This Regional Pizza Is Gaining Nationwide Traction

New Haven pizza is a localized style that's getting some well-deserved attention.

Neapolitan, New York–style, Detroit–style, deep dish, Midwestern tavern-style—these are pizza variations that have gotten the most attention across the United States in recent years. But there's one highly regional pizza style that's quickly gaining steam, and it's one you should keep an eye out for, because with any luck it'll make an appearance in your town someday soon. Would you believe it comes from Connecticut?

What is New Haven pizza?

New Haven–style pizza, found primarily in New Haven, Connecticut, consists of a thin-crust pie that's sort of a cross-breed of the New York and Neapolitan styles. It's got the large, flat format of a New York thin crust, but its blistered black crust is more reminiscent of a Neapolitan.

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The crust is sturdy and chewy, and it forms the base for three primary topping styles: a white sauceless pie with clams; a tomato pie that has tomato sauce but eschews mozzarella in favor of Pecorino Romano cheese; and your standard red-sauce-and-mozzarella combo. I've tasted all three, and I can personally attest that each one is terrific.

The New York Times reports that a greater number of people outside the region have started to notice just how good New Haven pizza can be. For most people, the easiest way to taste this pizza is by visiting New Haven—at least for now. The way pizza crazes go, once a style takes off, boutique pizzerias pop up featuring that style in a whole host of locations unrelated to its origin. We even have a few New Haven spots in The Takeout's home base of Chicago, and we expect to see more soon.

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New Haven pizza began, and continues to be served, in the classic old-school pizzerias made famous by these pies. Three notable New Haven joints include Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana (since 1925), Sally's Apizza (since 1938), and Modern Apizza (since 1944).

Though fans are adamant that this pizza style can only truly be experienced in New Haven, both Pepe's and Sally's are starting to branch out to other states including Massachusetts, Florida, Virginia, and more. And when that happens, more parts of the country will bear witness to the joys of New Haven's pies.

The farther a regional food branches outward from its birthplace, there will always be a question of its authenticity. It's true that nothing can quite capture the feeling of a long-established pizzeria with vinyl booths and sticky floors. But if the pizza is shepherded to new cities by the people who care most about getting it right, there's no reason the rest of us can't enjoy it in our own backyard. 

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