Lichel Johnston, Contributing Photographer

Residents of New Haven and the surrounding area made their way downtown this weekend for a slice of action at New Haven’s yearly Apizza Feast.

At the eighth annual Apizza Feast, students and locals alike had free access to the closed-off section of College Street adjacent to Old Campus, where food trucks and vendors gathered to serve all things pizza, local foods, beers, crafts, clothes and more. The Apizza Feast — set directly beside the simultaneous New Haven Grand Prix bike race — was sponsored by Taste of New Haven, a popular food tour establishment in the city. 

The Feast attracted more than 3,000 visitors from across the state. 

“This Feast really symbolizes food and culture,” Brianna Brathwaite, a tour guide for Taste of New Haven, said. “A lot of cities all around the world communicate over food, and this is our way of making our place in New England. You have Maine clam chowder, you have New Haven pizza.”

Although cities throughout the country have developed their own variations of pizza, the New Haven style is unique even in name. New Haven pizza is known as “apizza,” pronounced “ah-beetz,” a Neapolitan pronunciation that has fallen out of fashion in other metropolitan pizza hubs, including New York, Boston and Philadelphia. 

Apizza is typically served as a whole pie rather than a slice, and it has a dense crust because it is cooked directly on the floor of a brick oven. The edges of an Elm City slice are thin, flat and crispy, starkly contrasting the puffy rings of their New York counterparts. Some apizza vendors at the festival included Frank Pepe’s, Dough Girls, Big Green Pizza Truck and Zuppardi’s Apizza, among many others.

“This is just a great event to come out with all the other pizzerias and celebrate,” Kevin Gaglio, director of operations for Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, said. “It’s like a local event here — fall, everyone’s back to their routine, come out, try pizza. It’s a great way to put the community together.”


Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, located on Wooster Street, opened its doors in 1925, making it one of the country’s oldest continuously operating pizzerias. 

For old and new pizzerias alike, the Apizza Feast proved an opportunity for joining the Grand Prix fun and forging long-lasting bonds within the New Haven community. 

“I love meeting everybody that comes for pizza,” said Cheryl Maselli, a spokesperson for Michelina’s Apizza Ristorante, which opened in 2020. “Some people don’t know about us, so they learn about us here and then we see them down at the restaurant.” 

Although most people were there for the apizza, local vendors used the opportunity to share their products with the hundreds of people that flocked up and down College Street on Friday evening. 

Napoli Foods, an Italian food importer and distributing specialist, sells their products to a number of pizzerias and food trucks at the feast. Like other small businesses, Napoli Foods hoped to be able to network with other businesses and attract potential customers. 

The Elm City Big Band, a 17-piece jazz band, and the Hawkins Jazz Collective played in the evening as spectators sat on the green to listen to the music and eat apizza.

Lucy LaRocca, DIV ’08, attended the event with her daughter, Amy LaRocca Fuller, who was visiting from New Hampshire.

“This was a great way to come back to New Haven and get some real good pizza and hang out,” said LaRocca.

That sentiment resonated with others who attended the Apizza Feast, but the aspect of bringing the community together was especially appealing to Alyssa Jhingree ’27, who enjoyed the community-bonding aspect of the feast and how a plethora of people were able to come together and try new foods.

Michelina’s Apizza Ristorante is located at 858 State St.