Hamden Daily News - Your hometown cyberpaper
Hamden Weather
What We Are | Inside Hamden | Letters to the Editor | HDN Contact Info | Archives | Send Us Money
Search the HDN
Click here for
2007 Municipal Election Results

Inside the HDN
General News
Town Government
In Your 'hood
A Chat in Hamden
Kids' News
Mark Your Calendar
Press Releases

Highville Charter School Story
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

At Least Think About This New
The Dunbar Hill Report
Guest Column
HHS Newsroom
My Word
Ron Responds
Tony Talks Sports
Victual Reality New
Whitneyville Before Elvis

Neighborhood News
Mount Carmel Buzz
Wanna be a neighborhood columnist? Please click here.

Special Sections
Hamden Milestones
Hamden Landmark Tales
Hamden's 70th Memorial Day Parade
Scenes from Summer Camp
The Angels of Martyrdom,
a novella by Hamden High senior David Amrani

The 7th Annual Brooksvale Fall Festival
Maple Sugaring at Brooksvale
Inside Hamden's Farmers Market
Hamden Snapshots, 2007

Town Stats
Local Obits
Bad Boys, Bad Girls 2008
Red Hot Calls 2008

Local Politics
Legislative Council '07-'09
LC Committees '07-'09
Board of Education '07-'09
BOE Committees '07-'09
Hamden Democratic Town Committee '08-'10
Hamden Republican Town Committee '08-'10
Hamden Green Party

Local Sports Links
Hamden High Cheerleaders
Hamden Hurricanes
Hamden Fathers' Baseball/Softball

Hamden Fathers' Basketball
Hamden Youth Lacrosse
Hamden Youth Hockey Assoc.
Hamden Figure Skating Assoc.
Hamden Soccer Assoc.
Greater Hamden Baseball Assoc.
Hamden Heronettes Synchronized Swimming

Town Links
The Mayor
Town Clerk
Town Hall Departments
School Superintendent
School Department

Hamden Police Department
Hamden Professional Firefighters
Hamden Arts Commission
Hamden Public Library
Hamden Dog Park
Elections & Registrars


Hamden State Reps.
Peter Villano
Brendan Sharkey
Cameron Staples
Alfred Adinolfi

Hamden State Senators
Martin Looney
Joseph Crisco

Interesting Links
Vision Appraisal, Hamden
Concerned Citizens for Hamden Neighborhoods
Hamden Alliance for Responsible Taxation
Hamden Tax Relief
Hamden: Nobody Gets Out Alive
Hamden High Student Web Site
DEP Newhall Community Blog
Newhall Project Remediation
The Cheshire Town Post
Underground Town Hall
New Haven Independent
My Left Nutmeg
Connecticut Local Politics
Colin McEnroe, To Wit
Kent Tribune
The Huffington Post
Drudge Report

Yale Rep
Long Wharf Theatre
Shubert Theater

U.S. Veterans Affairs

General News
December 22, 2006

Finest Pizza in Hamden
According to HDN readers

Tucker gives Marcarelli (Eli's) her handiwork. Then gives it to Bauco (Sergio's).

Words and pics by Sharon Bass

We gave Eli’s Brick Oven Pizza and Sergio’s Pizza and Restaurant their certificates yesterday proclaiming them, in a 37-37 vote, Hamden's best pies according to Hamden Daily News readers. We went by during dinner rush. What were we thinking?

Jacqueline Tucker (“Virtual Reboot”) designed the documents so she was given the task of bestowing the winners with them. After weaving through oceans of customers at Eli’s, we caught up with executive chef Robert Marcarelli, who had nary a second to spare but did stop to pose for a picture. Quick, give us a statement.

“I’m excited to get an award like this with all the hard work that we’ve put in over the last year,” he said. Eli’s pizza shop opened at 2402 Whitney Ave. on Sept. 2, 2005. Marcarelli said he taste tested 20 varieties of tomatoes before choosing the one he’d use in his homemade pizza sauce. (We forgot to ask which type he chose.)

Before Marcarelli was allowed to return to work, we had to know which pizza is the most popular.

It’s the JB Special, named after the late Joe Bimontes who ran a pizza shop at the same location. In fact, the JB is Bimontes’ recipe, Marcarelli said. It’s got “everything” on it.

Then it was off to Sergio’s up the street at 3860 Whitney. We were met with the same dizzying pace. After waiting a bit, pizza artist Marlo Bauco emerged for his photo shoot. Sergio’s is a family-owned biz that was born in 1986. Marlo is one of the sons.

