Controversial toppings are par for the course for any self-respecting modern pizzeria. If you don’t offer at least one option that makes people wrinkle their nose, what’s even the point?
But, it isn’t just bearded, beanie-wearing trendy pizza bros who dabble in the unorthodox. Some restaurants have been doing it for decades.
For almost one hundred years, Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria Napoletana has been churning out some of the most delicious pies in the United States. Pioneers of the New Haven-style of thin-crust pizza, the restaurant quickly gained a reputation as the premier pizzeria in the country. However, for almost as long as it has enjoyed a storied status in the eyes of pizza buffs, Frank Pepe’s has been courting controversy with its infamous “White Clam Pizza”.
Check out the Giant Cheesesteak-Stuffed Pizza Slice we made for Pink Sweat$:
Whether fish belongs on pizza at all is a topic of serious debate, but Pepe’s pie takes things to the next level. Made with a mixture of fresh clams, grated Pecorino Romano cheese, garlic, oregano and olive oil, the combination has had commentators calling heresy, as others label it genius. It’s certainly worth talking about.
Even though it’s easy to dismiss something so far removed from most people’s idea of a classic pizza, there’s little doubt that almost everyone who tries the White Clam Pizza becomes instantly converted. The hashtag “whiteclampizza” on Instagram is littered with examples of happy customers waxing lyrical about the dish.
One prominent influencer declared in January last year that Pepe’s pie is “the. best. pizza. there is”, while another added, “White Clam Pizza! If you’re tired of the usual run of the mill toppings, this is the fix.”
For some, anything other than the tried and tested cheese and tomato is going to be a disappointment. But, if ever there was an argument for pushing the Italian-American boat out, Pepe’s unusual pie is probably it. Like meat-free chicken or a new Bad Boys sequel, clam pizza might sound like a terrible idea, but is actually better than it has any right to be.