So we all know pizza comes from Italy, more specifically Napoli. But here in America we have some well known pizza hubs, New York City (and for whatever reason) Chicago deep dish. But if you’ve watched any travel channel or any cooking channels (and I assume if you are reading this, you must have at least a bit) you have probably heard of New Haven style apizza.
New Haven style (as well as New York style) is based off of the style straight out of Napoli, but obviously there are differences between the three (they wouldn’t all be called different styles otherwise now would they?). First off New Haven pizza is called Apizza which according to Thrillist is pronounced “ah-beets” and is derived from the dialect of the people who settled in the New Haven area from Italy. And do you know what area of Italy that is? Napoli of course 🙂 Fun fact: (Something that Thrillist is wrong about, or they need to update their article with new information.) The Neapolitan “dialect” is not a dialect at all and is considered Italy’s second national language according to UNESCO (and a tour guide I met in Napoli). According to Thrillist New Haven pizza is distinct because of the New Haven water quality, the dough’s long fermentation, and the coal-fired ovens. New Haven apizza has a thin crust, lots of char, tangy tomato sauce, and sometimes cheese. According to Wikipedia in a New Haven-style pizzeria, a “plain” pizza is crust, oregano, and tomato sauce with a little bit of grated pecorino romano cheese sprinkled on. Mozzarella, “mootz”, is considered to be a topping; a customer who wants it must ask for it. It tends to be drier and thinner than, but closely related to, traditional New York style pizza.
My father is 2nd gen American but all four of his grandparents are from around Napoli. I’ve spent time trying various pizzas in Napoli (Brandi is my favorite thus far) and New York City. But growing up about 30 minutes outside of New Haven, I have come to know the New Haven style well. Everyone will talk about Pepe’s which has topped many lists for best pizza in America. But then there are the Sally’s purists, and those that love bar. Trust me all will have their day on this blog. But today, today we talk about my favorite, Modern Apizza.
Modern founded in 1934 is just a short drive from Wooster St (the Italian section of New Haven where you will find Pepe’s, Sally’s, and Libby’s pastries) over on State Street. The dough at Modern is the usual thin style with a chewy texture. They are known for their Italian Bomb pizza which is bacon, sausage, pepperoni, mushroom, onion, garlic, and peppers. At Modern they use a wood-fired stove and their apizzas come out in an uneven round shape cut into wedges. Other pies to try at Modern include the Clams Casino, (Clams, Bacon & Peppers) and Pizza Margherita. FYI: Pepe’s invented the “white clam pie.” so if you are doing a tour of New Haven apizza joints you may want to save that one for Pepe’s.
Read the full Thrillist article.
Read the full Wikipedia article.
Read more about New Haven apizza at Eater