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The Best New Haven Pizza Guide (Updated 2024)


(Updated on 1/31/24, Originally published 05/20/21)  When you ask people where to get the best pizza, there’s only one answer…New Haven. New Haven, A.K.A. “The Elm City”, has been on the map for a pizza destination for decades. 

The history of pizza in New Haven (traditionally known as apizza) dates back to the 1920s when Frank Pepe moved over from Italy and set up his own bakery. This is where he started selling his simple pizza that is still one of the most popular nearly 100 years later.

If you’ve never had New Haven pizza…first of all, what are you waiting for? Secondly, there is more than one kind of pizza you should experience. Not all pies are created equal, although they are equally delicious!

Are you ready to learn everything you need to know about New Haven pizza plus some interesting little fun facts? From where to go, to the most popular pizzas, it’s time to mangia! Here’s to the best pizza in New Haven!

pizza in new haven

Frank Pepe’s

You have to start talking about New Haven pizza where it all began…at Pepe’s. You’ll find Pepe’s along Wooster Street in New Haven. This iconic street is rich in Italian heritage and is home to several other Italian restaurants as well as a pastry shop (you can’t forget dessert!).

Pepe’s uses a coal-fired brick oven to cook its pizzas. This is important because you’ll discover that all of New Haven’s well-known pizzerias use different types of ovens. This is one of the things that set each one apart.

Pepe’s is known for its famously charred crust and its Original Tomato Pie. This was the first pizza to come out of Pepe’s ovens years ago. You can’t mess with tradition! 

Another favorite is the white clam pie. There have been many imitators but no one has matched Pepe’s version of this masterpiece.

Top Frank Pepe Pizzas:

  • Frank Pepe’s Original Tomato Pie
  • White Clam Pizza
  • Amanti Della Carne

Fun Fact about Pepe’s:

The original Pepe’s is now called “The Spot”. You’ll find this smaller version to the left and rear of where Pepe’s is today.

If you’re planning to try Pepe’s, plan to get there early, because lines form quickly and get long, especially on the weekends!

Know Before You Go:

The first pies made in New Haven were topped with tomato sauce…no oozing cheese, no nothin’. Many people still prefer the tomato pie so that they can appreciate all of the flavors New Haven’s tomato sauce has to offer.

Photo by Diana Delucia
frank pepe pizza new haven

Sally’s Apizza

When it comes to New Haven pizza, some people are on “Team Pepe’s”, while others prefer Sally’s Apizza. Located just down the street on Wooster Street, Sally’s is known for its coal-fired, brick oven pizza. It was established in 1938, not too long after Pepe’s came on the scene.

For decades, Sally’s Apizza has been tempting people’s taste buds with all different types of pizzas like its popular white potato pie (potato, onion, mozzarella, parmesan, and rosemary).

Top Sally’s Apizzas:

  • Tomato Sauce Pie
  • White Potato Pie
  • White Fresh Tomato Pie

Fun Fact About Sally’s Apizza:

Frank Sinatra loved Sally’s pizza!

When it comes to Sally’s, many people always comment on its consistency. The pie you had years ago is likely going to taste exactly the same today. This is probably one of the many reasons why it’s been around for so long and continuing to thrive. Just like Pepe’s expect some long lines if you’re stopping by on the weekend!

Know Before You Go:

The word “apizza” is a characteristic of New Haven pizza. It’s commonly used at Sally’s and Modern Apizza.

sallys apizza


If you’re looking for amazing pizza in downtown New Haven, Bar is where it’s at! Besides great pizza and fantastic salads (yes, we said salads), Bar also has its own in-house brewery which you can see within its industrial décor and general chill vibe. It’s also a nightclub, has a pool table and of course, a bar.

Plus, we’re a bit partial over here, but it’s less than a 2 minute walk (and when we’re hungry it’s a 1 minute run 😉 ) from New Haven Towers. This makes Bar our Number One Staff Pick (it’s capitalized on purpose)!

