Gov. Lamont proclaims New Haven the ‘Pizza Capital of America’

The group included elected officials and a dozen pizza powerhouses, like Pepe’s, Sally’s and Modern.

Marissa Alter

Feb 9, 2024, 11:22 PM

Updated 165 days ago

Share:

One hundred pizza enthusiasts packed into Ernie’s Pizzeria in New Haven for a big announcement from Gov. Ned Lamont on National Pizza Day. The group included elected officials and a dozen pizza powerhouses, like Pepe’s, Sally’s and Modern.
“We now declare New Haven the Pizza Capital of America,” Lamont told the crowd as he held up the proclamation to loud cheers.
“Sorry New York and New Jersey and Illinois,” said State Treasurer Erick Russell.
Native Nutmeggers have long known that title is true. Just ask New Haven pizza guru Colin Caplan.
“It's like the best food you've ever had. It's thin, crispy, chewy. It's been licked by the fire. This is actually not just food. This is a lifestyle. This is everything you ever wanted and more,” explained Caplan.
There was a time you could only find New Haven pizza within city limits, but these days, the perfect pie is no longer a secret.
“Now it's spread all over Connecticut, and there are over 100 cities in this country that profess New Haven style pizza. The best rated pizza in Los Angelos, Ozzy’s—New Haven style. The best rated pizza in Chicago that's not thick and saucy is Peace Pizzeria, and that's New Haven style, so we've got it,” Caplan told News 12.
The governor and New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker got to try their hand in the kitchen. And who better to take a lesson from than Ernie's owner, Pat DiRiso, who makes every pie there. His parents opened the neighborhood parlor on Whalley Avenue in 1971. DiRiso told the group his parents came from nothing, and he still remembers looking out the window waiting for their first customer.
New Haven pizza may have started from humble beginnings, but any way you slice it now, it's big business.
“We did some calculations. Based on how many pizzas get made every single day, we know there's actually $100 million of pizza being sold in New Haven every single year. And that's because over 2 million people come and eat our pizza every year. It's an amazing enterprise,” said Caplan.


More from News 12
2:05
 Overdose deaths in Connecticut spark effort to prevent addicts from relapsing, potentially dying

Overdose deaths in Connecticut spark effort to prevent addicts from relapsing, potentially dying

2:14
Mostly cloudy and humid in Connecticut, scattered showers on Wednesday

Mostly cloudy and humid in Connecticut, scattered showers on Wednesday

1:48
'This day is really special.' JFS Greenwich holds back-to-school event for refugee youth

'This day is really special.' JFS Greenwich holds back-to-school event for refugee youth

0:33
Newtown Action Alliance, other gun safety groups endorse Kamala Harris for president

Newtown Action Alliance, other gun safety groups endorse Kamala Harris for president

0:49
Kids Online Safety Act, led by Sen. Blumenthal and other national leaders, moves forward to Congress

Kids Online Safety Act, led by Sen. Blumenthal and other national leaders, moves forward to Congress

1:29
Nonprofit awarded $2M state grant to address menstrual equity

Nonprofit awarded $2M state grant to address menstrual equity

2:00
‘People don’t know Connecticut.’ Lamont hopes trade mission to Germany attracts new jobs

‘People don’t know Connecticut.’ Lamont hopes trade mission to Germany attracts new jobs

1:44
Fairfield University professor calls presidential race too close to call with Harris in the mix

Fairfield University professor calls presidential race too close to call with Harris in the mix

2:19
Westport police warn people to lock their cars, homes after 3 suspects tried to break into several cars

Westport police warn people to lock their cars, homes after 3 suspects tried to break into several cars

0:13
Bridgeport to offer free vaccines to children

Bridgeport to offer free vaccines to children

0:27
Local athletes set to shine at the 2024 Paris Olympics

Local athletes set to shine at the 2024 Paris Olympics

0:42
News 12’s Frank Recchia receives MLK Award for Excellence in Community Service

News 12’s Frank Recchia receives MLK Award for Excellence in Community Service

0:42
Teen Talk Summit brings mental health experts to Darien

Teen Talk Summit brings mental health experts to Darien

0:39
Connecticut schools rank second best in nation, according to WalletHub

Connecticut schools rank second best in nation, according to WalletHub

2:39
Made in Connecticut: Sheffield Island Lighthouse stands as a beacon of Connecticut history

Made in Connecticut: Sheffield Island Lighthouse stands as a beacon of Connecticut history

1:57
Community reacts to VP Harris getting Biden's endorsement for president

Community reacts to VP Harris getting Biden's endorsement for president

AP survey: Harris has enough delegate support to become the Democratic Party nominee

AP survey: Harris has enough delegate support to become the Democratic Party nominee

1:37
Family says 21-year-old Shelton man clings to life following motorcycle crash

Family says 21-year-old Shelton man clings to life following motorcycle crash

2:07
CT Democratic delegates back Harris

CT Democratic delegates back Harris

1:41
Fairfield Warde HS student creates roadside food pantry

Fairfield Warde HS student creates roadside food pantry