Ah-beetz: New Haven’s Frank Pepe Apizza to open in Alexandria

New Haven’s popular pizza restaurant will open a location in Alexandria, Virginia. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

One of the oldest and most celebrated pizza restaurants — Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana of New Haven, Connecticut — will open a new location in Alexandria, Virginia, in mid-2022.

Known for its thin, crunchy, chewy, charred crust and hot, out-of-the-coal-fired-oven taste — Pepe’s, as it is known in New Haven, was founded in 1925 on Wooster Street.

Now with a dozen restaurants in Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Pepe’s will start moving into its first Virginia location at Alexandria Commons, at 3231 Duke Street, on Jan. 1, 2022, according to Melissa Webb, with Rappaport — the real estate brokerage that represents the shopping center’s ownership.

“They’ll be doing the build-in, and will open in early summer 2022,” Webb told WTOP. “They’ve got to build the coal oven, and that takes some time.”

Webb, who lives in the neighborhood, said that she is selfishly looking forward to having Pepe’s nearby.

Frank Pepe, an Italian immigrant, worked at a bakery, and was credited with creating the original “tomato pie,” with tomatoes, grated Pecorino Romano cheese, garlic, oregano and olive oil. Pepe’s white clam pizza often tops best pizza lists.

Apizza is pronounced “ah-beetz” in New Haven.

As WTOP first reported in December 2019, Pepe’s signed a deal to open at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. After delays related to COVID-19, the Bethesda restaurant is expected to open this winter.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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