"One will never forget their first Sally’s tomato pie!" Bart Conners Szczarba Photos.
The author in his natural element.
I retired and moved to Wooster Square from the Fair Haven Heights in the Summer of 2006. I met my wife, Cheryl, one of the first days walking my dog in Wooster Park. From one street over, the smell of coal fired tomato pies was hard to ignore. Oh, the agony!
“Is it always like this?” I asked her.
“No,” she said to my relief. “Sometimes when conditions are right, all you can smell is Lucibello’s and Libby’s Italian Bakeries!”
But those other days, the smell of pizza is everywhere. Wooster Square happens to be the epicenter of Naples type of pizza. Whether you are walking or not, you smell it in the air, coal and tomato sauce wafting over Wooster Street all the way over to Chapel.
I’m not the pizza expert in New Haven. Colin Kaplan wrote a book on the history of New Haven pizza, and filmmaker Gorman Bechard is producing a documentary on three New Haven pizzerias called Pizza: A Love Story. I’m the beautiful blossom guy: taking photos, and spewing it out into short, readable, informative and sometimes entertaining blog posts.
But in the offseason, pizza is often the subject of my blog and Instagram posts and tweets. And let me say—I will miss Sally’s as it was.
One will never forget their first Sally’s tomato pie! As a friend of mine from California said after one look and bite, “You can’t get pizza like this out West.” The tomato sauce tastes like they took homegrown tomato and crushed them with some devilish secret seductive sauce. Cheryl—we were married in 2008—says it reminds her of taking great bread and dipping it in a heavenly pomodoro sauce.
The famous potato pie.
It doesn’t stop there. Since 1938, they have been making specialty pies of all kinds. One of their specialties is a potato pie. I know, sounds weird but it is wafer thin potato slices with garlic and olive oil that will have your eyes bulging and your lips smacking!
Now, Sally’s has been sold, the owner is a mystery and the neighborhood is abuzz. The good news is the the family is staying on to run the pizzeria, which will keep the pies as authentic as ever. And one could go on and on about the quirks of Sally’s, but that is part of the experience.
Is it really worth standing in line in freezing weather to get inside and wait again while going nearly insane looking at the pies coming out of that famous coal oven? Yes, yes it is.
One precious perfect pie at a time. So it’s not exactly the fastest pizza in the world. But some of us in New Haven know, Sally’s Pizzeria is New Haven Style pizza at its best.