Great New England pizza on a short trip

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Buffalo Tarheel
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2009/11/17 22:30:49 (permalink)

Great New England pizza on a short trip

Last week I had a chance to make a short business trip to Hartford, arriving Monday and leaving on Wednesday.  The trip gave me a chance to see Chris and Amy (ayersian) for the first time since the Buffalo Roadfood tour in September.  It was also the first time I was able to have some thin New Haven style pizza since my last visit to Hartford in April.  For someone who has just recently been introduced to the joys of New Haven style pizza, those seven months without the pizza have seemed like an eternity.
 
The first night the three of us went to a place in Worcester, MA: the Corner Grille (www.cornergrille.com).  It is a small storefront place located in a neighborhood, and it has drawn its customers via word of mouth.  Those who find it are in for a memorable experience.  What is amazing about the pizzas is how thin they are without drooping under the weight of the toppings, and yet the topics are not skimpy to avoid overloading the pizza.  You would think that the slices would collapse under the strain of the toppings, but not so.
 
The Corner Grille is definitely my type of pizza place:
 

 
The pizza below has two separate offerings: the left side is the Buffalo (wing) pizza, with hot sauce, chicken, blue cheese, and celery.  On the right is the sweet basil and tomato pizza, with red sauce, tomatoes, fresh basil, and cheese:
 

 
The Buffalo pizza was very spicy but not overwhelmingly so, and the celery added the same cooling effect that it does when you eat chicken wings.  The basic tomato pizza was stunning in its simplicity and its outstanding flavor.  It is a basic pizza but not plain in the sense of being ordinary.
 
On the left below is the Greek pizza, with baby spinach, garlic, oregano, lemon, diced tomatoes, and cheese.  The right side has the harvest moon pizza, with brown sugar, butternut squash, onions, sausage, toasted pumpkin seeds, and brown butter drizzle.
 

 
I did not have any of the Greek pizza, but Chris and Amy pronounced it to be quite good.  I did eat some of the harvest moon pizza and found it very unusual, even after taking the onions off (not a fan of onions).  It made a good dessert.  I believe this pizza is marked as seasonal, but they keep it on the menu because of demand.
 
Corner Grille also has a selection of salads and sandwich wraps, and they are just as varied and unusual as the pizza choices.  At the register they stock whoopie pies and other desserts if you have the room, although it's hard to eat more after taking on the pizza.
 
Raena, the owner, spent some time visiting with us.  She is very energetic and enthusiastic and has a zeal for producing good food.  I am sure that she would be glad to visit with anyone who comes in and mentions Roadfood, as she recognized Chris and Amy as "those Roadfood people" (in a good way).
 
The next night Chris and I made a pilgrimage to Pepe's in Manchester, CT, where I first was introduced to New Haven pizza.  Chris mentioned that Michael Stern had recommended a new pizza, shrimp pizza.  I have never had this kind before, but having really enjoyed the white clam pizza, we gave it a try.  Below are some pictures of that pizza:
 

 
 

 

 
The shrimp was as good as any I have had not on a pizza, and the cheese and crust made a very good combination.  I would never have thought of shrimp pizza, but it is something I would eat again.
 
We also ordered a sausage pizza:
 

 

 
The sausage was in nice circles with enough mass to make them chewy but not too thick to overwhelm the pizza.  Both pizzas had the charred edges characteristic of New Haven style pizza.  Like the pizzas in Worcester, the crust was thin but well able to support the weight of the toppings.
 
All in all, another enjoyable trip.  Looking forward to a longer trip after the first of the year where I can visit other places that I have not been to  lately or at all.  I'd start the list now but might run out of room (and start jonesing for some steamed burgers).
#1

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    ellen4641
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    Re:Great New England pizza on a short trip 2009/11/17 22:36:36 (permalink)
    I want that BUFFALO CHICKEN PIZZA now !!!
    such interesting looking pizzas at the Corner Grille... I've gotta get to Worcester !
    nice report, buffalo tarheel!!
    #2
    Buffalo Tarheel
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    Re:Great New England pizza on a short trip 2009/11/17 22:41:09 (permalink)
    ellen4641

    I want that BUFFALO CHICKEN PIZZA now !!!
    such interesting looking pizzas at the Corner Grille... I've gotta get to Worcester !
    nice report, buffalo tarheel!!


