If Blondie’s recent pizza excursion to Otto was somewhat of a fail, let’s talk epic, epic win. Pizza is serious business in New Haven. There are Pepe’s fans and there are Sally’s fans. I was born to a Sally’s family. My grandfather grew up on Wooster Street, the first born son of immigrants from Southern Italy. When my mom was growing up he took the family out to Sally’s every Friday night. A white clam pie was a must. My mom’s first meal after giving birth to me was a white clam pie from Sally’s compliments of Flo Consiglio herself. The arguments between fans about whose pie reigns supreme can get heated. Coming from a Sally’s family, the mere thought of trying Pepe’s lauded white clam pie seemed like a betrayal on par with turning my back against Red Sox Nation to root for the Yankees. Inconceivable. And yet…though I loathe the Yankees with every fiber of my being, I can respect that they have some talented players. While my heart belongs to Sally’s, I appreciate that Pepe’s makes their clam pie with freshly shucked clams rather than canned clams and I was ready to cede them the title of best clam pie in New Haven…until I tried Zuppardi’s….
Ok, Zuppardi’s technically isn’t in New Haven, it’s in West Haven, but I’d venture to say that their clam pizza is the best in the New Haven area (and therefore the world). Growing up outside of New Haven, Zuppardi’s wasn’t even on my radar. If we weren’t getting pizza from Sally’s we’d order from Modern or one of the many pizza places in my home town. But when I read Serious Eats overlord Ed Levine call it “the grand slam of clam pizzas, the best clam pie I've ever had,” I knew I had to give it a try. The clams are freshly shucked to order and the pie is sold at market price. On my first attempt, we had some seriously poor timing…coming in at the end of the night on the day of the West Haven Italian festival. They had run out of clams at lunch time.
A recent trip home with Blondie was more successful. Clam pie perfection. The crust was thin yet chewy and the pie was loaded with tender clams and tons of garlic. So much garlic. Whoever it was that decreed that cheese and seafood shouldn’t mix, they can shove it. Zuppardi's for the win!