Renewed push to make pizza Connecticut’s official state food

Renewed push to make pizza Connecticut’s official state food
Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 5:21 PM EST
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(WFSB) – Eyewitness News is kicking off our pizza playoffs, asking viewers to tell us your favorite pizza place, and the top one in Connecticut.

Across the state, everyone has a go-to place when it comes to a pie or a slice.

That passion is reheating a push to make pizza Connecticut’s official state food.

Some might consider Wooster Street in New Haven, Connecticut’s Pizza Capital. People come from near and far, but there are great pizza joints all over the state.

Right now Connecticut doesn’t have an official state food, and no state has acknowledged pizza as its own, but that could soon change.

“I thought of it, was like we deserve this, Connecticut people know this is what we do best. This is what we look forward to, this is what we argue about, this is what bring us together,” said Colin Caplan with Taste of New Haven.

Whether plain or piled with toppings, plenty would argue that pound for pound, the pies here in Connecticut can’t be beat.

“This is Mecca for pizza, Connecticut and the New Haven area, this is where the best pizza in the world is, and you can ask anyone in Connecticut, they’ll have an argument about which one it is, but that’s what makes it special, that’s what makes it the best,” Caplan said.

Caplan, who runs the Taste of New Haven food tours and has written a book and produced a movie about pizza, is once again pushing to get pizza named the official state food of Connecticut.

“I think that makes sense, CT is known for having incredible pizza, especially New Haven, so you know, why not,” said Risa Neissen of Hoboken New Jersey.

Caplan first came up with the idea in 2021. With the backing of the New Haven delegation, a bill to designate pizza as the official state food passed near unanimously in the House.

It didn’t get taken up in the Senate. Now the pizza bill is back for a second helping.

“I think this is an amazing idea, the place where we come from Napoli, it’s already a state food, so why not make it in New Haven, Connecticut in general,” said Gazmir Zeneli with Zeneli Pizzeria. “It’s the best pizza.”

Zeneli and his brothers run Zeneli Pizzeria on Wooster Street, carving out a name for themselves amongst some of the industry’s biggest heavyweights like Sally’s and Pepe’s.

The pizza bill would not only recognize the pizza’s contribution to our state’s cuisine, but also the economy.

“This is a way to get travelers to think of us, to try our food, to do something out of the ordinary. Not just the beach, not just a museum, come eat at our amazing pizzerias and try what we love to eat,” said Caplan. “Having a state food is truly a recognition of our culture, our way of life.”

Caplan said if you think pizza should become Connecticut’s state food, reach out to your legislators to let them know.

If you’re really passionate about pizza, you can even submit written testimony here:

Push to make pizza Connecticut's official state food