United States of Pizza: Louisiana
There's almost too much delicious food in the state of Louisiana, from boudin to beignets, muffalettas to meat pies, jambalaya to gumbo, po' boys to pralines, and seafood galore. But if pizza's what you want, you'll find quite a few good—even great—options in this guide. Looking for alligator pizza? A crawfish-topped pie? Head this way...
Of course, we'd love to add your suggestions to the list. If we missed your favorite Louisiana pizza, let us know all about it in the comments!
Where to Eat Pizza in New Orleans
Clearly, some of the most exciting cooking in America comes out of New Orleans, and this applies to pizza as well.
When we asked locals about pizza in New Orleans, the name that kept coming up was Pizza Delicious, which has struck foodie gold with the combination of quality pies and self-imposed scarcity. Like many top spots, their opening hours extend just until they run out of dough. In the case of Pizza Delicious, the scarcity is even more pronounced: they operate only on Sunday evenings, making about 100 pies each week. The story behind the place? Two New Yorkers, co-owners Michael Friedman and Greg Augarten, were dissatisfied with their local pizza options, and they took matters into their own hands. Before settling at Delicious, a commercial kitchen that local chef Anne Churchill is operating as an incubator for small businesses, the duo and some of their college pals would set up wherever they could, announcing their menu and the secret location over the internet. The menu is posted on their blog, and patrons phone in orders. Because of the limited oven space, the wait for a pie can be two to three hours, but customers don't seem to mind.
3334 N. Rampart Street, New Orleans LA 70117; 504-676-8482
The pizza is particularly revelatory. Cooked in the intense dry heat of a wood-fired oven, the pies arrive with blistered surfaces and golden bottoms, their crusts toeing the line between a cracker's crispness and the pliancy of good bread. The prosciutto lain with arugula over the top of one pie—not to mention the speck that conspired with gorgonzola to bring intensity to another—demonstrated broader applications for the contents of the salumi case. Every pizza I tried—and I tried them all—carried reminders of hard-truths lost in the insipidity of America's mass pizza culture. The two most recurring: the fact that tomato sauce can taste like the product of a garden and mozzarella, which covers several Domenica pies in liquidy, snow-white pools, can taste like a dairy product.
123 Baronne Street, New Orleans, LA 70112; 504-648-6020
Our roving reporter Meredith Smith visited Mondo for a Bacon, Egg, Potato, Ricotta brunch pizza. Here are her thoughts:
The olive oil crust had a slight sourness and a balanced saltiness with a good chew and elasticity. It was doughier and softer than Domenica's, never getting crackery, but blistered all the same. A fine grind cornmeal dusted the bottom. The ingredients were exceptional. A base of super thin mandolin-sliced Yukon golds adhered perfectly to the pizza. It was hard to tell where the potato ended. Possible that the starch from them helped keep all the ingredients bound to the crust because nothing slid off- except for the occasional chunk of slab bacon. And omg! what bacon! It was Nueskes from Wisconsin and it was phenomenal: glistening, smoky, thick lardons of porky goodness. Ricotta filled the creases between the potato and pork. And the egg was cooked perfectly. It hit that balance between slightly runny and gelled.
900 Harrison Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70124; 504-224-2633; mondoneworleans.com
We'd heard good things about Slice, another popular New Orleans pizzeria, so we sent Meredith Smith to investigate. Here's her (mixed) evaluation:
The cheese [slice] and proscuitto, gorgonzola, and arugula were the best, hands down. The special and the shrimp & andouille were way too overloaded with toppings for me—I'm talking 3/4" deep in the thin spots. In the case of the "special" [pepperoni, sausage, meatball, onion, mushroom, peppers, green and kalamata olive, and extra cheese], the onions and peppers were more raw than cooked. They never had a chance of cooking through in that mound of vegetables. The dough stayed wet and buckled under the weight. The "fresh" [pie, topped with house-made fresh Mozzarella, tomato, fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil, and a dash of red pepper] had mealy tomatoes which was too bad since they were big, thick slices prominently lined up on the slice. The cheese pizza was decent, but would have been better served with slightly less cheese. The proscuitto, gorgonzola, arugula pie was great, though. The proportions were perfect. The crust on all the pies was thin and dense; crackery like those thin, rod breadsticks around the rim of most of the slices. When the pizzas came out with a thicker edge, the dough had a fluffy, bread-y interior. The bottom of the pizzas sport a coarse cornmeal that was most likely meant to reinforce the dough to hold all those toppings, but I felt a finer grind would have been less distracting. The sauce had a slightly cooked taste, but didn't get into tinny territory. It could use more salt. The cheese to sauce ratio was good overall, but both ingredients got lost on the heavily topped pizzas.
Two years ago, Slice'r Sean Taylor dined at Slice during his annual heroic attempt to have a slice a day during National Pizza Month. Here's his video report:
1513 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130; 504-525-7437
Other spots we've heard good things about include Cafe Nino (1510 S. Carrollton Avenue) and Theo's Pizza, which was named the winner of Gambit's 2010 New Orleans best pizza title. (4024 Canal Street and 4218 Magazine Street.)
