7.6.19: Feeling Pepe in New Haven

It’s summer and time for another Sound We See adventure!

Leaving the earthquakes and the July Fourth (and Fifth) firecrackers behind in LA, we hop a redeye for Connecticut, greeted by a warm hug of humidity and Arkady The Lyft Driver originally from St. Petersburg, Russia, the setting of SWS #18 (yes… it’s all cosmically connected folks!). Full of fascinating info about Connecticut (pointing out Hartford’s Colt Armory with its mysterious blue domed building rumored to have been a Greek Orthodox Church erected especially for the firearms factory workers or a tribute by Samuel Colt to “his Russian business connections who were the first major Colt customers.”), Arkady drops us off at our New Haven digs for the next three weeks: the third floor of a Victorian row home on a picturesque tree-lined street. Lovely. We’re a hop skip and a jump away from Wooster Square, the Saturday Farmers Market and Yale University.

But today is all about PIZZA!

How is it that we were clueless to New Haven’s revered status as a pizza hotspot, renowned for its coal-fired pies, “a hotter, crispier, and dirtier descendant of Neapolitan style pie” ? There’s Sally’s, there’s Modern, but arguably the king daddy of them all is Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana. Started in 1925 by an Italian immigrant bread baker turned pizza maker, the business continues to be a family operation, overseen by “Old Reliable’s” seven grandchildren. Frank’s daughter Serafina, age 93, still lives upstairs.

There is a line outside from the time the place opens until it closes, rain or shine.  Yesterday, a record one thousand four hundred and twelve pizza pies were made and served to happy customers. Lucky for us, our talented LA filmmaker pal Karissa Hahn happens to be in town visiting her family and Papa Paul Hahn happens to work at Pepe’s (in addition to celebrating and painting Muffler Men!) so we get the special tour right in the middle of the Saturday night rush that culminates in a divine meal of Pepe’s classics–white clam pizza and fresh tomato pizza and Foxon White Birch soda–shared with Karissa and Mama Kim. Our New Haven sojourn is off to a delicious start!!!




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