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Posted by Chris & Amy Ayers on Monday, November 12, 2012 2:10 AM

cheese pizza

After the bus returned us to the hotel, a sizeable group met downstairs in the lobby for a return trip to New Haven. Since we had plenty of time for dinner, we decided to visit Modern Apizza ( review) first. Located on State Street—far from the madding crowd of Wooster Street and the Pepe’s/Sally’s nightly bottlenecks—Modern is the third member of New Haven’s apizza trinity, producing slightly charred pies that are just as wonderful as the aforementioned restaurants. After waiting 30 minutes for a table for twelve, we all filed in, took our seats, and got down to ordering. The plain cheese pie above was only the beginning…

WanderingJew put in a vote for an appetizer of a chicken parmesan sub, and we all heartily agreed. I’ve had their sausage and meatball subs on previous visits, but this chicken parm was classically fabulous: crusty bread, flavorful sauce, crispy chicken, and just enough cheese to bind it altogether:

chix parm

In a bold move, Sandra requested eggplant on one of the pies. I was skeptical, thinking that the sliminess of the eggplant would detract from the pie’s flavor—similar to broccoli as a topping ruining a perfectly good pizza. What I didn’t know is that the eggplant was thinly sliced and breaded! This was a truly excellent pie, and I’ll be searching for eggplant cooked like this on future pizzas:

eggplant pie

Our favorite—and one that Amy orders consistently—is sausage and hot cherry peppers, and Modern makes a particularly magnificent one:

saus & cherry pepp

The Italian Bomb is also one of our favorites, loaded with sausage, bacon, pepperoni, garlic, mushrooms, onions, and peppers:

Italian bomb

No slice left behind! Everyone loved Modern, and it remains very difficult to compare to Pepe’s and Sally’s. Luckily, we don’t have to compare—we can love them all equally! Modern Apizza is truly one of the greatest Roadfood pizzerias, period!


Why not follow world-class pizza with world-class ice cream? (That is a Roadfood tenet, isn’t it?) Ashley’s Ice Cream ( overview) delivers the taste in spades…of some of the best butterfat-rich ice cream in the state. The group ordered around the spectrum of flavors, but our favorite is, and always will be, the unbelievably scrumptious Coffee Oreo:

coffee oreo

Perpetually packed with locals and Yalies, all ice cream lovers, Ashley’s hits the spot again and again:


Now, about that leftover stomach space…could it possibly accommodate a few bites of a burger from Louis Lunch ( review)? It didn’t take much convincing of the group on my part, though the plan was strictly to share a few burgers. When I see the cross-section of a burger this beautiful, I feel sorry for all those who order them well done in other places. The cooks at Louis Lunch will tell you that they cook the burgers their way only, and there is absolutely no ketchup available! Still served on white toast, we ordered ours with the works: tomato, onion, and a schmear of Cheez Whiz:


We had no trouble downing these burgers, but afterward we all threw in the collective towel and climbed back in our cars to return to the hotel. A huge checkmark to this red-letter day of Roadfooding!


Next up: Day 2, Sunday, begins with footlongs…


A great day of first taste of CT. pizza made me a convert for life!
Posted by ChiTownDiner on Monday, Nov 12, 2012 5:00 AM

I may have spent some time attending classes in New Haven, but my REAL Elm City education was in the aforementioned places. Delicious Digest Post!
Posted by Michael Stern on Monday, Nov 12, 2012 5:05 AM

Modern Apizza is my favorite piiza restaurant in the USA. I think it beats Sally's and Frank Pepe's (maybe except for the white clam pie)and never has the interminable wait that the Wooster St. places have. The plain mozzerella pie with sauce cannot be beat. It is truly pizza perfection! Just love the place.
Posted by Equity6 on Monday, Nov 12, 2012 7:56 AM

Equity6, I support this assessment as long as you will agree that Modern's clam pie is definitively inferior to Pepe's. They use canned clams, whereas Pepe's are fresh. Zuppardi's takes this one step further by shucking the clams to order!
Posted by ayersian on Monday, Nov 12, 2012 8:58 AM

Modern Apizza and Ashley's ice cream - that combination brings back memories of a trip a few years ago with Chris (along with a few stops for hot dogs and Foxon Park beverages to import to Buffalo). (Except that Louis Lunch was closed that day - that would have been an outstanding addition). It sounds as if you all had as great a time as I did on that memorable trip of a few years ago. Nice report that has me wondering when I can plan a Hartford business trip with a side expedition to New Haven.
Posted by Buffalo Tarheel on Monday, Nov 12, 2012 9:12 AM

The chicken parm looks good. The pizzas look good except for the very burnt edges. I know that some people find this appealing, but I don't -- looks like it was left in the oven too long.....

And if that ice cream is coffee and chocolate, yum!
Posted by Ivyhouse on Monday, Nov 12, 2012 10:17 AM

Glad everyone enjoyed themselves, but why is the pizza crust so burnt? Don't think I would care for that.Also, the only way I like a hamburger that pink,is if it's a sirloin burger.Course the taste might surprise me.
Posted by HollyDolly on Monday, Nov 12, 2012 1:44 PM

Chris, those pies look perfect. Where was it that Amy ordered her signature sausage and cherry pepper pie on the tour - Pepe's or Zuppardi's? Wherever, it's a keeper in our repertoire.
Posted by Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle on Monday, Nov 12, 2012 1:47 PM

Ayersian - No question that Pepe's White Clam Pie is better than Billy Modern's!I have never been to Zuppardi's. Aside from Modern, my next favorite CT pizza is Roseland in Derby. On the topic of burgers, Louis' Lunch is historical and has a claim to being the creator of the hamburger. Its hamburgers are delicious. What turns me off though is the attitude of the owner. I enjoy ketchup on my hamburger and the ban on the condiment is over the top.It's just a hamburger for God's sake! The current Lassen is not the friendliest guy in the world and he always takes care of his regulars first before members of the general public. I do not go there much anymore, preferring the Educated Burgher, near Yale,Dempsey's on State Street, or Nick's Char Pit,just over the line in North Haven.
Posted by Equity6 on Monday, Nov 12, 2012 3:54 PM

Equity6, you MUST go to Zuppardi's! They are the friendliest folks making some of the best pies in the area. They make their own sausage, for starters, and the clams are shucked to the clam pies take longer but are well worth the wait. About Louis Lunch, I had a friend who brought ketchup packets with him for his burger. He wouldn't advertise this, but he enjoyed his burgers there with ketchup and no one ever gave him grief about it. I tried Educated Burgher twice and didn't care for it, but I'll add the other two places to my list -- thanks!
Posted by ayersian on Monday, Nov 12, 2012 4:11 PM

Bruce, Amy ordered that pie at Zuppardi's. It is our standby now, but we got the idea from Santarpio's: that combo is listed on their menu but with garlic!
Posted by ayersian on Monday, Nov 12, 2012 4:13 PM

I'm just glad that Sandra has been confirmed by a third party and that she is not a figment of my imagination! Seriously, the eggplant pie at Modern Apizza was one of the best versions I've ever had.
Posted by wanderingjew on Monday, Nov 12, 2012 7:07 PM

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