In July, the Foodies ventured to Pepe’s Italian Restaurant, a neighborhood eatery on Franklin Street in Worcester.

With so many pizza variations on the menu, it’s lucky that Pepe’s allows half-and-half pies, because the Foodies were eager to try a little bit of everything.

“Tasting Pepe’s brick oven pizza instantly reminded you of all of the good things that a nice slice can offer,” said Evan, after trying his half Margherita and half fungi combo. “A Margherita pizza is one of my personal favorites because of it’s simplicity; you let the dough, the mozzarella, basil, and sauce do the talking. I could not get enough of this pizza.”

Evan observed that the Fungi half of his pizza was equally delicious and only wished for more mushrooms.

Pizza at Pepe's Italian Restaurant.

Pizza at Pepe’s Italian Restaurant.

Stephanie had the “Best of Both Worlds” pie, which is on the menu, and includes a half Firecracker and half Potato Pizza finished with a ranch dressing drizzle.

“The Buffalo Chicken portion provided perfect spice, while the crunchy cucumbers allowed for a bit of a cooling effect. The Potato half was salty and savory. The ranch drizzle that covered both varieties of the pizza added an extra kick to each slice,” Stephanie said. She added, “This combo was amazing, like the wings and skins of pizza!”

Joe also gave the Fungi pizza a try and said it was in a word, “fantastic.”

Every pizza-eating Foodie loved the 16-inch pies because of their thin, crispy crust. Giselle, who had the Rocky pizza, said the crust was, “phenomenal,” though it left her wanting for more arugula, prosciutto, tomatoes, and shredded Parmigiano.

Some of the others opted for Pepe’s pasta specialties rather than pizza and they did not disappoint.

“The chicken carbonara dish I ordered for dinner was amazing. It was creamy and flavorful with a very large number of bacon bits throughout. It also came with a good portion of cooked white meat chicken tenders,” Robyn said. “I ordered mine with spaghetti and the creamy-ness of the carbonara sauce soaked into the pasta nicely. I would order this dish again in a heartbeat. I would even venture to say it would be hard NOT to order this dish again when I go back to visit Pepes,” she concluded.

Giselle also had the seafood diablo pasta, which included shrimp, haddock, mussels, baby clams and calamari sautéed in a spicy sauce, served over pasta.

“This dish was beautiful and the flavors were just right. The spicy kick at the end made me want to order a second serving,” Giselle said.

Joe also sampled some of the Baked Eggplant Parmigiana and said it was “equally as delicious” as his pizza.

“The baked eggplant was thinly sliced and tender and was topped with a deep rich red sauce and creamy cheese,” Joe said.

Amy opted for a lighter dish and ordered the baked haddock.

“The meal did not disappoint. The fish was nice and flaky with a cracker topping that was beautifully toasted and a light lemon and olive oil drizzle,” Amy said. “The broccoli was perfectly steamed with a light crunch and served with a size of homemade rice pilaf. Pilaf is a religion in my home so I was very pleased that is was made in-house.”

Beyond the food, everyone loved the large open space where Pepe’s is housed. The Foodies also noted an excellent patio space outside, which would be lovely to enjoy on a nice day.

Joe spoke for everyone, commending the service when he said, “I was really impressed by our server Megan…she was great, always nearby and handled our large group all by herself.”

After all, in the iconic words of Danny Meyer, “Business, like life, is all about how you make people feel. It’s that simple and that hard.” At Pepe’s, it’s not just about the food.