agreed, one second into his first, bite, that it was indeed “the best f—ing pizza” in the world. When we arrived in Cotuit at 11 pm with the cold pie you’d of thought we were bringing the rarest delicacy in the world home with us.

As of 8 this morning the pie was gone, the victim of a cold pizza breakfast. (apologies for the sucky cameraphone pic)

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

0 thoughts on “The Temple of Pizza – Sally’s”

  1. Next trip: Get the white clam pizza. I grew up 25 miles from New Haven, then spent a number of years working there on and off. Pepe’s, Sally’s and their cousin, “The Spot,” were always a highlight. My fondest memory is getting dinner there with my oldest brother before seeing Billy Joel at the New Haven Colliseum (set your Way-Back-Machine for 1986 or so).

    Pepe’s has opened a new shop down in near the Blackrock area of Bridgeport, Connecticut. The area is undergoing a revival, particularly the strech of Fairfield Avenue on which you’ll find Black Rock Castle, because of new train station plan and a number of new bars, cafe’s, restaurants and clubs. Of course, we already have a ridiculous number of pizza places within one square mile; always amazes me how the market can support so much of one thing in one limited locailty: lawyers, Stop & Shops, CVS’s, McDonalds, etc. I’ve got at least three of each within a mile of me. Such is urban life.

    Anyway, I digress… three words: White Clam Pizza.

  2. The Spot. I forgot about The Spot.
    I have heard from others that Pepe’s is branching out. The other urban legend is that a lot of ex-bus boys and waiters have tried, and missed, recreating the Wooster Square experience elsewhere. Guess you need 75 year-old ovens.

    I want the clam pie, but never can convince my fellow diners to share one. That changes on the next visit!