When Alforno opened in June, 1992, owner Bob Zemmel had one goal: to bring the brick oven pizza made famous on New Haven's Wooster Street to the shoreline. The sizzling pies, their chewy crusts slightly charred from the 600-plus temperature of a custom-built brick oven, crisp salads tossed in Alforno's signature dressings, and artisan bread quickly drew a loyal following.
Although the brick oven remains its heart, Alforno has evolved over the years into a trattoria known for its from-scratch kitchen and Tuscan-inspired menu. It is a place where Insalata Verde, pizzas and soft drinks share the menu with seasonal specials such as ricotta-stuffed zucchini blossoms over risotto paired with a fine Brunello. Stocks, sauces and fresh pastas and ravioli are made in-house. Alforno bread is baked daily after a three-day process to bring out maximum flavor.
Favorable reviews in The New York Times, The Hartford Courant, New London Day, New Haven Register and Norwich Bulletin have recognized owner and executive chef Bob Zemmel's commitment to quality. The Zagat Survey has awarded Alforno 23 points for food and featured the restaurant in its "Guide to the 1,000 Best Italian Restaurants in America." Connecticut magazine's Readers' Choice issue has singled out Alforno 10 times in its best restaurant poll.
Alforno is a family-friendly restaurant run by a friendly family. When Bob married into an Italian-American family, he learned to share their passion not only for eating but also for cooking. His mentor, cookbook author and teacher Giuliano Bugialli, instilled in him a love for all things Tuscan. Bob and his wife, Linda, the former food editor of The Courant, travel to Italy frequently to bring back new menu ideas and foods to share with their Alforno friends.