Sally’s Apizza

Review by: Jane & Michael Stern

“Sally” was Sal Consiglio, the nephew of Frank Pepe; and in 1938, about a dozen years after Frank Pepe’s opened New Haven’s first pizzeria, Sal broke away and started his own just down Wooster Street. Sal himself is gone, and his wife Flora has passed on, too. Sal’s descendants ran it for a while, but in 2017 it was sold to a group that has promised to take the brand nationwide.

For now, anyway, the original Sally’s remains the one and only. If and when it does go national, the new owners have said they intend to keep it as their flagship. Time will tell.

It is impossible to imagine New Haven without Sally’s. Even those who like Pepe’s, or maybe Modern, better, cannot deny that Sally’s has soul. It glows with old-neighborhood feel: wood-paneled walls, booths with well-worn Formica-topped tables, ubiquitous images of Frank Sinatra (a fan of Sal’s cooking) all over the walls. And the pizza packs a wallop. It is generously topped, well-oiled and comes on a thin crust that is smudged and gritty underneath. Atop that crust come fresh tomatoes, broccoli rabe, pepperoni and/or sausage, and our personal favorite, the works. That one is informally known as an Italian bomb, and it is a tribute to Sally’s crust that it survives and stays chewy even under the great load of ingredients atop it.

And by the way, the second word in the name of this restaurant, Apizza, is the old Connecticut way of giving the place a Southern-Italian flair. It is properly pronounced a-BEETS.

Directions & Hours

11am - 10pm
  • Monday: 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM
  • Thursday: 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM
  • Friday: 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM
  • Saturday: 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM
  • Sunday: 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM

What To Eat

Fresh Tomato Pizza

DISH
Pepperoni and Cherry Peppers Pizza

DISH

Sally’s Apizza Recipes

Discuss

What do you think of Sally’s Apizza?

2 Responses to “Sally’s Apizza”

Rob Haskell

June 14th, 2009

I can understand why some reviewers might be dismayed by the wait, the atmosphere, and the service at Sally’s. Certainly, the restaurant scores low in these categories. But the people who come religiously to Sally’s come for pizza–nothing more.

Having gone to college in New Haven and having spent the subsequent 13 years returning frequently for the singular purpose of measuring Sally’s, Pepe’s, and Modern against one another, I can state with confidence that, its rough edges aside, Sally’s does offer the city’s finest pizza. Its crust is the apotheosis of New Haven’s chewy-and-blistered paradigm, its sauce is the simple essence of tomato, and it achieves a more perfect “meld”–the cohesion of crust, sauce, and bubbly cheese into a single entity–than its New Haven rivals.

Bacon, onion, and mozzarella is a revelatory pie: the onions are shaved impossibly thin (unlike the rough dice at Pepe’s), and the bacon is cooked only enough to render some of its fat into the sauce. Nobody who knows pizza would get a clam pie here, so don’t; but any traditional mozz-plus-toppings pie, particularly sausage-and-mushroom and pepperoni-and-pepper, is an excellent way to bask in the wonder of Sally’s pizza oven.

If you want an experience that balances food with atmosphere and service, go elsewhere. If, however, it’s the best pizza you’re in search of, you simply must go to Sally’s.

Reply

Matthew Lupoli

January 5th, 2009

I was born and raised in North Haven, hence I was raised on New Haven-style pizza (apizza). I recently went on a taste test with some friends who had never tasted New Haven-style pizza. We went to New Haven’s top three: Modern Apizza, Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napolitano, and Sally’s Apizza, in that order. Although I have been to both Modern and Pepe’s several times, this was my first time eating at Sally’s.

We were able to get a table right away. We decided to get four medium pies. I recommended that we at least get a mozzarella pie and a white clam pie with no mozzarella (or as we say in the New Haven area, “mootz”). A friend also wanted a bacon and onion pie with mootz and another friend wanted a sausage and peppers with mootz.

What followed was probably the longest I have ever waited to get pizza. Even during busy nights at Modern or Pepe’s, I’ve never waited this long. It was 50 minutes before the first pie came to our table. We thought that they forgot about us, and it wasn’t even busy.

The first pie to come out was the sausage and peppers pizza. The crust was thin, charred, and crunchy on the edges, exactly the way I like it. We were glad that we decided to get the mixture of sweet and spicy peppers; it was a very interesting taste. The sausage was also very good. The bacon and onion pie came out next. It was very skimpy on the bacon; it might as well have just been an onion pie, but it was very good nonetheless. The mozzarella pie came out third and I was amazed to see that it was almost perfectly oval-shaped. Very good balance of sauce and mootz.

The white clam pie came out last. White clam pies are ordinarily my personal favorite, but I’m sorry to say that Sally’s version just didn’t do it for me. They use canned clams, as opposed to the fresh ones used at Pepe’s or Modern. At first bite, I hardly tasted the clams at all and then I suddenly got hit with a very fishy/salt-watery aftertaste. I think I tasted the oregano and rosemary more than anything else. Sorry Sally’s, but when it comes to the white clam pie I’ll stick with Modern or Pepe’s. I think my favorite pizza of the night was the sausage and peppers pizza.

Overall, I was a little bit disappointed with my visit to Sally’s. The pizza was excellent, mind you. The crust was nice and thin and crunchy, and the balance between the sauce and toppings was superb. It was all of the other things that kind of ruined it for me. The staff was grumpy, I thought that the restaurant itself was kind of dumpy, they gave us paper plates which had practically disintegrated by the end of the night, and the table didn’t have grated cheese and crushed red pepper shakers. Worst of all: they don’t carry Foxon Park sodas, which are a staple of New Haven pizzerias.

Now that I’ve eaten at all three of the most well-known New Haven pizzerias, I can confidently rate Modern Apizza as my first place choice, Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana as my very close second, and Sally’s Apizza as my not very close third place.

Reply

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