The much-anticipated Massachusetts arrival of classic New Haven pizza chain Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana is now "hopefully" slated for December 1, according to a new Facebook update, which includes a photo of the restaurant's massive signage facing Route 9. (See update below.) The restaurant is taking over the former Papa Razzi space at The Mall at Chestnut Hill, and it will seat 85 and feature a coal-fired oven (essential for true New Haven-style pizza).
In the not-too-distant future, there may be up to five locations around the Boston area, mostly near universities. While questions have risen about whether it's legally possible to have the necessary coal-fired oven in Boston proper, a Boston Fire Department inspector previously told Eater that it is possible, but there are strict regulations in place regarding ventilation, fuel storage and disposal, and other factors.
Eater.com critic Bill Addison praised Pepe's "remarkable" tomato pie on a New Haven pizza quest in summer 2014, ultimately ranking the restaurant second out of five spots in the area. He found the "lopsided beauties" to be "rich with Italian umami."
UPDATE, 12/2/15: Pepe's will open on December 16, reports the Boston Globe. (The headline of this piece has been updated accordingly.) This location will offer additional salads and toppings that other locations don't have. According to a press release, the restaurant will open at 11 a.m. daily, and pizzas will be available in three sizes, 12-inch, 16-inch, and 18-inch.