An historic New Haven pizza restaurant could soon be establishing a new post in Boston, according to a recent online advertisement.
“While the chain is actively pursuing various real estate opportunities in and around Boston … nothing has been signed, sealed, or delivered yet,” a publicist for Pepe’s said.
The manager and various employees of the restaurant’s original New Haven location declined to comment on the potential move, adding that the Pepe’s corporate office handles plans for potential expansion.
In an earlier News article, Anthony Rosselli, one of the seven grandchildren who now own Pepe’s, said that when the restaurant was first considering opening up two locations in Connecticut, the key to the new restaurants would be to replicate the Wooster Square ambiance and to retain the legendary quality of its pizza.
Current and past Yale students interviewed said that even if it were to move, Pepe’s would still be considered a New Haven institution. However, they did express optimism that the restaurant chain could succeed in another city.
Danielle Cassel ’92 said that she and her college friends ate out at Pepe’s at least two or three times each year, adding that she would most likely return to the restaurant in a visit back to Yale and the Elm City.
“It was a journey to get there and fantastic when you did,” Cassel said.
Cassel, who lived in Boston during her time spent at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Law School, said that she thought the city could be receptive to the opening of a Pepe’s unless the establishment becomes associated too closely with Yale.
She added, jokingly, that the opening might “bring out the rivalry,” on Harvard’s turf. She said that as a Yale alumna, though, she would not view a Cambridge location as a slight to the restaurant’s Yale roots.
Several undergraduate Boston residents named Regina Pizzeria and Papa Gino’s as two of the city’s most significant pizza brands. They added, however, that Pepe’s could offer fierce competition.
Massachusetts resident Thomas Aviles ’16 said that he thought that Pepe’s would not be entering into a competitive market, as Boston is not known to carry a strong pizza tradition. As a result, he said that he thinks that an institutionally small place like Pepe’s would have to build support from the ground up.
“It may take a while for it to develop and be embraced by the community,” Aviles said. “If it’s in a good spot and you put out the same product, you could see it becoming a staple piece like it is in New Haven.”
The Elm City landmark has been reviewed by Zagat as serving the “best pizza on the planet” and has expanded to seven Connecticut locations and another in Yonkers, N.Y. The original Pepe’s opened in 1925 in Wooster Square.