Sally's Apizza, Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, Lucibello's Italian Pastry Shop and BAR New Haven
My Mom is a July baby; all she wanted to do this summer for her day was go on the Elm City Party Bike paired with the Taste of New Haven Pizza Lovers Tour. Since the COVID numbers rose in our area, we decided it was best to plan her day for the fall. We really lucked out with this trip. It was a beautiful Sunday in November, the high was 75. We were accompanied by Dan Tontini, a New Haven Tour Guide and Manager of the Elm City Party Bike and Colin Caplan, historian and owner of Taste of New Haven, which offers walking culinary tours of the city. My sister Blake and I have worked with Dan and Colin many times in the past, helping them promote and share the local New Haven eateries from their tours.
CT FoodGirly has been on Taste of New Haven's Chocolate Walk, Taco Tour, Latin American Tapas Tour, Chef's Cooking Class with Pat DeRiso of Ernie's Pizzeria and now their Pizza Lovers Tour! Blake and I were also fortunate enough to help judge the fifth Taste of New Haven Apizza Feast Pizza contest in 2019, where we sampled eleven different slices from some of the best pizzerias in the city! We voted based off of crust, sauce, cheese and overall flavor.
During our Pizza Lovers Tour, we adjusted the stops so that we could compare the pies from our favorites places. We went to Sally's, Frank Pepe's and BAR, with a quick pit stop at Lucibello's Italian Pastry Shop. We all met on the Elm City Party bike, New England's only pedal powered bar! The bike can hold 8-15 people for private or group excursions through Downtown, East Rock & Wooster Square. What I love most about the Elm City Party Bike is the Historic Narrated Tour that completes the whole experience, their historian guides are some of the best in the industry! I've learned plenty about the different restaurants, bars, and sightseeing spots from every tour I've been on.
This was how we were going to get around for the day, so we decorated the bike in streamers and bows and pedaled onto our first stop, Sally's Apizza. We say "ah-beets" because this is the correct Neapolitan dialect. Sally's Apizza, established by Salvatore "Sally" Consiglio, has been operating since 1938, serving up handcrafted authentic New Haven coal-fired, brick oven apizza for over 80 years. We tasted four different large pies (pictured below). The White Potato Pie, made with potato, onion, mozzarella, imported parmesan and rosemary. The classic Tomato Sauce Pie, made with Sally's tomato sauce and parmesan (no mozzarella). The Mozzarella and Tomato Sauce Pie, with Sally's tomato sauce and mozzarella. Lastly, a Hot Cherry Pepper pie (my Mom's favorite) with Sally's tomato sauce and mozzarella.
I swear I dream about Sally's apizza more than I should, but I have good reason because it is some of the best apizza in the world! There's a reason customers always come back to wait in the long lines and travel far and wide to get their hands on a slice. We paced ourselves as we were soon biking to Frank Pepe's.
Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana was founded in 1925 by Frank Pepe. What is now known as "The Spot", was Frank's first bakery that he bought on Wooster Street. He would bake bread and deliver it to the locals. With a language barrier while delivering, Frank decided to create a business where his customers would come to him and so he and his wife, Filomena, would bake two types of apizza: on with tomatoes, grated cheese, garlic, oregano and olive oil and the other with anchovy. Pepe's took off and is still serving the same tasty thin crust apizza we all know and love today. We tasted three different large pies (pictured below). The White Clam, served with fresh clams, grated pecorino romano, garlic, oregano and olive oil. The Original Tomato Pie with Mozzarella and lastly, the Fresh Tomato Pie, served with fresh native tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, garlic, grated pecorino romano, and olive oil.
The General Manager, Paul, heard that CT FoodGirly was on the Elm City Party Bike and brought me inside to see the original oven located in The Spot (pictures below). The pizzas go directly from the oven, right into your to-go box, as they're all still bubbling with cheesy goodness.
With two legendary pizza spots done, we needed a sweet treat before our next pizza stop! Dan and Colin took us to Lucibello's Italian Pastry Shop on Grand Ave. Opened since 1929, Lucibello's specializes in Fine Italian Pastries, Cookies, Wedding Cakes and more! My favorite Italian cookies are the Leaf Cookies; they're so buttery and soft. They're usually bright pink or green! I also love Lucibello's Sicilian Cannolis and Sfogliatelle (Lobster Tail). With a sugar rush, we quickly biked to our final stop, BAR New Haven. Colin was super happy to bring us here!
BAR has an incredible night scene, but an even better pizza scene! We were given their Mashed Potato Bacon Pizza, served as a white pie with mozzarella, parmesan, garlic, bacon, and mashed potatoes (pictured below). Whenever I think of BAR, I think of this specialty pizza. No one does the Mashed Potato quite like them. Next, we tried their Red Pie and then the Red Pie with Mozzarella (pictured below).
Overall, we all had a fantastic Sunday Funday with Colin and Dan. Each pizza stop was unique in their own way and brings smiles and full bellies to the pizza lovers of Connecticut and beyond! Thank you Colin and Dan for the incredible day and making my Mom's day one to remember.
If you're a food lover, looking to learn about the great city of New Haven, or ever in need of a fun day, check out Taste of New Haven and The Elm City Party Bike!