    Thanks, Ellen
     
    The Buffalo pizza was outstanding and very spicy.  You won't do wrong by eating at the Corner Grille if you find yourself in the area.  The owner is a very friendly person and a joy to talk to.  Between the fantastic pizza, a very interesting and pleasant restaurant owner, and the company of two friends from Roadfood, what could be a better time?
    #3
    billyboy
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    Re:Great New England pizza on a short trip 2009/11/17 22:43:47 (permalink)
    Duuuuuuude!!  You're killin' me with those shots of Pepe's!  Great, great stuff, man.  I hope to be chowing on some of those pies soon.  
    #4
    Buffalo Tarheel
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    Re:Great New England pizza on a short trip 2009/11/17 22:49:04 (permalink)
    Thanks Billyboy
     
    If I had some of that pizza now, I'd be glad to trade it for some of that Peter Luger burger you posted a report on recently.  That was some fine-looking food! 
     
    I hope you have a chance to have some Pepe's pizza soon.
     
     
     
    #5
    EatingTheRoad
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    Re:Great New England pizza on a short trip 2009/11/18 07:55:58 (permalink)
    Fantastic photos and write-up. I've never seen celery on a pizza before...I love Buffalo chicken pizzas and I love celery, so I'd probably like it. Those pies from Pepe's look amazing...that shrimp one...mmmmmmm.

    Looking forward to when you get to and report back from some steamed burger stops....I had a Ted's Famous not that long ago and I loved it!
    #6
    Nancypalooza
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    Re:Great New England pizza on a short trip 2009/11/18 10:09:44 (permalink)
    YES PLEASE, a slice of each!  Mmmmmmmm.
    #7
    dubinke
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    Re:Great New England pizza on a short trip 2009/11/18 11:26:15 (permalink)
    why can't I get the pizza pictures. I am from New haven and grew up on Sallys and pepe's. Clam is what they are famous for. You would never see a shrimp pizza at Sally's my personal best.
    #8
    Buffalo Tarheel
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    Re:Great New England pizza on a short trip 2009/11/18 12:12:41 (permalink)
    EatingTheRoad

    Fantastic photos and write-up. I've never seen celery on a pizza before...I love Buffalo chicken pizzas and I love celery, so I'd probably like it. Those pies from Pepe's look amazing...that shrimp one...mmmmmmm.

    Looking forward to when you get to and report back from some steamed burger stops....I had a Ted's Famous not that long ago and I loved it!


    Thanks, ETR
     
    I had never had celery on pizza either, but it was very good.
     
    I had a steamed burger at Ted's last fall on my first RF trip to CT and really liked it.  I can't wait to get back there again soon.
    #9
    Buffalo Tarheel
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    Re:Great New England pizza on a short trip 2009/11/18 12:14:15 (permalink)
    dubinke

    why can't I get the pizza pictures. I am from New haven and grew up on Sallys and pepe's. Clam is what they are famous for. You would never see a shrimp pizza at Sally's my personal best.


