Frank Pepe's, which has been cranking out brick-oven goodness in their original location since 1925. Picture above is Frank Pepe's Original Tomato Pie with added mozzarella. This pizza is so ridiculously tasty. Salty, cheesy, a spike of acidic tomato sauce, and the perfect amount of char. The crust is paper thin, with smoky spots of char baked in every nook. It's a remarkable pizza. If I lived in the area, it would be tough to not eat this several times each week.
Pepe's is still tops for me. I mean, like the best pizza I've ever tasted. I'm not sure what could be done to make a better pizza. We lucked out, we arrived at about 12:30 on a Wednesday afternoon and only had one group waiting in front of us. By the time we left, the line was long and stretched down the sidewalk. This pizza, though, is worth the wait.
After lunch at Pepe's we took the one mile drive up the road to Modern Apizza. Modern has its fans, to be sure, and it is certainly easier to get into with no wait and many tables available. Modern feels like an old school pizza shop, no frills, just good pizza and a slightly more relaxing setting than Pepe's. The tomato pie above was fine, good char, nice tangy sauce, and local sausage that was packed with fennel and quite tasty. In most cities this Modern pie would be the best pie in town. The problem is, New Haven isn't most cities. I would be happy to eat this pie any day. My mouth is now literally watering thinking about these pizzas from Pepe's and Modern, I need to return soon. For more on New Haven pizza (and better pics!), you can see Bill Addison's Eater post this week on his recent New Haven visit.