CT lawmaker's saucy pizza proclamation causes outcry in top pie outposts: 'There's only one original'

A Connecticut congresswoman’s pronouncement on the House floor officially declaring that New Haven is the nation’s pizza capital led to some lighthearted objections from lawmakers in other popular pie locales last week.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., announced on the House floor that for several reasons, New Haven – the state’s second-largest city – is thereby recognized as “the Pizza Capital of the United States.”

DeLauro said New Haven-style “Apizza,” as it is called, is a “specially crafted food that draws people from across the country to my hometown of New Haven, Connecticut.”

“It is called ‘Apizza’ after the original way ‘la pizza’ was pronounced in southern Italy,” she added of the pie, which is a Neapolitan, thin-crust variety.

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“For more than a century, New Haven has been home to some of the most famous pizzerias in the country. Known for everything from a plain sauce to white clam to mashed potato, and I proudly rise today to claim New Haven as the pizza capital of the United States,” said DeLauro, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee.

The lawmaker said Connecticut has the most pizzerias per capita in the country and named Frank Pepe’s, Pizzeria Napoletana and other New Haven eateries as examples of why “Apizza” should essentially be considered the nation’s pizza.

However, when asked about the declaration, several pizza-city lawmakers offered different takes:

“Next time Congresswoman DeLauro comes to Chicago she will have to try out any of the 50-plus different pizza places here that are better than anything they have in New Haven,” Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., who represents part of the deep-dish outpost, told Fox News Digital on Tuesday.

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“With all due respect to my friend, anyone who has eaten pizza from Pequod’s, D’Agostino’s, Lou Malnati’s, or Pat’s has no doubt that the best pizza in the nation comes from right here in Chicago,” Quigley said.

The lawmaker’s office added that he plans to respond further to the pronouncement live from Chicago’s best pizzerias later this week.

Back on the East Coast, Rep. Daniel Goldman, D-N.Y., noted his Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn district hosts the first pizzeria in the U.S., which is Lombardi’s in Little Italy.

He argued that New York should hold the title of America’s best pie, suggesting other cities have great options but still fall short.

“While New Haven pizzerias have done an excellent job of replicating New York City pizza, there is only one original,” Goldman said.

Fox News Digital also reached out to several Staten Island lawmakers for comment, as the borough prides itself on its own brand of pizza separate from the rest of New York City’s, which some proprietors attribute to the island’s unique water supply.

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Denino’s, a longtime haunt for pies on the island’s North Shore, previously shipped water from Staten Island to its Brick, New Jersey, outpost for years before installing a specialized water filtration system to replicate its distinctiveness.

New York Assemblyman Michael Reilly, a Republican, represents part of Staten Island’s South Shore, which is home to popular outposts like Lee’s and Giove. He questioned how New Haven could come close to his home borough in terms of pizza.

“I once went to Connecticut to visit family and ordered a square pie – what we call a Sicilian or Grandma style in New York. What we received was a round cheese pizza cut into tiny squares,” Reilly joked.

“Remind me again what Connecticut knows about pizza?” 

Reilly’s counterpart in the New York City Council, Minority Leader Joe Borelli, a Republican from Staten Island, remarked to Fox News Digital:

“I recognize New Haven may not have a lot going for it, but they should treat this like the participation trophy it is, and one that’s been awarded by an institution not known for its impeccable judgment.”

Rep. Shri Thanedar, D-Mich., who represents much of Detroit, told Fox News Digital that people looking to the Atlantic coast for the best pie are going too far.

“While I understand the merits of the thin-crust pizza of the Northeast, the Detroit pizza scene has long been underrated and underappreciated,” Thanedar said.

“It is hard to beat the thick, fluffy crust and crisp, cheesy exterior that is distinctly Detroit. The pizza also has the city’s history baked in, originally prepared in rectangular steel trays designed as automotive drip pans or to hold small industrial parts in factories.”

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Thanedar said his favorite Detroit-style pizzeria is Buddy’s, an eatery established in 1946. It’s where the lawmaker recently hosted U.S. Small Business Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman.

“All this to say, don’t cast your vote for ‘best pizza in America’ until you’ve been to the Motor City,” he said.

DeLauro’s declaration reportedly coincided with her office hosting dozens of Connecticut pizza bakers in Washington, D.C., to highlight the state’s prominence in that regard.

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