237 Wooster Street, New Haven, Conn.
New Haven pizza is consistently ranked among the top pizza styles in the country. To taste test for yourself, head to Wooster Street, Connecticut’s historic Little Italy neighborhood where it all began. Here, among a row of long-established pastry shops, restaurants and a few nationally recognized pizzerias, you’ll find the original Sally’s Apizza.
Sally’s Apizza (pronounced “ah-beetz”) has been handcrafting pizza the same way since it was founded by Salvatore “Sally” Consiglio in 1938. The recipes are original, with all the hallmarks of New Haven pies: thin crust, light on cheese and heavy on sauce. And at the Wooster Street location, they are still using the same 100-plus-year-old coal-fired brick oven, infusing every crust with coveted charred flavor.
“Every aspect down to the oven itself gives each bite a signature taste of sweetness, from the sauce balanced with a slight bitterness to the iconic char,” said Sally’s general manager, Matt Ball.
A large population of Italian immigrants came to New Haven in the early 1900s, bringing their favorite foods and customs with them. One of the most famous and the first to gain recognition for his Neapolitan-style pizza on Wooster Street was Sally’s uncle, Frank Pepe. After working for Frank for over a decade, Sally opened his own place down the block and both have grown to become more popular than ever.
What sets New Haven-style pizza apart from all the rest is that it remains true to its roots. The product you get today is consistent with what families were making generations ago. That’s what draws lines to the storefronts as soon as they open and brings in customers from across the country. Sally’s even retains the same look and feel from its early days, with wood-paneled walls and old-school booths.
The Consiglio family sold Sally’s Apizza in 2018 but Sally’s son’s Ricky and Bobby are helping to maintain the legacy, consulting as the operation expands to include locations in Fairfield and Stamford, Conn., with more to come. The first Massachusetts restaurant opened in Woburn in December, and another one is in the works in Boston’s Seaport District.
Don’t worry about the char, Ball reassures, “our new locations operate with the same coal-fired oven specifications as the original.”
The Tomato Pie has been a menu staple since Sally’s first opened. Topped with just tomato sauce and a light sprinkle of parmesan, it calls back to a tradition established by New Haven’s Italian immigrants, when after a long day in the local factories, it was common for workers to head to bakeries and smear tomato paste on flatbread.
The simple combination lets the brick oven flavor shine. But “insiders know that adding garlic and basil is an out-of-this-world combo on this classic and timeless pizza,” Ball said.
Because the Tomato Pie is so popular, mozzarella cheese (the “mootz”) is considered a topping at Sally’s, so keep that in mind when ordering.
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