“It’s cool,” he said of his pies being voted the finest in town along with Eli’s.

And the fave there is the margarita. “It’s an old-fashioned Italian pizza with fresh mozzarella, garlic, basil, grated Romano cheese and red sauce,” said Marlo.

It was really good.

December 18, 2006

Pie Tie

By Sharon Bass

Hamden loves her local pizza. That’s for sure. Of the 164 votes that were cast in the HDN’s “Hamden’s Finest Pizza” contest, many included energetic praise for the pizzeria of their choice.

Two shops tied with a winning 37 votes apiece.

Blues Brick Oven Pizza, 2035 Dixwell Ave. -- 2  “Hands down, it’s Blues Brick Oven Pizza. The honey crust is outstanding.”
Cafe Bella, 1670 Whitney Ave. -- 9
DiMatteo’s Pizza & Restaurant, 2100 Dixwell Ave. -- 11 “DiMatteo's is absolutely the best. We eat there every week!!”
***WINNER: Eli’s Brick Oven Pizza & Market, 2402 Whitney Ave. -- 37   “Best pizza in the state (not only Hamden). Better than Wooster Street and Modern.”
Giovanni’s Pizzeria, 1612 Dixwell Ave. -- 1
Modestino’s Apizza, 1911 State St. -- 2
Paul & Eddy’s Pizza, 1630 Whitney Ave. -- 4
***WINNER: Sergio’s Pizza & Restaurant, 3860 Whitney Ave. -- 37  “It is a great family restaurant. The pizza is great.”
Si Mangia Pizzeria & Panini, 3825 Whitney Ave. -- 22  “Si Mangia rocks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Sorrento’s Brick Oven Pizzeria & Restaurant, 244 Skiff St. -- 19  “As good as Modern or Sally’s or Pepe’s and almost as good as Zuppardi’s in West Haven.”
Star Pizza Restaurant, 1380 Dixwell Ave. -- 1  “I find it very cheap and affordable and the Greek-style crust offers a nice crunch to your pizza. Whenever I want delivery pizza I call Star.”
Tonino’s Pizzeria & Ristorante, 3480 Whitney Ave. -- 18  “Count two votes for Tonino's Pizza. I like their delivery and Rose likes it because the owner, Anthony Improta, was a former student of hers at Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven many years ago.”
Village Pizza, 1370 Dixwell Ave. -- 1  “My wife and I always pick our pizzas at Village Pizza. We like the crew that works there, and the pizza is good and reliable.”

Eli’s and Sergio’s will receive a certificate designed by HDN columnist Jacqueline Tucker.

Congrats! And thanks to the readers for voting.

Simon Sez: 'Oy, It's Hanukkah'

The menorah in Freedom Park was lit yesterday on the third day of Hanukkah.

Words and visuals by Sharon Bass

The big hit at this year’s town Hanukkah celebration was a hyperactive, joke-cracking, singing Simon Sez character, Steve Max. But before the theatrics, Chabad of Hamden Rabbi Menachem Piekarski turned on the electric menorah lights in Freedom Park, leading the gathering of a few dozen souls in song and prayer.

“The menorah is a symbol of freedom,” the rabbi said late afternoon yesterday.

Rabbi Piekarski lights three little vats of oil on the menorah.

Then it was off to Thornton Wilder Hall for another menorah lighting -- this one with oil and wicks -- latkes, doughnuts and Max.

Councilman Mike Germano dropped by for a while. Asked why, he said he enjoys his friends’ Jewish customs and won second place in a “Dreidel-off” at Quinnipiac University’s Hillel center when he was a student there. The university’s rabbi, Reena Judd with family, also came by.

Below are videos of Max entertaining the troops.

Simon Sez does a shtick with Hamden High sophomore Craig Factor.

Eunes Harun, 8, a Dunbar Hill student, and Alisha Brabham, 9, of West Haven, get a kick out of Max.

Simon Sez, "Everybody dance!"


In Memory of Chris Olson

Story and visuals by Sharon Bass

Thornton Wilder Hall was home to a powwow Saturday. Native Americans and friends and family of a Hamden man who died on his 23rd birthday -- coming home from a New Jersey powwow -- poured in. They celebrated through dance, drumming and selling handmade wares.

It was the second annual Mid-Hard Winter Dance. A dance that began two years ago in honor of Chris Olson, the young man who tragically lost his life in 2004.

Click arrow to watch the Native-American dancing.

