More on Pepe's in Fairfield, CT

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acefood
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2005/08/09 09:57:54 (permalink)

More on Pepe's in Fairfield, CT

Well, it looks like it's getting closer. Right around the corner (almost) from Super Duper Weenie, too. Here's an update, via MSNBC:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8882218/

Ace.
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    fablerox
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    RE: More on Pepe's in Fairfield, CT 2005/08/25 22:22:42 (permalink)
    Having a Pepes in Fairfield County brings it a little closer to home and that will make my Pepe pizza lovin' husband ecstatic. I hope it has the same taste/quality as the original.
    #2
    vegas
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    RE: More on Pepe's in Fairfield, CT 2006/02/23 18:08:11 (permalink)
    Heres an update . . . I took a ride by last week . . . its situated at 238 Commerce Drive (aka State Street Extension) in Fairfield, between Brentwoood Avenue and Berwick Court, just west of Exit 25 I-95. The exterior renovations are almost complete, and there were electrical contractors on site at 7 pm on a weeknite. The sign out front says "coming this winter". I would guess they will open within a few weeks.

    Pepe's finally has a web site, although its not real functional at this point http://www.pepespizzeria.com/index.html

    I'll keep driving by, and hope to be eating a clam pie closer to home real soon!!!

    FYI, if you're a real Pepe's diehard, there is a three-bedroom apartment up stairs being offered for rent
    #3
    vegas
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    RE: More on Pepe's in Fairfield, CT 2006/02/27 11:58:34 (permalink)
    http://www.connpost.com/news/ci_3551229

    2/27/2006 04:33 AM
    Fairfield To Get Taste Of Pepe's Pizza

    Connecticut Post
    The grandchildren of Frank Pepe, who founded the famous Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana in New Haven in 1925, are working hard to replicate the Wooster Street landmark on Commerce Drive in Fairfield.

    Anthony Rosselli, Pepe's grandson, said the Fairfield Pepe's should be nearly identical to the New Haven pizzeria — from the height of ceilings and pictures on the walls to the coal-fired oven, booths, light fixtures and menu.

    And, of course, the thing that matters most — the pizza.

    "The only critical thing is the pizza," Rosselli said. "If it isn't the same, we're dead. That's all we have."

    Rosselli, 58, said he brought water from Fairfield to New Haven to ensure the pizza dough made with water from the Fairfield site would pass the test. It does, he said.

    Pepe's was founded 81 years ago, although Rosselli said the New Haven favorite might not be the oldest pizzeria in America. He said Lombardi's in New York City might be older. "Either we pre-date Lombardi's, or we are one of the two oldest," Rosselli said.

    A man who answered the phone at Lombardi's said that restaurant opened in 1905 and is the oldest pizzeria in America.

    Pepe's is now run by the third generation of founder Frank Pepe's family, and Rosselli said his first cousin, Gary Bimonte, and his brother, Francis Rosselli, are "the standard-bearers of the product."

    "We're really blessed. It is a signature product, and so our effort is really quite specific — it's to maintain the quality of this old, venerable recipe my grandfather had," Rosselli said. "The pie you get now is close to identical to the pie my grandfather made in 1925."

    But the fourth generation of the Pepe family is not interested in continuing in the business, so the doors have been opened to people who aren't descendants of Frank Pepe, but who share a love of making pizzas from his secret recipe.

    "In order to maintain the business, we had to have a business plan to continue making pizza," Rosselli said. "The fourth generation is interested in going to school and having other professions."

    The Fairfield Pepe's will seat about 105 people and is scheduled to open March 13.

    Q: Why did you decide to open in Fairfield?

    A: "A lot of our customers come up from southern Connecticut, south of New Haven, and we felt we can draw a lot of customers from south of Fairfield. And there's a lot of name recognition in this area, as evidenced by the buzz that exists already on the street We've always had a lot of customers from Bridgeport over the years. That's always been a draw for us, the Bridgeport area."

