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Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana

1955 Central Park Avenue, Yonkers, NY - (914) 961-8284
Posted By Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle on 12/23/2009 11:07:00 PM
We by no means expect this to be our last word on the new Yonkers Pepe's. This fifth branch of the New Haven pizza legend (and the first to open outside of Connecticut) opened on Monday, November 2, 2009. We paid them a visit on Sunday, 11/8. There was already a long line outside the restaurant when we arrived; we had about a 15 minute wait for a table. They seemed a bit overwhelmed by the crowds; there was an extremely long wait between the time we placed our order and the time the pizzas arrived. We trust that, over time, that will be worked out.

The pizza: first the good. Above the crust, our white clam pizza was extraordinary, as good as any we've ever had. They used a free hand with the fresh garlic and fresh clams. Also, we never paid much attention to this before, but the oregano really stood out. It must have always been there but the guy who made the pie used more than usual. Not unpleasant, but a little different.

The problems: the crust is just not right. The blackening is there, as is the irregular shape. What's missing is the texture. Both pies were soft and bready. Not enough salt in the dough either. And they apparently use little or no oil on these pizzas. The lack of oil and soft texture may be intentional, or it may indicate a work in progress. But seeing as how the chewy crust is the best part of a Pepe's pie, we think this needs to be corrected.

The crust on our red pie was even worse. They are using a far too heavy hand with the toppings, especially the cheese, and it's killing the crust. We eyed the pizzas on other tables and they looked the same: a flood of melted mozzarella (very nicely browned, though).

We'll report back on future visits. The question is, if things do not change, if the way the Yonkers Pepe's is now is the way it will stay... would we return? And the answer is yes, for the white clam pie. It wouldn't be a substitute for a New Haven pie (unlike the Fairfield branch, which is as good as the new Haven original), but it's still very, very good. We might even order a red pie and ask them to not put so much cheese on it, and we'd try asking for well-done pizzas to get a better crust. Could we ask them to put a little oil on the pies too? That might be pushing it.

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Scorecard

4 - Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
Medium White Clam Pizza
Large Pizza with Mozzarella, Pepperoni, and Garlic
Medium Summer Pie
Salad
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

The white clam pizza is the best dish in the house.
"The white clam pizza is the best dish in the house."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle





This is a large pie with pepperoni, fresh garlic, and mozzarella.  Mozzarella has always been considered a topping at Pepe's.  In theory, you have to ask for it to have it put on your pie but we wonder if that is still the case, especially at these new branches.
"This is a large pie with pepperoni, fresh garlic, and mozzarella. Mozzarella has always been considered a topping at Pepe's. In theory, you have to ask for it to have it put on your pie but we wonder if that is still the case, especially at these new branches."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


Pepe's offers a nice little salad to keep you occupied while your pizzas bake.
"Pepe's offers a nice little salad to keep you occupied while your pizzas bake."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


Looks like Bruce and Sue's experience was similar to what a lot of people are saying. Clam pie is great, other pies need work.
"Looks like Bruce and Sue's experience was similar to what a lot of people are saying. Clam pie is great, other pies need work. "
Jonathan Giannettino


Here's the bottom of a tray after almost finishing off a white clam.  One problem is evident: where's the oil?
"Here's the bottom of a tray after almost finishing off a white clam. One problem is evident: where's the oil?"
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


The first Sunday at Pepe's and there was a line when we arrived, and when we left.
"The first Sunday at Pepe's and there was a line when we arrived, and when we left."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


A Pepe's white clam pie in Yonkers seems to hold even more clams than the New Haven edition.
"A Pepe's white clam pie in Yonkers seems to hold even more clams than the New Haven edition."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


A closeup of a white clam pie reveals the garlic and oregano blast.
"A closeup of a white clam pie reveals the garlic and oregano blast."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


The summer-only pie is a juicy combination of fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, garlic, and fresh basil.
"The summer-only pie is a juicy combination of fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, garlic, and fresh basil."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


Sam Adams Summer on tap and Foxon beverages.
"Sam Adams Summer on tap and Foxon beverages."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle



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