    Dubinke,
     
    Welcome to Rooadfood.  I have had clam pizza at Pepe's (in Manchester) and really enjoyed it.  As I mentioned, I had never had shrimp pizza earlier, but the recommendation from Michael Stern via Chris was good enough for me.  It was very good and something I would eat again.
    #10
    Ahi Mpls.
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    Re:Great New England pizza on a short trip 2009/11/18 14:11:14 (permalink)
      Oh Good grief!!!! are you TRYING to kill me!??  them's some mighty fine lookin' pies Sir!  tell me why no Greek pizza? Feta? Full? Forgetful?   Very nice trip & pics.   Me waves at C&A too. 
    #11
    Buffalo Tarheel
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    Re:Great New England pizza on a short trip 2009/11/18 16:03:58 (permalink)
    AHI MPLS

      Oh Good grief!!!! are you TRYING to kill me!??  them's some mighty fine lookin' pies Sir!  tell me why no Greek pizza? Feta? Full? Forgetful?   Very nice trip & pics.   Me waves at C&A too. 


    Thanks very much for the compliments.  I think I was too full and forgetful to eat the Greek pizza.  I think I still need training as a good Roadfooder because I become full very quickly.  Both locations had great pizza.  What makes it so hard is that today on my trip I had pizza from a local place here in the DC area, and it was only so-so.  Not bad, but nowhere near the quality of the stuff in those pictures.  "Stuff" is a pretty nondescript word for something that defies conventional description.   It was a short trip but very enjoyable.
    #12
    SBXSTR
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    Re:Great New England pizza on a short trip 2009/11/18 17:55:54 (permalink)
    Had lunch at Pepe's in Manchester Sunday which again affirmed my opinion that its both equivalent to New Haven and the best pizza I've ever had. My sister-in-law and her husband from Atlanta visited in August and were amazed at how good Pepe's pizza was. We went to both New Haven and Manchester. I like to sit where I can see the oven -- our pizza was in the oven for only 5 minutes.
    #13
    NC Cheesehead
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    Re:Great New England pizza on a short trip 2009/11/18 18:37:04 (permalink)
    It all looks awesome except for the green snake looking celery on top of the pizza. Everything else looks perfect.  The crusts look perfect.  Good pick. 
    #14
    NYPIzzaNut
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    Re:Great New England pizza on a short trip 2009/11/18 18:43:02 (permalink)
    I don't like my crust or cheese burnt.
    post edited by NYPIzzaNut - 2009/11/18 18:44:09
    #15
    LeadBelly
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    Re:Great New England pizza on a short trip 2009/11/18 18:51:40 (permalink)
    Ditto on the celery topped pizza. Kind of weird looking and not being a fan of celery its a big time pass from me. 

    But the Pepe's pizza....oh my. Those are some amazingly good photos. I love the last one of the shrimp pizza  with the shine from the grease, the char of the crust and a big glob of melted cheese at the bottom corner of the  perfectly cooked shrimp. That slice has my name written all over it. 

    Allan



    #16
    Buffalo Tarheel
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    Re:Great New England pizza on a short trip 2009/11/18 21:11:03 (permalink)
    SBXSTR,
     
    We too sat where we could see the over.  You are right about how fast the pizzas cook because they seem to come out in no time at all.  The Pepe's sausage pizza was outstanding, although the sausage pizza that Chris and I had at Modern Apizza in New Haven in April was very good as well.  I honestly cannot rank one place or the other's higher than the other because both places have super pizza, and I have not gotten the energy to endure the trials of waiting to eat at Sally's (from what I read from others' adventures eating there).
     
    NC Cheesehead,
     
    Yes; that celery does look kind of weird in the picture, but it was not too offputting in reality (and I hate snakes, maybe a holdover from my days growing up in NC).
     
    NYPizzaNut,
     
    Yes; some of the crust and cheese are a bit dark - OK, burned, but it didn't detract from the experience.  It's funny that the first time I ate at Pepe's back in March the plain pizza was really charred on the edges.  Neither of us were bothered by that feature, but the server brought us a new pizza without our asking.  Needless to say, the leftovers were abundamt that evening.  I don't know if it's possible to get a pizza cooked a bit more lightly, although I imagine it's possible from asking.
     