    Q: How would you characterize your pizza? Is it a thin-crust pizza?

    A: "It's a thin-crusted pizza. A great number of factors go into the recipe. It is not what people would consider to be a typical pizza dough. The dough recipe is different from other pizzerias, so we have a unique product in terms of the dough. We use only the highest-quality ingredients on the pizza. Our volume has allowed us to buy only the best ingredients, and we have a magnificent oven. You don't see many ovens with a dimension of 12 feet by 12 feet in size, and it's a coal-fired oven, which we think is a great way to maintain temperature and cook pizza."

    Q: Are you worried about competition from other pizzerias in Fairfield and Bridgeport?

    A: "Competition makes everybody better. If we bring business to this area, people drive by here, they're going to stop at other restaurants in the area and they'll get more exposure.

    "My suspicion is everybody will do better if we do well."

    Q: Have you always been in the pizza business?

    A: "I went to NYU and had a career as a teacher for 25 years.

    "I still teach and look forward to doing more work in my profession. One of the reasons this thing has to move on is we're in the third generation. In the third generation and fourth generation, people move on."

    Q: Where did you teach?

    A: "I was a teacher at the Cheshire public schools, at the high school level. I was a special ed teacher at the high school level."

    Q: What do you like to eat besides pizza?

    A: "In terms of Italian meals, I like bruschetta I love a good steak. I like to eat fish, all kinds of foods Interestingly, I still crave a pizza every week or two, so I figure it must be good if we haven't gotten sick of it."

    Q: What did you do inside for the renovation?

    A: "It was a total renovation, just gutted. The only thing that remains the same is the floor. The ceiling was a lot lower, about 8 inches lower. We went through a big expense to pick up another 8 inches or 10 inches because it makes a big difference in the feel of the restaurant."

    Q: Are you looking forward to the new Fairfield train station and commercial development that's going to be built near Commerce Drive? It will have office buildings and a hotel.

    A: "It can't hurt the business. It can't hurt."

    Q: What kind of hobbies do you have? What do you like to do when you're not working?

    A: "I'm an avid fly-fisherman. I've been fly-fishing in Montana for 30 straight summers in order to clear my head for another year of teaching. Fly-fishing is a big one for me. I'm interested in music and go to the city quite a bit, mostly classical music and jazz."

    Q: Do you think the Fairfield Pepe's will be a madhouse on opening day?

    A: "I think we'll be busy. I think we'll be very busy. You kind of fear getting slammed in the restaurant business, but it's also what you want."

    — ANDREW BROPHY
    #4
    acefood
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    RE: More on Pepe's in Fairfield, CT 2006/02/27 13:40:31 (permalink)
    Now this is sheer rumor, but I have heard that the biz will be owned by a restaurateur from (yikes) Greenwich. Bear in mind the CT post quote:

    quote:
    But the fourth generation of the Pepe family is not interested in continuing in the business, so the doors have been opened to people who aren't descendants of Frank Pepe, but who share a love of making pizzas from his secret recipe.


    Once again, I have no facts here, but I hear much about the food game in my area. I'll stay on the case.

    Ace
    #5
    tonemonster2
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    RE: More on Pepe's in Fairfield, CT 2006/03/07 15:04:04 (permalink)
    The message on the machine says they open March 13 @ 3p.m.!
    #6
    acefood
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    RE: More on Pepe's in Fairfield, CT 2006/03/07 15:48:36 (permalink)
    There is a soft opening tonight, March 8. I cannot go but am sending an operative. Reports to come in this evening. Watch this space.
    #7
    acefood
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    RE: More on Pepe's in Fairfield, CT 2006/03/08 11:25:00 (permalink)
    My mistake. They had a verrry soft opening last night (3/7). I didn't get to go, but a good friend--and experienced, knowledgeable foodie--did. Bascially, he said: It's NOT the New Haven product, not even close. BUT, he added, it was great pizza.

    Curiouser and curiouser.

    More news here.

