With its low self-esteem and high urban blight, Hartford is the ultimate underdog city. Sad City Hartford documents the joys, sorrows and eccentricities of New England's Rising Star.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sad City's Guide To West End Pizza

If there is one food in America that appeals to almost everyone across all ages, it's pizza. You'd be hard pressed to find a town, no matter how small, that didn't have at least one pizza place. Pizza also comes in a massive array of types, quality levels, sizes, and, often most importantly, toppings. While Hartford certainly doesn't have the pizza heritage of its sister city New Haven, it can certainly boast of its share of quality pizza joints. Seeing as how trying all of them, or anywhere even close to that would take forever, (not to mention drastic weight gain and the onset of diabetes) Sad City has decided to break down Hartford's pizza options by neighborhood.

First up is the West End. For purposes of the guide (and our health) we rated each place on a slice of cheese pizza. The rationale? Toppings really come down to a matter of personal preference and if a place can't get a simple slice of cheese right, it really can't be trusted to do toppings any better. So without further ado another Sad City Guide, this one to West End Pizza.

Ed. Note: Pizza was scored on a scale of 1 to 6 beers. Score was based on quality of pizza only! Other factors are listed for reference.

Cost of Slice $2.00
Address: 498 Farmington
Large Pie: $16 (20'')
Delivery: Yes
Hours: Sat-Sun 11am-2am
Pizza: 5 Beers

This is some really good pizza. A nice thin crust pie with the right amount of sauce and cheese. Plenty of seating inside and some really cool posters decorating the wall. The highlight poster is, of couse, the iconic Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover. A really good spot and one of the best pizzas in the area. If there is any downside, the website is almost comically bad, featuring about 2/3 of a page of the menu.

Cost of Slice $2.00
Address: 498 Farmington
Large Pie: $12 (16'')
Delivery: Yes
Hours: M,Tu,W: 11am-12am Th: 11am-2am F-Sa: 11am-3am Su: 12p-11p
Pizza: 3 Beers

While we got a very solid slice, there was way too much sauce on the slice and it caused the cheese to partially slide off. There were also a little too much cheese and despite loving cheese, too much can just gum up the taste of a pizza. City Pizza is a solid option.

BONUS: City Pizza Fun Fact: When you call City Pizza a recording starts off by telling you that "this call can be recorded for training purposes." Now, it is very common to hear that recording anytime you go through the hell of calling customer service of a big company, but a small pizza shop? Sad City thinks that this has to be in retaliation to a barrage of prank calls. Has to be right? Training? C'mon.

The audio on these calls are NSFW and contain adult language. If that offends you, just skip them. But they are really, really funny.

Cost of Slice $2.00
Address: 264 South Whitney
Large Pie: $12 (?'')
Delivery: Yes, also will deliver cigarettes and Phillies. Party on Hartford!
Hours: M-TH: 10am-11:30pm  F-Sa: 10am-2:30am Su: 11a-11:30p
Pizza: 3 Beers

South Whitney just underwent a very nice renovation that gave the place a complete facelift. South Whitney has fresh new decor and seating and a cool bar area on one side. We were pleased to see an open kitchen. There is no doubt that we feel better about ordering take out from a nice clean place with a kitchen the customers can see inside than some place with peeling paint where you can only glimpse the corner of a dirty looking stove in the back. We could assume this encourages good food handling, cleanliness, and fresh ingredients but then again Taco Bell lets drive through customers see right into the kitchen and has no compunction whatsoever about dispensing most of the ingredients of a chalupa through a caulk gun, so who are we to know anything?

South Whitney actually cuts their "slice" into two slices, which is helpful if you are eating while walking or driving. (Ed. Note: If you insist on eating and driving, please until you are sitting at a light on Farmington to take your bites, you'll have ample opportunity. Safety first!)

It's a good, solid slice of cheese. There was just a tad too much grease but not a bad slice at all. The rest of the food we saw and the menu looked very appetizing and we wouldn't mind hanging out at the bar and giving more a try, but this guide is strictly based on a slice of cheese. Another solid option.

Cost of Slice $2.50 + 50 cent surcharge if you use a credit or debit card on an order under $10.
Address: 479 Farmington
Large Pie: $12 (16'')
Delivery: Yes, also will deliver cigarettes and phillies. Party on Hartford!
Hours: M-TH: 10am-11:30pm  F-Sa: 10am-2:30am Su: 11a-11:30p
Pizza: 3.5 Beers

There always seems to be some sort of confusion going on at Sisson Pizza. First it took us four tries to actually get a slice. Four tries? The first time we tried was on the night of Snowtober. Sisson Ave was open that evening but they weren't doing slices. That's fine, we'll give them a pass on that, you have to figure they were getting bombarded with delivery orders that night, so a total pass. The next time we went they had apparently just opened and had no slices available. Ok. Don't see what it takes to start a cheese pizza, but maybe they had opened five minutes before we got there. On the third trip we had no cash and were annoyed by the service charge so we passed.

On the fourth try we finally got our slice of cheese. For all the irritation that went into getting a slice at Sisson Pizza, they do make a pretty solid pizza. Really big slices too. Curiously, while they are located on Farmington Ave, Sisson pizza seems to think they are located on Framington Ave. It happens.


