Move aside, New York, because if you’re looking for legendary pizza, you can find some truly great pies in Connecticut. We combed through hundreds of America’s best pizzerias to assemble our ranking of the 101 best in America, and Connecticut was well-represented. Here are the top five pizzerias in Connecticut, along with the best pies offered at each.
#5 Colony Pizza, Stamford (Sausage Pie)
This thin-crust bar pie institution in Stamford has long been notorious for its no-frills demeanor, no-special-options policy, and for not making exceptions. But now there are three locations, and they’re even doing a salad pizza. What you’re going to want to do order are the sausage pie with hot oil (chile-pepper infused oil) and a “stinger” pie (they’re thin so you’re going to need two). That signature hot oil is a must — if you don’t do it, don’t bother going.
#4 Bru Room at BAR, New Haven (Mashed Potato and Bacon)
Bru Room is much younger than its New Haven cousins — it started kicking out brick-oven pizzas in 1996 when it was added to BAR — but the pizzas are just as good. They do the red, white, and red “with mozz” pies, same as the others, as well as a clam pie that's very respectable. But the thing to get is the mashed potato pizza with bacon (no sauce). The mashed potatoes are well-seasoned and fairly creamy for having just baked in an oven, and there’s lots of garlic.
#3 Modern Apizza, New Haven (Italian Bomb)
Established in 1934 as State Street Pizza, Modern's coal-fired brick oven puts out pizza in the popular regional thin-crust style. It's likely that you'll hear it spoken about as “the place the locals go instead of Pepe's and Sally's." That may be so. Given the focus on toppings, the iconic Italian Bomb is the pie to try: bacon, sausage, pepperoni, garlic, mushroom, onion, and pepper.
#2 Sally’s Apizza, New Haven Conn. (Tomato Pie: Tomato Sauce, No Cheese)
Sally's Apizza is a New Haven classic, operating from the same location where they opened in the late 1930s in New Haven's Wooster Square. Their pizza is thin crust topped with tomato sauce, garlic, and "mozz." Their tomato pie (tomato sauce, no cheese) is the stuff legends are made of.
#1 Frank Pepe, New Haven, Conn. (White Clam: Clams, Grated Parmesan, Olive Oil, Garlic, Oregano)
Frank Pepe opened in Wooster Square in New Haven, Conn., in 1925, offering classic Napoletana-style pizza. After immigrating to the United States in 1909 at the age of 16 from Italy, Pepe took odd jobs before opening his restaurant (now called "The Spot," adjacent to the larger operation). Since then, Pepe has opened an additional seven locations.
What should you order at this checklist destination? Two words: Clam pie ("No muzz!"). This is a Northeastern pizza genre unto its own, and Pepe is the best of them all — freshly shucked, briny littleneck clams, an intense dose of garlic, olive oil, oregano, and grated Parmigiano atop a charcoal-colored crust. The advanced move? Clam pie with bacon. Just expect to wait in line if you get there after 11:30 a.m. on a weekend.