    LeadBelly,
     
    Thanks for the kind words.  The shrimp on the pizza were cooked extremely well.  It's interesting that on my trip here to DC I mentioned to a few people that I had eaten shrimp pizza recently, and no one seemed to think it was a good combination.  Describing the white clam pizzas didn't help my cause any either.  But they are good pizzas that I would order again when back in the area.  As far as the Corner Grille pizzas, yes, I can see how the pizza with celery does look a little strange, but it was good (and I am not the most adventurous eater around).
     
    Rob
    #17
    wanderingjew
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    Re:Great New England pizza on a short trip 2009/11/18 21:15:02 (permalink)
    Buffalo Tarheel

    Excellent report and  torturous photos....

    You're making my diet very problematic for me which is why I've been avoiding all the trip reports as of late, on another note.....

    Bummer- I live 50 miles away from Worcester and I wasn't invited...

    #18
    LeadBelly
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    Re:Great New England pizza on a short trip 2009/11/18 22:27:40 (permalink)
    Buffalo Tarheel

      It's interesting that on my trip here to DC I mentioned to a few people that I had eaten shrimp pizza recently, and no one seemed to think it was a good combination.  Describing the white clam pizzas didn't help my cause any either.  But they are good pizzas that I would order again when back in the area.  As far as the Corner Grille pizzas, yes, I can see how the pizza with celery does look a little strange, but it was good (and I am not the most adventurous eater around). 
     
    Rob
     

    Every time I see a photo of one of those New Haven clam pizzas I just swoon but no one I know wants to ride with me to New Haven to have one. 

    It seems there are two kind of pizza eaters in N. America. One wants  nothing on it except cheese and maybe  some kind of meat or mushrooms. The other kind will try anything with the exception of items they don't much like; such as my dislike of celery.

     We have an Italian restaurant around here that has great lunchtime pizza and at the counter where you order might have almost anything on top of a pie along with the usuals.

     Today I got a slightly unusual slice, white pizza with mushrooms, garlic and pine nuts. It was great.  Half the people at work I told about it wanted a slice and the other half wanted nothing to do with it. To me the slightly charred crust on the Pepe pizza looked amazing (and its nothing I can get around here that I know of ) but to some people its burnt and should be returned for a proper pie. Pizza is one of those foods that's either right or its wrong. 

    #19
    doggydaddy
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    Re:Great New England pizza on a short trip 2009/11/18 22:53:40 (permalink)


    HHHmmm, wish I was there with you guys, sipping on a Foxon Park birch beer.  That's the good life. I miss it.  My GPS says I am 1600 mi away, but Roadfood ratings only go as far as 100 miles. I have yet to try a pizza since I moved here, as I am spoiled and haven't heard or seen anything close in style.

    mark

    #20
    sk bob
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    Re:Great New England pizza on a short trip 2009/11/19 09:15:26 (permalink)
    good one BTH.
    with my tastes the only pizza I'd consider eating is the sausage from Pepes.
    those other ones look GROSS
    #21
    Lindseyup67
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    Re:Great New England pizza on a short trip 2009/11/19 09:31:01 (permalink)
    If I ever got a pizza that was that burned on the crust, I would be sending it back immediately! Hard to believe this is a well known, higly recommended pizza joint! Just MO
    #22
    brickie
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    Re:Great New England pizza on a short trip 2009/11/19 09:36:31 (permalink)
    Lindseyup67

    If I ever got a pizza that was that burned on the crust, I would be sending it back immediately! Hard to believe this is a well known, higly recommended pizza joint! Just MO


    Don't knock it till ya try it!
    #23
    Buffalo Tarheel
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    Re:Great New England pizza on a short trip 2009/11/19 22:00:12 (permalink)
    wanderingjew

    Buffalo Tarheel

    Excellent report and  torturous photos....

    You're making my diet very problematic for me which is why I've been avoiding all the trip reports as of late, on another note.....

    Bummer- I live 50 miles away from Worcester and I wasn't invited...



