Fresno, CA

Hey, Fresno pizza houses! How about bringing a clam pizza to town?

Mark-John Clifford
Clam Pizza by Pepe's of New Haven, CTTrip Advisor

Have you ever had a clam pizza? Have you heard of a clam pizza?

Most likely, it's a no to both or at least to one of those questions because, in reality, clam pizza is a back east thing. To be precise, it's a New Haven, Connecticut thing.

It all started with Frank Pepe, who I met through my uncle years ago when I tried my first slice of clam Pizza.

I remember showing up at the original location, which is still there, and hearing a story about the brick oven fueled 24 hours a day with wood. The story was they couldn't let the oven cool down because the brick might fall apart, so they kept the oven stoked. 

I don't know how true that story was; my uncle told me that, and to be truthful, my uncle tended to stretch the truth. But the one thing he said to me that was true was that Frank Pepe's clam pizza was out of this world.

The first night I went, the line was around the block. People could be heard saying it was going to be a two-hour wait. I wasn't in the mood to wait for two hours for pizza. No pizza is worth that. My uncle agreed with that and proceeded to go to the back door and yell for Frank.

Frank came out and waved my uncle and me into the restaurant through the back door. As my uncle would always say, it pays to know people and treat those people with respect, especially if you wanted to be invited in the back door.

The clam pizza was, as my uncle said, out of this world. The crust was crispy and thin. It had a white garlic sauce with a smattering of fresh clams, and it came out of the wood-burning oven piping hot. You couldn't even touch it when it was served. All you could do was look, smell and admire.

Here's a little excerpt from Pepe's blog about their pizza for a bit of background.

"Frank Pepe' created the White Clam Pizza during the 1960s, during a time when a popular Rhode Island pizza appetizer was raw littleneck clams on the half shell. From then, this highly-rated dish became a must-have pizza, and to this day, so many agree that Pepe's White Clam Pizza is one of the best. 

Our famous white clam pizza is made with the freshest clams, grated cheese, garlic, olive oil, and oregano arranged atop a coal-fired crust that proves this combination is one for the ages." 

So why can't we have a clam pizza in Fresno or Clovis? I want to know?

Let's look at a couple of pizza houses that could and should give it a try.

BC's Pizza & Beer - Clovis
BC's PizzaZomato

I enjoy BC's pizza. I have had some issues with the dough being tough a couple of times, but overall it's the best pizza in town as far as I'm concerned. 

It isn't New York, Boston, or any other east coast or midwest style. It doesn't claim to be even close, which I respect them for. They make pizza, and it's California-style—no fake advertisement or wording as almost like back east. Simply put, we are BC"s pizza.

The crust at BC's is usually perfect. As I said, there have been a couple of times when the dough was stale or overworked, so it gets tricky, but that happens in any pizza parlor. 

Their sauce is tasty and not too acidic like many other places. They have a great selection of toppings, and I have never been told I can't have that. 

But, of course, there's a but. They don't have a clam pizza, and they should. 

They have a meat pizza, a vegetarian pizza, spicy aloha, Jamaican jerk, Hawaiian, BBQ chicken, spicy buffalo, and a Mexican pizza, but no clam pizza.

If you can name it, BC's has it in all different combinations, but still no clam pizza in any combination.

I know clams are not native to Fresno, but fish and chip places have fried clams, and even some restaurants have fried clams as a main dish. Of course, they are using canned clams, but people eat them anyway.

So why not get clams in a can on pizza?

Come on, BC's. I'm counting on you to make this happen.

DiCicco's - Clovis
DiCicco's PizzaYelp

Another favorite pizza place of ours is DiCicco's in Clovis. I find them to be the best at making a great pizza. The crust has always been tender and flavorful. The sauce is perfect, and they have some of the freshest toppings I've seen in Fresno and Clovis.

All of their selections are good, but I'm a favorite of just pepperoni. Sorry, I'm kind of particular that way. I think pizza is pizza when it just has pepperoni and cheese on it with a bit of crushed red pepper to add some zing.

Patti enjoys the veggie pizza, and as much as I try to get her to try the pepperoni, she holds true to her veggie one, not that she's a vegan or vegetarian, not that theirs anything wrong with that. If she were, she would be a great one. I wish I had her willpower when it comes to food selections.

DiCicco's has pizzas like the original, veggie, meat lovers, and build your own after sifting through all of their toppings. 

But there's no clam pizza, and there should be. They carry seafood, and their seafood dishes are good. Why not offer a clam pizza? I bet it would be a hit!

Come on, DiCicco's make me happy. Bring on a clam pizza. Who cares if the clams are canned? If there fresh all the better but we can't be choosey.

Of course these are the only pizza houses out there in Fresno, Clovis, and surrounded areas. THere's Mama Mia, Michales, Chicagos; Pizza with a Twist, Mountain Mike's, Boston House of Pizza, the Annex Kitchen, and their new place Annesso. Come on guys let's get a clam pizza on the menu.
Clam Pizza from Pepe'sFrank Pepe's

In the end, all I'm asking is, why not try it? You may find out people like it. I know from working at restaurants and making decisions about new items to add to the menu that it's hard to take a chance with something new. Especially something new in a specific geographical location. 

You can get fresh clams, but they're expensive, which would raise the price of the pizza, but if you get an excellent canned clam, you could make it work.

Just remember not to advertise that they are fresh clams if they're not. You don't want to fool the customer.

I've made clam pizzas before. I made them at my uncle's restaurant from Frank Pepe's recipe and home. I'd even be willing to help get the pizza on the menu. 

Come on, guys, free help is nothing to turn down. I'm ready to move on this if you are. I want clam pizza in Fresno and Clovis now.

Buon Apetito

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Patti, my wife, and I write about life here in Fresno, California, and the Central Valley. We especially enjoy writing reviews about restaurants we've dined at along with the food that is served. We are not traditional food critics. We don't have to worry about restaurants making special dishes for us. We're just the average customer going in to dine and then we write reviews.

Fresno, CA

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