Cost of Slice $2.50
Address: 274 Farmington
Large Pie: $11.45 (16'')
Delivery: Yes, $1 delivery charge
Hours: M-SU: 11am-11pm
Pizza: 2 Beers

When we got to A-1 we stood at the counter for a solid five minutes before any of the four employees acknowledged us. When we got our slice, well it was big. It was also greasy and the cheese was a little burnt. It wasn't terrible, but A-1 Pizza should be your plan B or C.


Cost of Slice: Who cares.
Address: In the Taco Bell and the plaza across the street.
Large Pie: Will make you sick.
Delivery: Doesn't matter
Hours: Open very late.
Pizza: 0 beers

We have been subjected to Pizza Hut and Domino's two or three times in our lives. It's gross.

BONUS: Vegas Blvd. has awesome, awesome pizza. You will have to order a whole one and they don't always make pizza. Not too mention it can be tricky to figure out when Vegas Blvd is open. But if you get a chance, the pizza is excellent.


  1. The name "Sgt. Pepperoni" sounds a bit too much like a bad porn adaptation of the abominable Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band film with Peter Frampton and The BeeGees for my liking.

  2. not west end but i loved luna pizza when i lived in hartford, a bit pricey but still really tasty

  3. If you don't mind a bit of a wait, driving the 45 minutes to New Haven is probably still your best Hartford pizza option.

  4. Lived here 10 years and for delivery, City Pizza is the best and the product is pretty good.

  5. Every pizza I've had in Hartford has been crappy. It's just not something this town does well.

  6. Yall buggin...da best pizza around da way iz mr.pizza on blue hills..not even a question

  7. Angelina's on Prospect is probably outside of the West End, and it is technically in West Hartford, but they have pretty good pizza as well.

    Also, I think City Pizza is also a 20" pie for a large. You have to be careful for that at certain places.... the large is 20 inches. The Large at Angelina's is a frekin' sheet pizza! When in doubt about what the size of a large is, order a 16 inch pie.

    Finally, I like Sisson Avenue the best. I used to get South Whitney, but then once when I ordered it and they told me 30 minutes, I came about 35 minutes after and they had given it away... they then made me a pizza and only took $2 off the pizza. Haven't been back since. S. Whitney is a thicker style, along with Angelina's, while City, Sisson Avenue and Sgt. Pepperoni are all more of a thin style crust.

    I'll have to try Vegas Blvd. at some point.

    Nice post...

  8. Carmine's at Elmwood (West Hartford).
    The Florentine Pizza - to die for..

  9. This is craziness. South Whitney is totally middling greek-style pizza, and I guess is fine if you're in the mood for that. It is what it is. But Sgt. Pepperoni is the best in the area? I like New York style pizza but that place is the pits.

    You've also missed all the best places in the West End. Lena's and the Prospect Cafe (technically West Hartford but only by a hair), and Angelina's as mentioned. There's also a bunch of Brazilian and Portuguese owned places in Parkville which you've totally ignored. Thanks for slagging the chains though, we agree on that much.

  10. "You've also missed all the best places in the West End. Lena's and the Prospect Cafe (technically West Hartford but only by a hair), and Angelina's as mentioned. There's also a bunch of Brazilian and Portuguese owned places in Parkville which you've totally ignored. Thanks for slagging the chains though, we agree on that much."

    What would you say is the best NY Style Pizza in Hartford? I think Lena's is too thick to be considered NY Style. As for Greek style, there is George's on Park as well. I didn't know Prospect Cafe made Pizza. Thanks for the tips.


  11. not quite sure what your point is about hartford pizza joints but you failed to mention the three historical hartford pizza parlors that pioneered hartfords crappy pizza scene.
    #3.Georges on park street.
    one of the first greek owned in the area,every greek imigrant started here,then went on to open the villages,family,nick's,and campus pizzas of the greater hartford area..
    #2.Prospect Pizza not (prospect Caffe)
    little whole in the wall founded by southern italians in a cozy shopping plaza,where georges Pizza founder started..
    #1.Casa Loma (hartfords southend)
    how this fails to be mentioned when talking about Hartfords pizza must be an indication
    of your ignorance? Casa Loma popular spacious dark italian pizza joint,with wispers of gangster owners,parking lot filled with Cadillacs would have great live entertainment on the weekends, sharp dressed men who sisnt say much accompanied by lovely ladies,and the most amazing pizza,if you were going there on a saturday nite you were getting lucking.

  12. Casa Loma closed over ten years ago.

  13. He did say this was a West End Pizza Review...

  14. Best NY style in Hartford is probably Aladdin's downtown, but that would be outside the scope of this article. The Prospect Cafe does a style very close to New Haven style apizza but it's a little thicker and only available after 4pm. Venice Pizza on Farmington was also neglected, and again, what about the 20 places in Parkville?

  15. "Venice Pizza on Farmington was also neglected, and again, what about the 20 places in Parkville?"

    Venice Pizza is closed, or at least has been since I moved into the West End last December.

    Also, you are saying that Prospect Cafe does pizza, in addition to Prospect Pizza? (Far end of the Shoprite West Hartford Plaza)


  16. For apizza:
    First and Last on Maple avenue (as good as F.P's in N.H.)

    For greek:

    J's Restaurant on Washington (used to be Pizza Plus; same owners)

    Both are great.

    No grease, high quality ingredients.

    Not sure about NY style.

    probably Luna

  17. When I was in America I generally used to go at CITY PIZZA. Its having really convenient opening hours.

    John from Store Hours