New Haven-style pizza, locally known as apizza, is a style of Neapolitan pizza common in and around New Haven, Connecticut. It originated at the Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana and is now served in many other pizza restaurants in the area, most notably, Sally's Apizza, Bar Bru Room, Grand Apizza, Sal's Apizza, and Modern Apizza. Modern, Pepe's and Sally's are consistently rated among the best pizzerias in the United States, giving this geographically-limited pizza style considerable culinary and historical importance.
American pizzerias generally consider a plain pizza to be crust, tomato sauce, and mozzarella. In a New Haven-style pizzeria a "plain" pizza is crust, oregano, chopped garlic, and tomato sauce with a little bit of grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese sprinkled on. Mozzarella (called "mootz" in the New Haven-Italian dialect) is considered to be a topping; a customer who wants it must ask for it. When Frank Pepe began making his "tomato pies" on Wooster Street in the early 1920s, the only varieties were "plain" and "marinara" (tomato sauce, grated cheese, and anchovies).
Later on, Pepe invented the "white clam pie" due to his allergies to tomatoes and mozzarella. Pepe's restaurant used to serve littleneck clams on the half shell at the bar which he eventually decided to put on the pizza. The white clam pie is crust, olive oil, oregano, grated cheese, chopped garlic, and fresh littleneck clams. Since then, the white clam pie has become the signature pizza among the New Haven pizzerias, who try to discourage any customers from ordering it with mozzarella.
What really sets New Haven-style pizza apart from other styles is its thin crust. Brick oven cooking makes the crust very crispy and chewy throughout. New Haven-style pizzerias always make sure that they use a balance of sauce, cheese, and toppings. They feel that too much of any of the ingredients causes the pizza to become too heavy and rich.
New Haven-style pizza is traditionally baked in a coal- or wood-fired brick oven and is typically sold whole rather than by the slice. Many New Haven-style pizzerias also serve East Haven-based Foxon Park soft drinks.
Use of the term "apizza" (pronounced /aˈbiːtz/ a-BEETS) is mostly confined to the Italian-American enclaves of southern Connecticut, and derives from Neapolitan dialect. The dish is more widely known throughout the region as simply "New Haven-style pizza", as opposed to "New York-style pizza" which remains the dominant style of pizza-making throughout the rest of the Northeast.
Although most commonly available in the New Haven area, New Haven-style pizza has begun to spread to other parts of Connecticut. It is now commonly available in the Italian-American areas of Bridgeport and other shoreline communities. It is beginning to be served in areas typically not known for large Italian-American populations, including towns in northern and central Connecticut as well as further away in Stayton, Oregon, Washington, DC,, Chicago, Illinois., and Farmington Hills, Michigan,. In California, New Haven style pizza can be found in San Diego at BASIC Pizza and in San Francisco at Tony's Pizza Napoletana.