    WJ,
     
    Thanks for the compliments.  No snubbing intended; it was a quick trip without a lot of time to plan out what to do.  I hope we can see you when back in the area after the first of the year.   Maybe I can even try out the New York system hot dogs - just as long as the guy doesn't dress the dogs on his arm!
    #24
    Buffalo Tarheel
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    Re:Great New England pizza on a short trip 2009/11/19 22:04:26 (permalink)
    Lindseyup67

    If I ever got a pizza that was that burned on the crust, I would be sending it back immediately! Hard to believe this is a well known, higly recommended pizza joint! Just MO


    sk bob

    good one BTH.
    with my tastes the only pizza I'd consider eating is the sausage from Pepes.
    those other ones look GROSS

    I understand what you all are saying because I have had similar reactions to food that other people raved about.  All I can say is that the pizzas were really good and the charred crusts didn't detract from the quality.  But it's the variety of tastes and likes that makes this site so interesting and informative.
    #25
    Buffalo Tarheel
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    Re:Great New England pizza on a short trip 2009/11/19 22:07:48 (permalink)
    doggydaddy

    HHHmmm, wish I was there with you guys, sipping on a Foxon Park birch beer.  That's the good life. I miss it.  My GPS says I am 1600 mi away, but Roadfood ratings only go as far as 100 miles. I have yet to try a pizza since I moved here, as I am spoiled and haven't heard or seen anything close in style.

    mark


    Mark,
     
    I wish you had been there with us also.  I still remember all the visits we had to Pepe's -- OK, I managed to get there twice with you, but both times were great.  Fortunately I still have a stash of Foxon Park beverages at home, so I think I'll open one when I return home this week.  It's only half of the combination, but it's still pretty good.
    #26
    wanderingjew
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    Re:Great New England pizza on a short trip 2009/11/20 08:28:13 (permalink)
    Buffalo Tarheel

    wanderingjew

    Buffalo Tarheel

    Excellent report and  torturous photos....

    You're making my diet very problematic for me which is why I've been avoiding all the trip reports as of late, on another note.....

    Bummer- I live 50 miles away from Worcester and I wasn't invited...



    WJ,
     
    Thanks for the compliments.  No snubbing intended; it was a quick trip without a lot of time to plan out what to do.  I hope we can see you when back in the area after the first of the year.   Maybe I can even try out the New York system hot dogs - just as long as the guy doesn't dress the dogs on his arm!


     I know,

    I was just bustin' on ya. I even gave you a 5 star rating.
    Shoot me an e-mail or call my cell (I think you have it) when you're back in my neck of the woods.  NY System Hot Dogs, Stuffies, Johnnycakes  or which ever RI Oddity you choose, we'll be there. 
    #27
    TnTinCT
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    Re:Great New England pizza on a short trip 2009/11/20 10:05:41 (permalink)
    Give us a yell - we'll meet you in RI! (I have leftover Pepe's in my fridge even as we speak )

    #28
    Buffalo Tarheel
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    Re:Great New England pizza on a short trip 2009/11/20 19:59:00 (permalink)
    wanderingjew
     
     I know,

    I was just bustin' on ya. I even gave you a 5 star rating.
    Shoot me an e-mail or call my cell (I think you have it) when you're back in my neck of the woods.  NY System Hot Dogs, Stuffies, Johnnycakes  or which ever RI Oddity you choose, we'll be there. 


    That's what I figured.  Hope to see you on my return trip to Hartford early next year.  Thanks for the 5 stars, although I have to admit that I am clueless about the rating system.  One day I might figure it out.
    #29
    Buffalo Tarheel
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    Re:Great New England pizza on a short trip 2009/11/20 20:01:42 (permalink)
    TnTinCT

    Give us a yell - we'll meet you in RI! (I have leftover Pepe's in my fridge even as we speak )


    Will do - sorry for not calling you during this trip, but it really came up fast and was a short one.  The next one should have a bit more notice and allow more time during the visit.
     
     
    #30
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