Dancers adorned in colorful feathers and costumes came from Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Ohio and one from as far away as South Dakota. Some had met Olson years ago in the Boy Scouts, like Dave Paquette of Meriden who helped organize the powwow. The Quinnipiac Dancers, a division of the Order of the Arrow, an honor society of the Boy Scouts, performed. They regularly meet at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Hamden.

Vendors set up outside the hall. They peddled jewelry, T-shirts and animal pelts. A horse tail was offered for $25; badger, wolf, white ermine, muskrat and mink fur pelts had price tags as high as $225 and up (in picture above).

Stabbing, Shooting Under Investigation

From Capt. Ron Smith:

On Dec. 14 at approximately 4:30 p.m., Hamden police were dispatched to 160/162 Shepard St. on a report of a stabbing. Upon arrival, police found the victim sitting in a chair with a stab wound to the chest area. The victim, whose name is being withheld for investigative purposes, was transported to the Hospital of Saint Raphael.

The preliminary investigation revealed that the victim and suspect became involved in a physical altercation. During this altercation, the victim was stabbed. The Hamden Detective Division is continuing the investigation.

Nothing further.

On Dec. 16 at approximately 1:30 a.m., Hamden police responded to the area of 815 Dixwell Ave. regarding a shooting. The victim and his friend were standing outside the 24/7 Store waiting for a sandwich. They were approached by an individual who was brandishing a firearm and attempted to rob them. The victim struggled with the armed subject and was subsequently shot in the buttocks. The armed subject fled the scene. He is described as a black male, 16 to 19 years of age, 6 feet, 1 inch, average build, wearing dark clothing and a dark-colored mask.

The victim, whose name is not being released at this time, was transported to Yale New Haven Hospital. The Hamden Detective Division is continuing the investigation.

December 11, 2006
Vote for the Finest Pizza in Hamden

Craft sisters Brianna, 8, and Ellie, 6, both Spring Glen School students, are really into those slices. Their grandmother is Peggy Craft, who works in Town Hall. Pizzeria location to remain a mystery. Photo/Sharon Bass

By Sharon Bass

When I moved back to the area from Maine in '05, I figured I'd hop over to New Haven (a former stomping grounds) from my Hamden home to get some rocking apizza (Maine pizza, in a word, stinks). While I will always rate my native New York pizza numero uno -- IMHO, it is the world's finest -- the pies at places like Modern Apizza and Sally's are still pretty serious.

But, as it turned out, I didn't need to do any pizza hopping. I've found shops in Hamden that rival the ones just south of us. So I got this idea to ask readers to vote for their favorite pizza joint in town, since there are quite a few good ones. I've listed all the places I could find. Quotable comments explaining choices are very welcomed, and submissions can be anonymous. The winning pizzeria will get a professionally printed frameable certificate from the Hamden Daily News proclaiming it "Hamden's Finest Pizza," according to readers.

C'mon. This will be fun.

The List (in alphabetical order)

Click here to send your vote and comments to the HDN. (Note: In the spirit of objectivity, corporate chain "pizzerias" are included.)

Blues Brick Oven Pizza, 2035 Dixwell Ave.
Cafe Bella, 1670 Whitney Ave.
Caserta Pizza & Pasta, 1014 Dixwell Ave.
DiMatteo’s Pizza & Restaurant, 2100 Dixwell Ave.
Eli’s Brick Oven Pizza & Market, 2402 Whitney Ave.
Domino’s Pizza, 2545 Dixwell Ave.
Giovanni’s Pizzeria, 1612 Dixwell Ave.
Legend Pizza, 1500 Dixwell Ave.
Modestino’s Apizza, 1911 State St.
Paesano’s Pizza, 1370 Dixwell Ave.
Paul & Eddy’s Pizza, 1630 Whitney Ave.
Pizza Choice, 1216 Dixwell Ave.
Pizza Time, 1216 Dixwell Ave.
Popular Pizza, 2644 State St.
Primo Pizza, 3000 Whitney Ave.
Sergio’s Pizza & Restaurant, 3860 Whitney Ave.
Si Mangia Pizzeria & Panini, 3825 Whitney Ave.
Sorrento’s Brick Oven Pizzeria & Restaurant, 244 Skiff St.
Star Pizza Restaurant, 1380 Dixwell Ave.
Tonino’s Pizzeria & Ristorante, 3480 Whitney Ave.
Village Pizza, 1370 Dixwell Ave.

Any missing? Please let us know and the entire list will be reprinted.

December 4, 2006

Christmas Tails

Henry "Santa" Gilmore poses with Sparky, a Bichon that lives on West Shepard Avenue.

