An Elm City native offers Delray Beach a delicious taste of his hometown at Ah-Beetz New Haven Pizza

Ah-Beetz with Mootz

Long-time New Haven pizza purveyor Nick Laudano is cooking up tasty piesl at a new, largely take-away venture in a strip center just off Atlantic Avenue in western Delray Beach. The white pie with clams and bacon is a must. 


I first noticed the signs for Ah-Beetz New Haven Pizza while driving south on Jog Road south of Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach a few months back.

A promising omen. New Haven-style pizza is a rarity outside of what is known as Connecticut’s Elm City. Yes, there was Nick’s New Haven Pizza in Coral Springs and Boca Raton.  And, I’d read that Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napolitana, an iconic New Haven pizzeria since 1925, would be opening a franchise location in Boca Raton.

But for those in western Delray Beach, a neighborhood where every strip center seems to house a pizzeria offering New York-style pizza, Ah Beetz, adjacent to the Delray Salon in the Atlantic Plaza Shoppes (home to Beijing Palace), promised something different.

Ah-Beetz New Haven Pizza is on Jog Road, south of Atlantic Avenue.

There’s not much to the new west Delray Beach store, dominated inside by a large coal-fired oven. It’s largely a carry-out operation with a few inside tables and a half dozen on the outside sidewalk.

Nevertheless, it turns out to be the kind of food that will make you return again and again. The offerings revolve around Apizza (“ah-beetz”) as pizza is called in New Haven’s Italian-American dialect. New Haven-style pizza thrives in neighborhoods near Yale University in Connecticut’s second-largest city. Apizza is a thinner, crisper relative of the Neapolitan-style pie.  It’s typically baked in a coal-fired oven that gives it a charred crust.

10-inch white appiza with clams and bacon.

Soon after I learned that Ah-Beetz was opening on May 4 I knew I had to get there and give it a try. And I did.

There are no slices to be had here, just personal pies as well as larger ones. And at least one former New Haven resident attested recently on Facebook to the authenticity of Ah-Beetz.

I had to agree.

My first order: a 10-inch white pizza with clams and bacon ($18.99), a New Haven specialty. it arrived steaming from the oven with a charred black crust (not unlike the pizza at Anthony’s Coal-Fired Pizza). From the first bite of this doughy disc laden with a mélange of briny clams, savory bacon, flavorful cheese and zesty garlic, my mouth was happily dancing. It was even better washed down with slugs from a glass bottle of Foxon Park Clear Birch Beer ($2.50), a colorless soda flavored with wintergreen, from Foxon Park Beverage Co., a 100-year-old New Haven area soft drink maker.

I couldn’t wait to return. A few days later I was back for a traditional ah-beetz with mootz, a pie with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. The crust was crispy and crunchy, but foldable and the sweetish bright red sauce and cheese were in balance. (The original New Haven pie, a red-sauce pizza sprinkled with pecorino cheese, is made without mozzarella.) My plan was to eat half a personal pie and take the rest home. However, resistance was futile due to a combination of gluttony and the deliciousness of the pizza. I finished the whole thing as I sat outside the eatery.

Coal-fired oven baked chicken wings with hot sauce.

To be sure, there’s more on the menu than pizza. There are calzones, salads, grinders (a hero or sub to those not from New Haven) and chicken wings. I had hoped to try a meatball grinder, but Ah-Beetz was sold out after a mention in the Sun-Sentinel online. Instead, I opted for a small order of wings, 10 meaty pieces on the bone, charred in the coal oven, and then slathered with hot sauce ($13). Something I’d order again in the blink of an eye.

Nick Laudano and Kassondra Frantz in the Ah-Beetz kitchen.

Behind Ah-Beetz is founder Nick Laudano, of Boynton Beach, a New Haven area native who was a construction contractor and who with now-former partner Anthony Giovanniello opened Nick’s New Haven Style Pizzeria & Bar outlets in Boca Raton and Coral Springs, in 2011 and 2014, respectively. He also operated a short-lived prototype of Ah-Beetz in New Haven and some 15 years earlier another pizzeria in the Elm City.  Laudano, amid legal problems, according to public filings, sold his interests in the Florida stores to Giovanniello, who is getting ready to open Bar 25 at the former Mellow Mushroom in downtown Delray Beach.  The Coral Springs pizzeria closed in 2021 after seven years in business.

Laudano’s newest culinary venture, where he works the pizza oven, was incorporated as Elm City Pizza Co. LLC and is registered to his long-time associate, Kassondra Frantz, of Wellington.  Frantz told me that Laudano plans to pass the torch to his son, also named Nick.

I wish them success in the future. The ingredients and the know-how to produce delicious pizza are there. I’ll be there, too.

Ah-Beetz New Haven Pizza

15200 Jog Road, Unit A3, Delray Beach, FL 33446


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