Bar uses gas ovens to cook its famous pies like its superb bacon and mashed potato pizza. This is a must-try when you visit. Their pies are thinner than some of the others you’ll find in New Haven and their shape mirrors the rectangular aluminum sheet pan they’re served on.

Top Bar Pizza’s:

  • Mash Potato and Bacon Pizza
  • Brisket Brunch Pizza
  • Classic Spaghetti and Meatball pizza (with Olmo Kitchen)

Fun Fact about Bar:

It’s located across the street from Louis Lunch, home of the first hamburger.

If you can think of an amazing meal, Bar has probably tried it on a pizza because why not? On weekends, think about reserving a table and expect there to be a lively atmosphere most evenings all year round.

bar pizza new haven

Modern Apizza

While it’s not on the Wooster Street strip, you can’t talk about New Haven pizza without mentioning Modern Apizza. Located on State Street, Modern uses its open-flame brick oven to cook pizzas.

Although you can get all of your traditional toppings here, there’s nothing like “The Italian Bomb”. It has seven toppings: sausage, bacon, pepperoni, onion, mushrooms, garlic, and sparse cheese and is one of Modern’s top pizzas.

Top Modern Apizza’s:

  • The Italian Bomb
  • Clams Casino
  • Hot Cherry Pepper

Fun Fact about Modern Apizza:

Modern uses a special breadcrumb recipe to help pizza slide off the peel unlike other places that use cornmeal.

While you’re still going to get some lines at Modern, they’re usually not as long as the ones you’ll find at Sally’s or Pepe’s…usually!

Know Before You Go:

At many of New Haven’s pizzerias, you’ll find Foxon Park soda. It’s usually part of the New Haven pizza experience! It’s been manufactured in East Haven since 1922.

modern apizza

Da Legna at Nolo

While it may not have the history that some of the other New Haven pizzerias have, Da Legna on State Street has some mighty fine vegan options and a brewery you don’t want to miss. Popular among Yale grad students and locals, this spot is also a must when it comes to New Haven pizza.

Unlike the traditional New Haven pizzas, Da Legna’s dough is fluffier and the artisanal toppings are unusual but appealing. From brussel sprouts to stilton to house-made pesto, there are many topping combos to try out!

Top Da Legna Pizza’s:

  • Rosemarino
  • Honeypot
  • Salsiccia (Vegan)

Fun Fact about Da Legna:

All of their traditional and artisanal pizzas are available on gluten-free crust hand-crafted right in Connecticut!

It can be hard deciding on only three top pizzas from De Legna’s. Their extensive collection of artisan pizzas as well as the option to make your own means you’ll likely want to visit a couple of times to find your ultimate dream pizza!

Know Before You Go:

“Mootz” is mozzarella cheese. Many people in the New Haven pizza scene use “mootz” when they want cheese on their pizza. Don’t forget to distinguish if you want “mootz” or “no mootz” because your pizza likely won’t automatically come with cheese.

There you have it, all of the must-try New Haven pizza places to put on your list. Whether you’re a student or stopping in for a visit, you can’t leave without getting a slice…or two!

delagna nolo

Curious about New Haven's obsession with Pizza? Here are some commonly asked questions.

The New Haven style pizza is thin, charred, more chewy, less cheese and usually in an irregular shape. While this may sound different than the regular New York style pizza, as thousands of fans can attest, it's deliziosa!
Hard question since the real answer is - it depends on your taste! We compiled the best of the best and the rest is up to you. Start with the list on this page and let us know your opinion.
Some New Haven's pizza stores use it almost symbolically as a way of showing respect to their pizza's Naples origin.
We mapped it out for you! Bar Pizza is the closest - it's a 2 minutes walk. Sally's is a bit longer, but still under a mile. It takes around 15 minutes. Franks and Da Legna at Nolo are all around a mile with Modern Apizza the furthest coming in at 1.4 miles.
Hey! Brilliant question. That's something we will need to sleep on. zzz pizza restaurants zzz pizza stores zzzzzz pizzzaaaa...