New Haven, Connecticut, Little Italy, Frank Pepe, Pizza Little Italy, New Haven, Connecticut, Arch, New haven, Connecticut, Little Italy, Christopher Columbus park

 

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Many times, I will open up my mailbox to an email that simply has one sentence. They are the equivalent to user "one liners"- some are on things I should be aware of: " Hey, Teresa Giudice is an animal" while others just direct me where to go- "Little Italy- New Haven Connecticut"

I had never known that there was a Little Italy in New Haven. It caught me off guard. I immediately emailed the person who suggested and asked, "where should I go?" He informed me that Wooster street, while small, is the place to go for Italian food. He then said, "if you go anywhere- go to Frank Pepe's Pizzeria. Its been there since 1925." The fact that an Italian was making pizzas in New Haven close to 100 years ago surprised me more than anything else.

So, on my trip to Rhode Island's Little Italy, I made a pit stop. I made a bee line to Wooster Street, eager to try out a century's old pizza. When I arrived, I had but one thing to say- Wooster Street put the "Little" in Little Italy. The place is literally one block long. There isn't even a width to it. New Haven's Little Italy begins and ends with Wooster Street.

The fact that I took a detour to see it really made seeing it anti-climactic. I was expecting bigger- especially given the Italian population of Connecticut. Disappointed, I walked to Frank Pepe's Pizzeria. I waited on line in the pouring rain to get in as hoardes of people were ahead of me like Frank's had the last pizzas ever made. Man, I needed a pick-me-up.

Pepe's provided the tonic I needed- Italian comfort food at its finest. We shared a cheese/mushroom pie and a locally made soda- Foxon Park Soda. The two went very well together. The pizza was classic Napolitana- ultra thin, charred crust and the freshest ingredients. Satisfied, I went on a stroll of Wooster Street. It was then that I began to understand why this Little Italy was recommended.

Wooster Street is not an urban Little Italy, as many of us are used to. It's what you get when Italians live in a small town- a quaint, quiet, and clean Little Italy. The type of place where all of the store owners know the regulars and the perfect place for a low-key date night. The street is solidly Italian- there is very little (if any) variation on the ethnicity of the stores. Cafes, pizzerias and restaurants lined the street, one on top of the other. Wooster Street made very good use of its limited real estate. There is also a sizeable park dedicated to Christopher Columbus, which from the inscription seems as though it was erected by local Italians in 1892.

As we walked back to our car, it was getting dark out. In my singlemindedness to get to Frank's and off of Wooster Street as quickly as possible when I arrived, I hadn't noticed the most charming part of Wooster street- its archway. Now, it was lit up- with the colors of the Italian flag. A perfect, low-key touch to a low-key type of place.

 

New Haven, Little Italy, Italian Flag, Italian