Story, photos and videos by Sharon Bass

Pampered pedigrees and rescued mutts alike got the royal treatment yesterday inside the Keefe Center. Their nails were manicured, their ears cleaned and their mugs snapped while on Santa’s lap.

It was the first annual Wagging our Way to See Santa, put on by the Happy Tails Foundation. The idea was to raise money to help pay for stray dogs’ medical bills, said Gina Cahill, one of Hamden’s two animal control officers.

Michelle Pascua-Murphy's pup, Casey, gets a manicure -- or is that a pedicure? -- at the Keefe Center. Michelle, 10, goes to Helen Street School.

Pics with Santa went for $10. Volunteers from the foundation and Hot Diggity Dog, a Whitney Avenue groomer, sold baked goods for humans, gift baskets of doggie treats and did the nail and ear work.

Henry Gilmore of Lakeview Avenue played Santa. About 75 canines sat on his lap between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to get photographed. Dolores Giannini, foundation chair, was not the only one who expressed hope that Gilmore would make a repeat performance next year. He seemed to get along with even the friskiest pups, who wanted off his lap.

Hamden's animal control duo Jean Murray (left) and Gina Cahill with Santa Gilmore.

The dog of the hour was Furman, a 2-year-old Rottweiler rescued by Cahill last winter on a cold, cold night. She said she brought him to Gabriella Scirocco, owner of Hot Diggity, for grooming and socialization. He wasn’t ready for adoption.

When he was ready, Scirocco said she couldn’t let the guy go. “He was so scared when I got him. He actually fell in love with me,” she said.

December 1, 2006

Fresh Thai

The chef in his new home. Photo/Sharon Bass

By Sharon Bass

Nai Rui Jiang left his native China for Thailand when he was 5. There he would stumble upon his destiny: becoming a chef. “I fell in love with cooking. It’s an art,” the 43-year-old new Hamden resident said yesterday at the grand opening of his sixth Thai restaurant in the United States.

This latest one is Exotic Thai at 2151 State St. It’s a tough spot for a business to thrive. There’s just a small Laundromat next door and no foot traffic. A Chinese buffet that used to be there closed in 2005 after just two years. But Jiang said he’s not daunted. “It’s not your everyday Thai or Chinese food. I use very little oil,” he said of the dishes he creates. “I know my skill.”

He last left that skill in Indiana where he said he had a bustling restaurant. Before that he served folks in Iowa and Illinois such specialties as mee krob (“Crispy noodles mixed with shrimp and chicken, sautéed in a delightful sauce and garnished with bean sprouts and cilantro,” $4.95), yum yai salad (“Fresh garden greens with julienne of chicken, shrimp, hard-boiled eggs and peanuts in a sweet and sour sauce,” $5.95) and prik-king (“Your choice of meat and fresh cut green beans sautéed in a red garlic sauce and garnished with wild lime leaves.” $7.95). He opened five restaurants in the three “I” states, all of which he said he sold and are still in operation.

Since landing in Hamden six months ago, the soft-spoken man who wears an ever-so-slight smile said he goes to New York City nearly every day to pick up fresh seafood. “It’s got to be fresh,” he said, more than once, as this reporter dug into some pad Thai with tasty shrimp and truly tender chicken.

Exotic Thai opened on Oct. 17. The chef said 30 percent to 50 percent of his business is takeout. Jiang’s niece works for him as well as five other employees. But Jiang said he still does most of the cooking. He insists.

“Cooking for me is a relaxation. I cook when I go home. It’s an enjoyment,” he said. “I love working in the kitchen.”

Good thing he does. For the first six months of a new restaurant’s life, Jiang said he puts in 12- to14-hour days, seven days a week. He plans to be open 365 days a year. And he delivers.


Auto Accidents
860 343 3443

email us

Check us out!

Help support the Hamden Daily News by clicking a link below. If you purchase something at one of the advertised businesses via that click, we get a few bucks -- while you don't pay an extra cent.

21st Century Insurance
Anna's Linens
Barnes & Noble
Beau Ties
Beyond Bedding
Big Mans Land
Cheap Trips
Constructive Playthings
The Container Store
Cuban Crafters
Dancing Deer Baking Co.
Green Cine
Kaplan Test Prep
Lane Bryant
National Pet Pharmacy
Nirvana Belgian Chocolates
Office Depot
Sierra Club
Thrifty Rent-a-Car

Talk To Us
Talk To Us
Letters to the Editor
Copyright© 2005 Hamden Daily News
Site designed by Joanne Kittredge

Tip Us Off
Send news tips