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All aboard the apizza jet! Entourage of CT pizza fanatics fly to US Capitol

FILE: A worker at Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana takes a piping hot pizza out of a coal oven and places it into a to-go box during a weekday lunchtime rush. The restaurant was founded in 1925 by Italian immigrant Frank Pepe in New Haven, and has since opened locations across the Northeast.
Ryan Caron King
/
Connecticut Public
FILE: A worker at Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana takes a piping hot pizza out of a coal oven and places it into a to-go box during a weekday lunchtime rush. The restaurant was founded in 1925 by Italian immigrant Frank Pepe in New Haven, and has since opened locations across the Northeast.

Connecticut's pizza industry is sending a delegation on a chartered jet to Washington, D.C., Wednesday to declare New Haven as the pizza capital of the United States.

More than a hundred pizza makers and community leaders are expected to travel to the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro will symbolically enter a statement into the congressional record declaring New Haven the Pizza Capital.

“New Haven has the best pizza in the country – and it is not even close," DeLauro said in a statement. "Ask anyone from Connecticut and they will tell you Connecticut pizza, or 'apizza' as we call it, is hands down — no contest — the best pizza in America."

(In case you are wondering, "apizza" is pronounced "ah-beetz.")

Connecticut pizza boosters say the Elm City is a national and international destination for pizza and that Connecticut's pizzerias provide jobs and contribute to the state's economy.

The delegation will travel from Tweed-New Haven Airport on a chartered Avelo Airlines airplane.

Several New Haven pizza restaurants will join the trip, including Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, Sally’s Apizza, Modern Apizza, Pizza at The Brick Oven, Next Door, Big Green Truck Pizza, BAR, Est Est Est Pizza and Cast Iron Chef Chop House & Oyster Bar.

The event is organized by Colin Caplan, a noted connoisseur of Connecticut pizza.

"New Haven pizza, which is chewy and crispy and charred ... is this perfect balance of how a cooked handcrafted product can be made," Caplan said. "It's simplicity, and it's love."

This story has been updated.

Matt Dwyer is an editor, reporter and midday host for Connecticut Public's news department. He produces local news during All Things Considered.
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