    Ace
    #8
    TJ Jackson
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    RE: More on Pepe's in Fairfield, CT 2006/03/08 14:10:30 (permalink)
    I'm not sure what the point would be of open a place with the Pepe's name would be unless the product was identical or very nearly so.

    It most probably would hurt the Pepe's name if the pizza is not nearly identical....and I don't think the owner will want to risk that. He'd rename the place, I would think.
    #9
    Pioneer
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    RE: More on Pepe's in Fairfield, CT 2006/03/13 20:34:57 (permalink)
    I just went to opening day with my dad -- we got there around 1:45 pm and were first in line! My father got to hold the ribbon for the ribbon cutting ceremony. Stormin Norman from one of the local stations then read a decree stating March 13th as Frank Pepe day in Fairfield.

    We had the first two official pies out of the oven for the "opening" (they had a soft opening and some media in there before we were all let in). A large white clam was the first out, and a large "ahbeets with scamotes" (choose your own spelling variations) was the second. They actually only had enough clams to make about 2-3 clam pies! We got one large and 2 small to go... and our waiter said the table next to us got the only other one. They put up a sign saying they were out of clam pies before they even opened the door, but assured us they had enough for a few. They have added a shrimp pie to the menu in fairfield, probably since there has been such a shortage on clams lately -- they are always out in New Haven.

    The pizza was excellent and tasted very similar, however the crust was a little bit doughy -- almost like it was not cooked long enough. I'm not sure if it was just taken out of the oven early, as they were trying to get everyone served (there were about 100 people lined up) or if it is an oven issue. I am giving them the benefit of the doubt as it was opening day and it was a mob scene.

    Some side notes -- lately the pies from New Haven have had a very thich crust, much thicker than normal. The fairfield pie was thinner like it use to be. The waiter said they are trying to figure out why the New Haven crust has gotten thicker, and that they don't know why... maybe an ingredient changed from the manufacturor(?) It's noticably thicker in New Haven -- especially on the crust.

    There were tons of media there -- I got into a shot of the ribbon cutting on News 12 in CT. We got interviewed for a story in CT Magazine that is due in a few months, and there were many newspapers and a few cameras there. They also had their own videographer with some high end equipment talking to the customers and doing interviews, etc.

    The place looks bigger but seats about 20 less than New Haven -- I think it is due to being shorter (New Haven is very long and thin).

    Many of the grandchilden were there -- 2 of them were extremely friendly, one sat with us about 10 minutes and chatted. They were very concerned with the quality and taste of the pies (for obvious reasons).

    A new train station is suppose to open on Commerce drive just up the road -- it will be walking distance from what I understand -- so that means about 75 mins from NYC i think for a Pepe's pie by train.
    #10
    Pioneer
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    RE: More on Pepe's in Fairfield, CT 2006/03/13 20:36:06 (permalink)
    Oh one funny follow up... i just joined here and I guess they send you a code word when you register to enter when you approve your account. The code word is one of like 50 different foods... mine came up "white clam pizza". How appropriate!
    #11
    vegas
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    RE: More on Pepe's in Fairfield, CT 2006/04/01 10:59:00 (permalink)

    Had some take-out last week . . . very good

    FYI, drove by last night (Friday) around 10:10 pm . . . no line, plenty of empty tables, they are open until Midnight on friday and saturdays, but given the location (industrial area versus the in-city location of NH) and lack of patrons at 10, I would'nt be surprised if those hours get cut back eventually

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    ldkelley
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    RE: More on Pepe's in Fairfield, CT 2006/04/06 12:55:17 (permalink)
    Oy...the old New haven pizza debate...Sally's vs. Pepe's.....My flavourite is Modern Apizza, on State Street. Try a pie with bacon and onion.....the bacon grease melding with the cheese grease, running down your sleeve...anyone else eaten here? What do you think?
    #13
    acefood
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    RE: More on Pepe's in Fairfield, CT 2006/04/06 13:05:11 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by ldkelley

    Oy...the old New haven pizza debate...Sally's vs. Pepe's.....My flavourite is Modern Apizza, on State Street. Try a pie with bacon and onion.....the bacon grease melding with the cheese grease, running down your sleeve...anyone else eaten here? What do you think?


