#1 Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, New Haven, Conn. (White Clam: Clams, grated Parmesan, olive oil, garlic, oregano)
After a year slightly further down the list, Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana has returned to the top of the heap, as we’re once again naming it the best pizza in America. This is a checklist destination, one you’ll have to make a pilgrimage to if you want to discuss the topic of America's best pizza with any authority. The New Haven icon opened in Wooster Square in 1925, offering classic Napoletana-style pizza made by an Italian-American immigrant. After arriving in the United States in 1909 at the age of 16, Frank Pepe (watch him at work in this video) took odd jobs before opening his original restaurant (the location, now called "The Spot," is now an adjunct to the main Pepe's location).
There are now seven locations around Connecticut, one in New York State, and one near Boston, operated by Pepe’s 10 great-grandchildren (all of which use original recipes to make their coal-fired pizza).
What’s the move? As if you didn’t know! Two words: Clam pie ("No muzz!"). This is a Northeastern pizza genre unto its own, and Pepe's is the best of all — freshly shucked, briny littleneck clams, an intense dose of garlic, olive oil, oregano, and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano atop a charcoal-colored crust. The advanced move? Clam pie with bacon. Of course, Pepe’s summer special, their seasonal “fresh tomato pie” made with locally grown tomatoes, is worth its own trip (and the addition of shrimp to a tomato pie is an under-hyped gem of a combination). No matter what you’re thinking of ordering, expect to wait in line if you get there after 11:30 a.m. on a weekend.