A co-owner of Frank Pepe's, ranked No. 1 on Daily Meal's list of the 101 best pizzerias in America each of the last three years, has died.
Gary Bimonte died on Wednesday, April 7.
Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, which has 12 locations in the Northeast (in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island), announced his death on the Facebook page of its flagship New Haven location and said the New Haven location would be closed Thursday, April 8.
Neither the circumstances surrounding his death nor his age have been immediately released.
On its website, the company posted a statement:
"It is with deep and profound sadness that we announce the passing of our brother, Gary Bimonte. Gary was a wonderful brother, son, uncle, and friend to so many, and he was loved by all of us.
"Gary was the pride and joy of the Pepe's family, and there are no words to express the immense void that his passing has left in our hearts. He truly loved and cherished our family’s history, and he was so proud of the legacy that has carried through all these years.
"Gary was incredibly grateful for all of the happiness that our family brought to so many people through our love of pizza, and he really embodied the heritage and tradition that Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana is known for today. He will be terribly missed by so many people.
"The family is requesting privacy during this time of grieving."
The first Pepe's restaurant opened in New Haven in 1925.
It's known for its signature coal-fired White Clam Pizza featuring fresh clams, garlic, oregano, grated pecorino romano, and olive oil.
"This is a bucket list destination, one you’ll have to make a pilgrimage to if you want to discuss the topic of America's best pizza with any authority," Daily Meal writes of Frank Pepe's. "The pizzas here are quintessential New Haven: oblong, just a little charred, thin-crusted, chewy, coal-fired, and irresistibly delicious."
Pepe’s has the following locations:
- Connecticut: Danbury, Fairfield, Manchester, New Haven, West Hartford, Waterbury, and Uncasville
- Massachusetts: Burlington, Chestnut Hill, and Watertown
- New York: Yonkers
- Rhode Island: Warwick
"Not only is Frank Pepe’s the top pizza destination in the country, but it’s also one of the greatest old-school restaurants of all time," according to Daily Meal.
This is a developing story. Check back to Daily Voice for updates.
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