Taking Sides in the Stamford Pizza War

Amy Kundrat

The first hint of a Stamford pizza scandal came from a casual tip from a friend who knows how we obsess over pizza here at CTbites. “Have you heard about this new place called Rico’s?” he asked. “It’s just like Colony and some say it’s better.”

Rumors, speculation, and then the recent ad taken out by Colony Pizza in the Stamford Advocate on July 22 had piqued all of our interest. The ad read, “There is no other restaurant in Fairfield County that is authorized to use our name or our recipes.”

This not-so-thinly veiled threat was taking direct aim at the new Selleck Street pizzeria Rico’s, opened by former employees of Colony Pizza, the epicenter of the traditional bar-style pizza with it’s cracker-like crust and rivers of grease. A subsequent Stamford Advocate article laid out the facts, explaining that former Colony employees helped a Stamford resident open Rico’s on Selleck Street, serving nearly identical pies to Colony, including that signature “stinger” pie, a combination of hot oil and hot peppers. This near replica stirred the ire of Colony, enough for them to consider litigation on the grounds of trade secrets. Basically, they believe Rico’s stole their time-honored recipe.

Colony is an institution, but as many of the comments point out, some people are fed-up with Colony’s “service,” no-delivery and cash-only policy, coupled with the occassional habit of leaving the phone off the hook when service is too busy. For some pizza lovers and Colony die-hards, therein lies the attraction. The dull and prickly no-frills service is precisely what we love about Colony. On the other hand, Rico’s delivers and accepts credit cards which in a pinch, and if you are working in downtown Stamford, can be a lovely thing.

Trademark secrets and litigious actions aside, how do the pizzas compare? Thanks to a few dedicated local bloggers, you can preview the great Stamford Pizza War before waiting out the busy signals and heading to the ATM.

Bar Stool Philospherhas a detailed, side-by-side comparison, giving Rico’s the edge within context:

This battle, in my humble opinion, … was won by Rico's two out of three... It really is a close call and I believe there's room for both in the pizza world. After all, Pepe and Sally have managed to coexist quite nicely in New Haven without turning into the Hatfields and the McCoys. Let's hope Colony and Rico manage the same truce.

>> Read Bar Stool’s full review <<

Lunch Break Chronicles, always the first to breaking pizza or taco news, shared this gem, calling out the Colony experience, not just the taste of the competing pies.

While eerily similar, Rico’s tastes like Colony on an slightly-off day. With a crust that is less crisp, having near identical toppings and even perhaps a better sauce, it is not the same experience.

>> Read the LBC’s full review <<

According to OmNomCT who have scoured the entire city of Stamford for great pies, they’ve declared:

Rico’s is good, but not great.  You can’t go in here expecting a pie just like Colony because there are noticeable differences.

>> Read OmNom's full review <<

Even the Stamford Pizza Tour awoke from its slumber to proffer this bottom-line: 

Rico’s is the quintessential bar pie without the bar. If you’re looking for a good, traditional pizza, there are other places to go, but if you’ve got a Colony addiction, Rico’s is a viable substitute.

>> Read Rico’s Pizza Review from Stamford Pizza Tour <<

Have you recently been to Rico's? Are you a die-hard Colony fan? Weigh-in on this Stamford battle of the pies.

[Photography Courtesy of Barstool Philosophers ]