Frank Pepe’s Yonkers Review
We first went to Pepe’s in Fairfield last year and loved it. For a die-hard born-in-the-Bronx girl to be raving about New Haven style pizza, it has to be good. So when we heard they were coming to Yonkers, we were jumping for joy. They were planning to set up shop at the site of the shuttered Ricky’s Clam House on Central Avenue. So close to us, it was unreal.
Our friends Dave and Julie decided that we all had to be there the day it opened. A day off from work was contemplated, to be there when the doors opened just after 11, but it was decided that dinner would fit with our plans better. Dave wanted to be able to say, “25 years from now that he was there the night the joint opened,” fully confident that Pepe’s would indeed be there in a quarter century.
When we got to Pepe’s around 6pm, there were lines out the door both for sit down service and take away. We were lucky in that we didn’t have to wait more than 10 minutes for our table. Of course, we had to wait a little longer than that for our pies, but that’s to be expected on the first night a restaurant is in business.
We ordered two large pies, an original tomato pie with mozzerella, and the same with pepperoni. We found both pies to have surprisingly thick crusts, unlike the thin crust Pepe is known for. I didn’t care for the pepperoni – I ordered it because some at the table were asking for a topping pizza, and I threw it out there. I don’t really like toppings on my pizza, prefering to keep them pure. The cheese and the sauce were right on, and it was cooked very well. Not greasy at all. We commented to the guy who seemed to be the manager about how the crust was thick, and he agreed, saying he’s been trying to get the pizza makers on board with the right way to do things.
No, the pizza wasn’t perfect, but we know they are capable of perfection. It was their first night, so we definitely feel they can be cut some slack.
The following Saturday, Soccer Girl had a tournament that ran till the early afternoon. When we got home, we were both wiped (not sure why I was so tired, as I certainly wasn’t playing) and I did not feel like cooking. So, we decided to go back to Pepe’s.
We got there at 4:30 to find a healthy line out the front door. Our wait wasn’t more than 5 minutes, which was good.
We ordered 3 pies this time (there were 6 of us, I will have you know). A small “original tomato pie”, which is basically a pizza with no mozzarella, but a little grated cheese. A medium “clam pie”, white sauce and no cheese. A large tomato pie with cheese. The first two came out after about 20 minutes. I loved the tomato pie, even though I was a bit skeptical of a pizza without cheese. The clam pie was well received by Mr IT and Julie – Girl found it icky, but who likes clams, anyhow?
The third pie was a bit more, well, shy I guess. After 10 minutes of eating, the manager came over to explain that they forgot to put our third pie in the oven, but it would be out in 10 minutes. We dealt with it…really, we weren’t upset, and were rolling with the punches. We had pizza. It made us happy.
When the large pie finally came out, it was still a bit thicker than we have had in Fairfield, but it was good. Not as greasy as other bloggers have experienced. Just good.
So, it’s not pizza perfection. Yet. I feel strongly it will get there. Many people are being hard on the place, expecting it to be at 100% from the get go. Well, I’m sorry, that’s just not realistic. We’re making the choice to have faith. They expanded in Fairfield, and made it work. They have another place in Eastern CT, and that too is working. Yonkers will be there, and I’ll probably be on line to see it. Heck, I’ve already made plans to meet a friend there on Saturday. I’m getting addicted, and it’s happening fast. It’s good to have a Pepe’s in the neighborhood.
* in the spirit of full disclosure, the second meal I refered to ended up being comped due to the issues I detailed.