After some research it looks like "ah-beetz" might be Neapolitan dialect for the term "La Pizza" that you remembered: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/157813?user_name=&query=apizza
And when they talked about this a bit on the American Dialect Society mailing list back in 2002 one of the posters asked Jerry of Jerry’s Pizza in Middletown about the term. Jerry, who’s from Naples, responded that the term is spelled "La Pizza" but pronounced "ah-beetz" — in other words, Neapolitans tend to drop the leading "L" sound in "La": http://listserv.linguistlist.org/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0207b&L=ads-l&D=1&O=D&F=&S=&P=16742
If that’s true, it would make sense that places in the New Haven area stuck with the term, given NH pizza’s Neapolitan roots.
Another interesting nugget: There’s a place in Portland, Oregon named "Apizza Scholls" (formerly known as "Scholls Public House"?!?!??!) and they don’t even mention NH on their web page — they do talk a bit about NYC though: http://www.apizzascholls.com/ApizzaPizza.htm
Finally, Jim Leff of chowhound.com fame put together a list of all CT restaurants with "apizza" in their name back in 2000. I already knew that there’s a bunch here around Bridgeport but it was surprising just how many there are outside the immediate New Haven area (there’s a cluster in greater Waterbury and one as far away as Norwich): http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/157542?user_name=&query=apizza Googling a bit more turned up an "apizza" place in Sedona Arizona, another in Michigan and a couple in Italy. And Tony Zuppardi (the great-grandson of the founder of another great pizza place, Zuppardi’s of West Haven) has his own place in Wilmington, Vermont named "Zuppardi’s Apizza," but I don’t think that counts since his roots are in the NH area too. Still, I gotta give him a shout-out since it’s about the only place to get a decent pizza in Southern Vermont.
I think it’s a regional Italian thing more than a New Haven thing. My father says some places used to call it "Apizza" when he was growing up in the Bronx, 60 or so years ago. I suspect as pizza became more well-known the more popular name won out, except for some holdout areas like the Bridgeport-to-New Haven area here in CT.
Anyone remember My Pie (actually, it was the "pi" symbol they used) in Norwalk, CT? It served Chicago-style pizza in the heart of flat-crust land and we thought it was pretty "exotic". I think it later changed its name to Chicago Loop. After that the location was taken over for many years by Bobby Valentine’s (Bobby V’s) — owned by the NY Mets manager. Very average sports bar food — but it was definitely the "it" place to be in Norwalk in the ’80s and ’90s.
I grew up in Manchester, CT and remember that some pizza places referred to "LaPizza." Never understood where that came from. Believe "Apizza" is a New Haven phenomenon…I’ve never seen it outside of greater New Haven. Have you, Michael?
The Connecticut pizza place I miss the most would be Leaning Tower, which was on route 154 in Old Saybrook. It didn’t last very long (2 years at the very most) but I’ve never had better pizza in my life.
I grew up in New Haven, and, although I used to head up the Berlin Turnpike for 16.9-cents a gallon gasoline during the gas wars, I never heard of the place.
Of course, I wouldn’t have paid any attention to a place that used the word pizza.
Actually the Pizza Place I grew up with in Merrick called Violettas is still around. They moved to a different location in the early 90’s but when I was there last about 3 years ago, they were just as good as ever![:p]
long island is a long way from the turnpike, but i appreciate your response. therehas to be a similar situation out there.
Looks that way
The late 60’s was a long time ago. I was 4 years old when that decade ended and I’m not exactly "young"
Besides I grew up on Long Island.
you mean to tell me theres nobody on this site from the hartford area that doesn’t remember gabby’s pizza ?
come on , nobody remebers this place?
does anyone remember the Gabby’s Pizza on the Berlin Tpke. in Wethersfield? probably late 60’s. why did it close? were there any other ones? I remember it was great!
remember Gabby’s Pizza in CT?
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