    Dude, I'm with you. Modern is my fave in New Haven--one of the top 2 or 3 "ahbeets" I have ever tried.

    Ace
    #14
    Ciaoman
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    RE: More on Pepe's in Fairfield, CT 2006/07/13 17:24:58 (permalink)
    I must respectfully disagree. (But, that's why they make chocolate and vanilla...)

    By coincidence, I had a Modern Apizza bacon and onion pie today for lunch. Though very good--nicely charred from the coal oven on the bottom--it was not AS good as the same pie I've eaten at Pepe's many times. My taste buds tell me that the crust at Modern doesn't seem to have the same intense flavor as Pepe's. Same for the tomato mixture they use at Modern...not as tomato-sweet as Pepe's. Perhaps Modern uses a different type or brand of tomato product. I should hasten to add that IMHO, a Modern Apizza pie is light-years ahead of most any local pizzeria outside of the So. CT/New Haven area. But, I still prefer Pepe's Ahbeetz!
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    FrankBooth
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    RE: More on Pepe's in Fairfield, CT 2006/07/13 17:44:42 (permalink)
    and some of us would say that Sally's has the sweetest bacon of all (though i've had the pepe's AND modern bacon pies both recently and both were excellent)- Flo (Consiglio, now owner of Sally's and keeper of the Sal's flame) said to me years ago when discussing great pizza places- "It's all what you grew up eating- if you grew up thinking Sally's was the best, then it's the best" and in some ways she is really right- whatever YOU think is the best is the best, and everything else is opinion- you just have to go to all 3 and eat a bacon pie and decide for yourself... enjoy frankbooth
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    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: More on Pepe's in Fairfield, CT 2006/07/13 18:22:50 (permalink)
    I'm lucky.I grew up eating Pepe's, Sally's and The Spot's pies (long before it was owned by Pepe's), and I think they're the best.
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    rjb
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    RE: More on Pepe's in Fairfield, CT 2006/11/29 16:24:05 (permalink)
    Finally made it to Pepe's (the Fairfield branch) after lo these many years. The white clam pizza is truly outstanding, as was a sausage and spinach combo my colleague had.

    Went there for a midweek lunch -- no lines, very pleasant service and, again, outstanding and unique pizza.

    The place is right off of I-95 (exit 25) in Fairfield CT and you can see the sign from the highway.

    NB: Fun also to watch the pizza chef shoveling coal into the white-hot firebox like he's stoking up Ol' 99 for the run to the coast.
    #18
    rjb
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    RE: More on Pepe's in Fairfield, CT 2006/11/29 16:25:13 (permalink)
    Finally made it to Pepe's (the Fairfield branch) after lo these many years. The white clam pizza was truly outstanding, as was a sausage and spinach combo my colleague had.

    Went there for a midweek lunch -- no lines, very pleasant service and, again, outstanding and unique pizza.

    The place is right off of I-95 (exit 25) in Fairfield CT and you can see the sign from the highway.

    NB: Fun also to watch the pizza chef shoveling coal into the white-hot firebox like he's stoking up Ol' 99 for the run to the coast.
    #19
    bweir
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    RE: More on Pepe's in Fairfield, CT 2006/12/16 00:22:05 (permalink)
    Is Pepe's Fairfield as good as Pepe's on Wooster St.???
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    JBarry713
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    RE: More on Pepe's in Fairfield, CT 2006/12/16 15:01:36 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by bweir

    Is Pepe's Fairfield as good as Pepe's on Wooster St.???


    The pizza itself is very comparable, the only difference (and a very subtle one) that I have experinces was that the crust may not be cooked quite as long, but in no way was it undercooked, just not as crispy as in New Haven. Other than the pizza, the line is shorter to get inside, but the wait is longer than at New Haven.
    #21
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