Press Artisan Pizzeria – More than Just a Pretty Pizza

Very sadly, Press is closed, but a new restaurant is in its place, the Oak Haven Table & Bar. 

Press Artisan Pizzeria on State Street wants to make it very clear: Yeah, they serve gourmet pizza, but also plenty more. High-end entrees like filet mignon and seared duck breast, contemporary salads such as lobster and avocado, and American comfort food like macaroni and cheese can all be found at this narrow, New York-style bar and eatery.

Four years ago the Ferraro family (of the eponymous Grand Avenue grocery store) took over Nikita’s at 200 Crown St. Two years later they changed the name to Press, and two years after that they moved the restaurant to its present location on State Street.

Press is known for the unusual ingredients on its eight-inch, thin-crust artisan pizzas. Ahi tuna, pear and gorgonzola, and lobster can all be found on an eight-slice size you can devour yourself or share … just as long as they share theirs with you.

To introduce customers to things other than pizza, Press puts on a number of Special nights so you can explore the rest of the menu. Tuesday is Ladies Night: $11.99 for salad, entree and dessert. Wednesday is Italian Night: $25 for five set courses. And every night a prix fixe is available: $29.99 for four courses you choose from the full menu: salad, appetizer, dinner and dessert. That way customers can sample what chef Francisco DeNicia’s latest offerings.

Still want that pizza? At Happy Hour from 5 -7 p.m. weeknights you can get any pie for $8, no matter if it’s lobster or just a classic white.

Wash that down with specialty cocktails by bar manager Amy Brewer. She does a lot of muddling of fresh fruits and herbs, with seasonal options in mind. For instance in fall you might go for a pumpkin martini. A summertime hit, pistachio ice cream shot with four liqueurs, remains on the menu even out of season.

The crowd is mostly mid-20’s and up, and a favorite of the locals. A small space that seats about 50, Press has a cozy, New York bar feel that turns more clubby after 10 p.m. when the music videos start up.

Mara Lavitt

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Restaurant Website: http://www.presspizza.com/

• The Detes: 932 State St., New Haven. 203-787-0227.  Open seven days, Sunday through Thursday 5 p.m. – 1 a.m., Friday and Saturday 5 p.m. – 2 a.m.

• Price Range: Appetizers $8-12, Salads $6-10, Pizzas $8-14, Pastas $10-16, Entrees $14-18.

• Style of Food: Gourmet pizza and more

• Favorite dishes: Pear and gorgonzola pizza, crab cake, Press macaroni and cheese, shrimp and scallops lattoraca, lobster and avocado salad

• Vegetarian/Vegan/Gluten-free offerings: Yes

• Drinks: seasonal mixed drinks are a specialty

• Outdoor seating: yes

• Specials nights: Tuesday Ladies Night $11.99 for salad, entree and dessert (your choice); Wednesday Italian Night $25, five set courses; prix fixe all nights $29.99 for four courses (your choice).

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