Connecticut – 19472 Miles Driven.
Driving down the coast of Connecticut took me through the city of New Haven. It’s a city famed for being the home to Yale, one of America’s most prestigious universities. It also has its very own style of pizza of the same name referred to locally as apizza, and its most famous topping? Well that would be clams, and Zuppardi’s Apizza is regarded as serving some of the best.
The inside of Zuppardi’s is brightly lit with seventies-esque wooden panelled walls. It’s a casual, paper plate neighbourhood pizzeria, run by the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Dominic Zuppardi, who founded the business in 1934. On the day of my visit it was great-grandson Anthony who was flying the family flag, and helping out in the kitchen making dough.
New Haven pizza has a distinctively thin and charred crust, and unlike any other pizza I’ve eaten doesn’t pile on the cheese. In fact the fresh clam pizza that Zuppardi’s serves has no cheese on it at all, though customers can ask for mozzarella or ‘mootz’ as it’s referred to locally, to be added. Pizzas at Zuppardi’s come in small, medium, or large, and it’s the weight of the dough that determines the size not how many inches it is. Clam pizza prices are ‘market’, on the day of my visit they ranged from $24 for a small to $40 for a large, double what most of the others cost. According to Anthony a lot of people freak out when they hear the price, I think I was one of them.
Small clam pizza ordered, no ‘mootz’, I visited the open kitchen to watch as Mike shucked the two-dozen locally caught littleneck clams for my pizza. Now I admit that was pretty cool, and I started to feel a little better about spending $24.
It was the largest ‘small’ pizza I have seen, I don’t care how thin the dough was it was huge. It was also the pizza most devoid of toppings I have seen, and had it not have been for the clams it would have just been garlic bread, plus few spices plus and slices of lemon on the side. But what a pizza it was. The thin crust was perfectly crispy, and a just little bit soggy from where the clam juices had soaked into the dough. The pizza had all the flavour it needed, and I can’t imagine mozzarella would have added anything to it other than calories. With no cheese comes no guilt, and I happily ate the whole thing.
Zuppardi’s Apizza is located at; 179 Union Ave, West Haven, CT 06516. Telephone; +1 (203) 934-1949.