February 19, 2006

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana in Fairfield

The best pizza in the world is coming to within a mile of my house!

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana is widely regarded as the best pizza in the world. And after 80-some-odd years of operating establishments on Wooster Street in New Haven, CT, they are opening a new location mere minutes away from my house in Fairfield.

Now, it was never any great hassle to travel 30 minutes up to New Haven for great pizza. But this new Fairfield location will change the dynamic of take out pizza for us at home.

I swung by the new location today -- which is still under construction -- and managed to snap a couple of photos. Pepe's is taking over the location of CJ's Restaurant on Commerce Drive in Fairfield. This is an up-and-coming area, but is currently home to some auto dealerships and other industrial and trade-oriented supply shops. It's a little off the beaten path from the typical Fairfield restaurant locations, being located across from a electrical supply store, and a quarter mile down from Connecticut Limosine's Bridgeport station.

It looks like the restaurant will take over the entire first floor of the building. I don't know what's on the second floor. (Rooms to rent?) There is a modest sized parking lot (15-20 spots) to the side of the building, and the entrance is on that side as well. As you walk into Pepe's, you'll notice what I presume will be a dining area to the left. This could also be the waiting area. Straight ahead is a short, shallow ramp up to another dining area. What looks to be a service area already has a beverage refrigerator installed (labeled Foxon Park, of course). To the right is the counter, pizza-making area, and the oven.

Ah, the oven. If you've seen the oven at Pepe's in New Haven, you'll know that it is a beast of an oven. It takes up the entire wall, and is coal-fired. It looks like they've built a replica for the Fairfield location. Interestingly, when I was there taking pictures today, the restaurant was clearly weeks away from opening. But someone was already there firing up the oven. I presume this is to break-in and "season" the oven for Opening Day.

I'm already plotting my first visit pies: 1 white clam, 1 sausage. Stay tuned for the first report...