#63 Mike’s Apizza & Restaurant, West Haven, Conn. (Broccoli rabe and sausage white pie)
Mike’s Apizza in West Haven isn’t a nationally known Connecticut pizzeria like Frank Pepe or even its noteworthy neighbor a few blocks away, Zuppardi’s. But within West Haven, Mike’s has been famous for consistency since it was opened by Mike Buonocore in 1942. “No one ever says it was good this week and not next week,” its current owner, grandson Mike Buonocore, explained. “It has a lot to do with the same people working here all the time.”
Mike’s had to move twice, settling into the current 85-seat, double-dining room spot in 1975, and it has stayed in the family, passing first to Mike’s son Frank (“Butch”), then to his son Mike. But even as the surrounding area has become less Italian, it remained that quintessential neighborhood joint. “Mainly family works here,” Mike explained. “Through the years, the kids have gotten older and then the kids work here. You know what I mean?”
We do. Mike’s turns out thin-crust, cheese-thread inducing Neapolitan pies — small (12 inches) and large (18 inches) — tomato, Buffalo chicken, clam, and a clam casino pizza (no sauce) with whole baby clams, peppers, and bacon, to name a few. But if you listen to Mike (and you should listen to Mike), order the broccoli rabe and sausage white pizza.