Manchester in Connecticut is named for Manchester in England and, just like its northern British counterpart, has historical connections with the textile industry. That's about as far as the similarities between the two cities go. Manchester in Connecticut covers an area of just twenty-seven square miles and is bordered on three sides by extensive state parks and forests. It wasn't the natural beauty of the region that attracted many European migrants to the town in the 19th century though. It was the surplus of employment opportunities available in the local glassworks as well as the wool and silk mills that beckoned them. They were all boom industries in their time which came to an end in the mid-20th century. After an era of prosperity and steady work, there was a need to diversify to earn a living. What else could the Italians in the community do other than turn to making pizzas for a living?
There's one type of pie that's ruled the roost in this city's pizzerias for decades and Manchester has become known for thin crust pizza. Forget getting a mega-sized slice like you would if it were New York-style. The thin-crust pizzas in Manchester are a standard pie size and cut into eight equal triangles that could never be classed as extra large. Thin crust pizza is a slight slant on a traditional Italian pie. The only difference is the thickness of the dough which crisps up more during cooking than a thick crust would, especially around the edges. Thinner dough means faster cooking, so the chefs preparing them have to be extra careful or the pizzas can burn especially if they're being baked in wood-fired or stone-bed ovens. The biggest bonuses with thin-crust pies are they aren’t as stodgy, don't fill you up so quickly and, if you're eating alone, you'll be able to finish one off without too many problems.
Order a pie from Husky Pizza on West Central Street and you're bound to agree it's the best delivery pizza in Manchester. Husky Pizza's premises are in an independent, brick-built, kennel-like building set back from the main highway. If there wasn't a six-foot-high sign stating what they sell, you'd soon guess correctly the type of food they make after seeing the slices of pizza painted on the frontage - there's no mistaking it. Inside there's no avoiding the business name either as there's an eye-catching logo over the counter depicting it, which consists of a cute, teeth-baring, blue and white husky head. It's quite distracting, but as you're looking for a delivery pizza, you'll miss out on the sight completely. What you'll get is a pie worth eye-balling before you tuck in and eat it. Go for the Pesto Special, the BLT, the Avocado, or the Salad pizzas if you like your pies to come complete with greenery.
Don't get any old take-out pizza, get the best take-out pizza in Manchester from Randy's Wooster Street Pizza. While you may think the business name indicates this pizzeria's address, forget it. This pie shop isn't on Wooster Street but on Manchester's Tolland Turnpike, so if you're driving to it make sure your navigational app gives you the correct directions. Randy's occupies a first floor, corner premises in a small mall with a big parking lot. You'll have no trouble parking or spotting the shop. The interior is painted a luminous yellow that, even at night, shines through the windows brighter than the midday sun. You won't need to don shades to check out the pizzas though. They're classically good and a lot more understated than the paintwork – mostly. If you're an adventurous pizza eater you won't be able to resist tasting their innovative peanut butter and bacon pie. Then again, maybe you will.
Leave Manchester and travel south fourteen miles and you'll encounter a small town with a very British ambiance. Marlborough is a quaint place to take a quiet stroll around and enjoy the sights of its 16th century tavern and 19th century church. After you've spent ten minutes doing that, you may want to head over to the Salmon River State Forest for a hike through the trees before trying a pie at the Village Green Pizza Restaurant on East Hampton Road while contemplating the benefits of a rural life.
If you're in Manchester with spare time on your hands, you may want to take a half hour's drive east from the city to Bristol. Bristol is another place in Connecticut named after a British town and one that ticks all the boxes for family fun. Visit the famous Lake Compounce amusement park or the American Clock and Watch Museum, then end the day with a pie from Sergio's Pizza on Stafford Avenue.
Coventry is a city ten miles to the southeast of Manchester which is great for history fans as well as those who like the great outdoors. The city has several interesting museums including the Nathan Hale Homestead, the Strong-Porter House Museum, and the Museum of Connecticut Glass. For the active, Lake Wangumbaug where you can hike, boat or fish, borders the city. Whatever you choose to do in Coventry, don't miss having a pie at Dimitri's Pizza on Main Street.
Q: 🍕What restaurant has the best veggie pizza in Manchester?
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