Votes are in: This is Connecticut’s most underrated pizza

Pepe’s. Sally’s. Modern.

These spots are inevitably thrown into the discussion when talking about the best pies in the state. However, in the crevices of (arguably) the pizza capital of the country — whether outside New Haven or in — lie overlooked and underrated pizzerias that are certainly worth the trip.

In a very informal poll that ran from June 21-28, we asked you to tell us your picks for the most underrated pizzerias throughout the state. Overall, almost 200 pizzerias were submitted. Though the two at the top of the poll are already heavyweight contenders in the New Haven apizza sceneZuppardi's in West Haven and Roseland in Derby — a number were hidden gems. 

READ MORE: We shipped New Haven-style apizza to California. Here’s how it went.

Zuppardi's is the pizza pride of West Haven. In 1934, bread-baker Dominic Zuppardi moved his business, Salerno Bakery, to what is now Zuppardi’s landmark Union Street location. When he had a stroke in the late 1940s, his son Anthony took over and focused on pizza, specializing in plain tomato pies and eventually adding more toppings like housemade fennel sausage. Anthony’s children and grandchildren now run the pizzeria, where the sausage is still a best-seller, along with a white clam pie featuring fresh bivalves shucked to order. A white pie with escarole and beans is another favorite. Zuppardi’s is also mobile, having introduced its bright-red Zupp’s Truck to the streets about six years ago, and the pizzeria also has an outpost at The Hops Company beer hall in Derby.

Roseland is off the beaten path in a Derby residential neighborhood, but it’s been feeding generations of Valley Italian-food lovers since 1935. The old-school restaurant offers a range of apizza: everything from plain tomato, mushroom and sausage pies to an entire lineup of white seafood specialty pizzas with shrimp, clams and Italian tuna. The Ponsinella is a signature Roseland creation, a market-priced splurge-worthy item with a pile of fresh seafood: lobster meat, scallops and clams, highlighted by charred lemon, parsley and a scatter of seasoned bread crumbs.

Here are the more off-the-beaten-path pizzerias that you voted as Connecticut's most underrated.

Papa's Pizza

A product of three generations in the restaurant business, Papa's Pizza is a New Haven style-apizza tradition done the Milford way.

Papa's Pizza identifies itself as serving "classic napoletana apizza," which is cooked in fire-brick ovens. The pizza options are endless — ranging from 'A Pizza Di Goomba (a white pizza with olive oil, sausage, pepi-salami, bacon and garlic) to the 'A Pizza Di Tony Lynn (marinara sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, meatballs and eggplant). 

The original is so popular that a second location, properly named Papa's Pizza II, also opened in town.  


Ernie's Pizzeria
New Haven

New Haven, Connecticut - Friday, August 13, 2021: Ernie's Pizzeria owner Pat DeRiso prepares a pizza in a kitchen that is open for viewing at the restaurant. Ernie's Pizzeria is one of New Haven's better, more iconic pizza joints, located in Westville and in business since 1971. Ernie's Pizzeria is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this month.

Ernie's Pizzeria owner Pat DeRiso prepares a pizza in a kitchen that is open for viewing at the restaurant. 

Peter Hvizdak/Hearst Connecticut Media

Who said Westville doesn't have a stake in the best pizza of New Haven?

Ernie's Pizzeria has been serving up pies since 1971, and is currently run by Ernesto “Ernie” DeRiso's son, Pasqual DeRiso. In its 50 years of existence, the pizzeria has quietly racked up a number of accolades including being named to Daily Meal's "America’s 56 Greatest Old-School Pizzerias" list. 

The meatball pizza is the star of the show at this pizzeria, which recently was honored by local apizza experts, The Pizza Gavones


Beverly Pizza House

Michael “Dickie” Sosnowski, left, poses with Beverly Pizza owner Eli Katsetos in Bridgeport, Conn., in March of 2015. On Mar. 3rd Sosnowski, 62, suffered a heart attack in a Massachusetts hotel room after attending a Jimmy Buffet Parrot Head Convention.

Michael “Dickie” Sosnowski, left, poses with Beverly Pizza owner Elias Katsetos in Bridgeport, Conn., in March of 2015. 

Christian Abraham / Hearst Connecticut Media

This Greek pizzeria has become a Bridgeport institution since it first opened its doors in 1964.

Founder Christopher Katsetos came to the U.S. from Sparta, Greece and started the Beverly Pizza House. Now, his son Elias runs this Black Rock spot. Outside of Greek pizzas, Beverly Pizza House offers a number of different grinders, calzones and salads that round out the culinary experience.


Tipsy Tomato Bar and Pizzeria

Rooted in the thin crust tradition, the Tipsy Tomato modernizes New Haven apizza to fit the current bar pizza trend. Cheeseburger and Loaded Mashed Potato pizzas are on deck but the Tipsy Tomato also serves up classic Italian dinners and sandwiches. Homemade Garlic Knots are a favorite too. 


Vinny’s Pizza Family Restaurant

Family-owned and operated since 1974, Vinny’s Pizza Family Restaurant is a no-frills, Italian staple in the north end of Bridgeport.

Though patrons may be tempted to order signature meals like lasagna or veal cutlet, Vinny's pizza should not be discounted. Featuring a thicker crust than New Haven-style apizza, Vinny's stays true to its roots with mozzarella being used in almost all of the pies on its menu. Customers can also order a "Little Caesar" pizza or a Sicilian pie. 


Jimmy's Apizza

With Beatles memorabilia adorning the walls, Jimmy's Apizza is truly a blast from the past.

Jimmy's Apizza is also rooted in the New Haven apizza tradition, and the restaurant has fun with the names of its pies such as the "Devyn" (mozzarella, mashed potato, bacon, garlic, chives and grated cheese) and "The Don" (mozzarella, steak, onion, mushroom, pepper and grated cheese).