I readily admit that, being from New York City, I was always very partial to a good old New York-style slice of pizza: crisp, thin crust with just the right amount of sauce and cheese. Now that I live not too far away in Connecticut, I can say that I have discovered great pizza here, too. Once a New Yorker, always a New Yorker where pizza is concerned. However, these places in Connecticut offer pies that are sure to satisfy the most discerning of pizza lovers’ taste buds.
1. Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria Napoletana
A mention of this pizzeria, affectionately known as “Pepe’s Pizza,” is practically synonymous with Connecticut pizza. I had never tried it until moving here, and one bite and I was sold. A coal-fired oven gives this pizza its distinct taste, with a thin, crispy, slightly singed crust that brings out the flavor to perfection. Frank Pepe, who emigrated here from Italy, established his pizzeria in New Haven in 1925, where it still stands today and has stayed family owned.
Pepe’s offers its original tomato pie with mozzarella, in addition to a variety of toppings. It also offers specialty pizzas, and one of its more unique, popular pies is its white clam pizza, with fresh clams, grated pecorino romano cheese, garlic, oregano, and olive oil. There are also salads on the menu for accompaniment. You may have a bit of a wait in line to get in, depending on the time you visit, as I discovered on my first foray there. However, I’d venture to say with one bite of any of Pepe’s pizzas, it’s well worth the wait.
Pepe’s has other locations besides New Haven: four in Connecticut as well as three in Massachusetts, one in Rhode Island, and one in New York. All locations are fully accessible.
2. Colony Grill
Colony Grill is one of my go-to spots in Stamford, where I live. Famous for its hot oil pizza, Colony opened its doors in this location in 1935 and has expanded to include three more in Connecticut, plus one each in New York, Virginia, and Florida. Colony’s pies are all one size and have a thin crust.
The grill has an interesting history, as explained by co-owner Ken Martin. “The original owners were Irish American, but they employed some Italian and Eastern European chefs during the Great Depression,” he explained. “These men proudly wanted bar patrons to try the pizza recipes from their homelands in addition to other menu items but needed to figure out how to fit a pizza tray on the narrow Colony bar top. The solution: the ‘bar pie’ … extremely thin crust, smaller in diameter than a traditional pizza, and not too much cheese or sauce so that slices can be easily managed with one hand, fittingly leaving the other hand free to hold a glass.”
The pizza soon eclipsed all of the other menu items at Colony Grill and became the sole centerpiece of the restaurant. “The name Colony Grill remains as a link to our heritage,” said Martin.
Colony Grill offers a variety of toppings, and, in a nod to its Irish heritage, serves up a corned beef and cabbage pizza for St. Patrick’s Day.
Colony Grill is fully accessible.
3. Post Corner Pizza
Post Corner Pizza has been a Darien mainstay since 1971. Its pizza is a Greek-style, pan pizza, with a Chicago-style influence featuring a thicker crust. I had mentioned that I am partial to New York-style thin crust; however, Post Corner’s pizza is an exception, striking the right balance of cheese and crust for a very flavorful, mouth-wateringly good pizza experience.
Post Corner offers a wide variety of toppings, ranging from chicken, sausage, and pepperoni to anchovies and lots in between. “Classic pepperoni, sausage, and mushroom are popular with customers, as well as onion and pepper for veggie lovers,” said owner Peter Kousidis. “Hawaiian and white pizzas are also great choices for a taste of something different.” Kousidis offered his take on what makes Post Corner’s pizza stand out. “Not only does the pizza have a great texture that isn’t replicated by any other pizzeria, it’s the family-friendly atmosphere of the restaurant that has kept families coming to us for 50 years.”
Post Corner Pizza is fully accessible.
Riverside, Connecticut’s Pomodoro is an Italian eatery that also offers brick oven, stand-out pizza. The restaurant, open since 2003, has a rustic, Italian countryside atmosphere. “Pizza has been on the menu the entire time we’ve been open,” said general manager Vincent Delgado. “We offer traditional New York-style pizza as well as Sicilian pies.” Pomodoro’s toppings are made fresh daily, and the most popular pizzas are Nonna’s pies (San Marzano tomato, fresh garlic, oregano, and fresh mozzarella) and the Margherita, according to Delgado. Pizza heaven for me, when I visit Pomodoro, is the latter or the regular cheese pie, coupled with a salad.
Pomodoro is fully accessible.
I included Pellicci’s in my last article for TravelAwaits, which highlighted my favorite Stamford restaurants. Well, in addition to its savory fare, the restaurant also boasts its brick oven pizza. I opt for the regular cheese pie, which hits the right spot and leaves me wanting more. Pizza lovers can choose from a variety of toppings, anchovies and artichokes among them, and specialty pies, such as the Tutti Cosa, or “everything” pizza. “It has sausage, meatballs, pepperoni, onions, peppers, and mushrooms to satisfy your cravings,” said owner Toni Lupinacci.
Pellicci’s pizza has been a menu staple since the restaurant’s opening in 1947. “Some of our popular pizzas are the Toscano (fresh mozzarella, fresh tomato, basil, and garlic) and the Amalfi (rock shrimp, bacon, basil, garlic, parsley, and a touch of red pepper),” she said. Pellicci’s pizza is a prominent feature at its Super Bowl Buffet.
“What makes our pizzas so special is the original family homemade pizza dough recipe, along with the fresh homemade pizza sauce,” said Lupinacci. “All ingredients are of excellent quality and prepared fresh daily, never prepackaged.”
Pellicci’s is accessible via its entrance and on its entire first floor, with the exception of its downstairs room.
6. Tomāto Tomȁto
Tomāto Tomȁto is another restaurant I profiled, along with Pellicci’s, for my previous article. It, too, has a variety of flavor-packed pizzas to enjoy. My favorite is the Margherita (fresh mozzarella, basil, extra virgin olive oil) which, according to owner Peter Vavoulidis, is one of their most popular pies.
“When we originally opened back in 2013, we only sold small pies,” he said. “We listened to our customers, and large pizzas were added to the menu. Now we sell more large pies than small ones.”
Tomāto Tomȁto uses fresh ingredients, along with high-quality flour and homemade marinara sauce, for its pies. “Our sauce and crust are made every day from scratch, using the best ingredients available,” Vavoulidis said. “We also have small gluten-free pizza crust available for customers that can’t tolerate gluten and whole wheat crusts for those looking for a healthier option.”
The restaurant offers a variety of toppings as well as specialty pies. “We have pies with interesting topping combinations,” he said. “My favorites are the Harbor Drive (spicy sausage, mascarpone cheese, jalapenos, and honey) and the Fairview (shrimp, pancetta, arugula, fresh mozzarella, shaved parmesan with a drizzle of balsamic reduction).” Vavoulidis added that the Margherita, the Westcott for meat lovers, the Hobson for those “who want a lot of heat,” salad pies, and its dessert pie — with S’mores, Nutella, toasted marshmallows and strawberries — are its most popular. “We have four gas-fired Blodgett pizza ovens in the restaurant,” he added.
Tomāto Tomȁto gets creative when the occasion calls for it. “We change the shape of our pizza to match a particular holiday or event,” he said. “During the Super Bowl, we shape our pizzas like a football and Valentine’s Day, they are heart shaped.”
Tomāto Tomȁto is fully accessible.
These are just some choice spots for pizza lovers to try in Connecticut. Their pizzas pack just the right flavor punch. Want to compare them to the best slices in New York? Check out our picks for Best Pizza In NYC, According To Locals, and 9 Local Foodie Favorites You Should Cross The Brooklyn Bridge To Try.