Colin Caplan is a pizza guru. His deep love of his hometown, New Haven, Connecticut, has morphed into a deep love of all things pizza. Caplan’s so entrenched in the pizza scene of New Haven that he authored the book Pizza in New Haven in 2018 and co-produced a documentary called Pizza, A Love Story this year — both love letters to the brilliant pizza scene around Wooster Street in New Haven.
Today, Caplan runs food tours in New Haven through his Taste of New Haven tour company. He’s also the mind behind New Haven’s Apizza Feast, which is popping off September 13th this year. The festival celebrates the deep Italian-American heritage of the city, once the most densely populated Italian city in America, and the varied and delicious pies that community still produces.
Still, as much as Caplan adores his home-style pies, he knows there’s a whole world of pizza out there to be savored.
“I had to leave the comforts of home to recognize the value of what I’d grown to love,” Caplan recalled last week as we shared a White Clam Pie in a booth at the iconic Frank Pepe. Next, a classic tomato apizza — pronounced “ah-BEETs,” Caplan informed me — arrived and we dove in. Caplan’s enthusiasm for pizza was palpable as he talked about the nuance of dough raisings, tangy sauces, and unique toppings in the same enthralled and reverent tones that a priest uses to speak of the divine.
As the beer flowed and more apizza was eaten, the convo turned to Caplan’s favorite pies across America and this list was born. Is it heavily weighted toward New Haven-style pizza? Absolutely. Was that expected? 100%. Let’s dive in!