Where to Eat Pizza in Metairie
After being devastated by Katrina, Brooklyn Pizzeria is up and running again. Urbanspoon user Sarah says it's a winner: "I'm a Yankee, and when I moved to New Orleans, the one thing I couldn't find was GOOD pizza. Then, I found it...Brooklyn Pizza is absolutely amazing and even tops some of my favorite places back home. If you haven't eaten here yet, you're missing out and should go there immediately!"
Napoleon, the restaurant reviewer for WWLTV also offers a recommendation:
Brooklyn Pizzeria is there to serve anyone who has been searching for a local pizza parlor that can answer the craving for a New York style pie. The key is the crust. It stays soft and is foldable, and there is a bubbly lip ringing the outer crust, or what some people call "hole structure." The cheese is applied evenly but not so thick that it overwhelms the crust. This is not a gourmet-style pizza restaurant, and it is definitely not out to come up with some new flavor sensation. So it follows that the selection of toppings are quite ordinary. This is fine with me, since my feeling is less is more when the pizza is fundamentally as good as this.
4301 Veterans Boulevard, Metairie, La. 70006; 504-833-1288
Where to Eat Pizza in Covington
Serious Eater Olddad wrote to recommend this spot: "Pizza Man in Covington is the best pizza I've eaten in this area. Good pizza is hard to find down here."
WWLTV's Napoleon agrees:
The eponymous Pizza Man here is Paul Schrems, and over the past 30 years he's earned a reputation as one of the top pizza makers around these parts. His style is somewhere between the thin-crust New York pizza and the more doughy, locally-dominant style, and it tastes just about right. This base is crisp yet substantial, and it has good character throughout. The plain old cheese or pepperoni are a purist's pleasure, but zero-in on one of the named pies from some time-honed specialties. The "WOW" pizza has crabmeat embedded in a blend of cheeses with artichokes and a dressing of olive oil instead of tomato sauce. I also recommend a pizza called "the Board," which loads up the fresh spinach and adds mushrooms, spicy capicola ham and chunks of feta.
1248 North Collins Boulevard, Covington, LA 70433; 985-892-9874
Where to Eat Pizza in Shreveport
Johnny's Pizza House
Several Serious Eats community members suggested Johnny's, which is the largest locally-owned chain in northern Louisiana. Serious Eater Mike M. of Bossier City fills us in:
The sauce has just the right amount of zing and snap to it. The crust is by far our favorite. The toppings always seem fresh and good. Their best-known pizza (sold regularly) is the Sweep the Kitchen [topped with pepperoni, mushrooms, ham, black olives, onions, sausage, anchovies, ground beef, green peppers and jalapenos.] However, the pizza that gets a ton of raves is a pizza that is only sold certain times of the year. It is the Cajun Pizza, formerly called the "Sweep the Swamp." It has crawfish/crayfish, shrimp, Andouille sausage, jalapeños, among other things.
210 E. Preston Avenue, Shreveport, LA 71105; 318-868-4471 (and many other locations near Shreveport and Monroe)
Pie Works Pizza by Design
Johnny's is not the only option, though. Serious Eater Hailey Teal writes: "Johnny's is always good, but for GREAT pizza, I always head to a PieWorks in the Bossier area." In a recent interview, owner Marc Able explained that the Louisiana branches of this chain top pizzas with about 20 pounds of alligator meat every two weeks, but that crawfish is even more popular.
1023 Provenance Place Boulevard, Shreveport, LA 71106; 318-688-3535, and several other locations
Where to Eat Pizza in Baton Rouge
Cynthia Campbell at the The Advocate recently raved about this pizzeria:
It's well worth a visit just to sample some of the finest pizzas and calzones that we've sampled in the United States. The pizzas and calzones are made as you order and take about 15 to 20 minutes to bake...We tried the large, 16-inch Baton Rouge ($16) pizza created with loads of melted mozzarella cheese topped with a mild Italian sausage, sweet roasted yellow peppers, roasted garlic and a sprinkling of red pepper flakes. This pizza is spicy, but not overly peppery hot. On a second visit our guests ordered Bella's 16-inch Famous White Pie pizza ($16.50) Almost delicate, this elegant pizza was topped with slightly sweet, almost foamy ricotta cheese, fresh spinach, thin slices of sweet yellow pepper, thin slices of sautéed mushrooms and was accented with a generous amount of fragrant rosemary.
11826 Coursey Boulevard, Baton Rouge, LA 70816; 225-292-3552
Fleur de Lis Restaurant
Fleur de Lis started out as a cocktail lounge, until the current manager's grandmother started serving rectangular-shaped slices of pizza to their customers. According to Serious Eater Miles Green, "They only sell pizza, drinks and pickled eggs. The pizza is rectangular and packed with flavor. I usually get the "Round the World" flavor [topped with anchovy, sausage, mushrooms, pepperoni, salami, and onions.] Delicious."
5655 Government Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70806; 225-924-2904
Louis DeAngelo's Pizzeria
Louis DeAngelo Jr. of New Jersey has made his mark on pizza in Louisiana by starting this chain in 1991.
7550 Bluebonnet Boulevard (Bluebonnet Village Center) Baton Rouge, LA 70810; 225-761-4465 and six other locations; louisdeangelos.com
Serious Eater Remander recommended Pastime, an "old-school LSU hangout" with good pizza. The most popular topping? Boudin.
252 South Boulevard Baton Rouge, LA 70802; 225-343-5490; pastimerestaurant.com
Where to Eat Pizza in Lafayette
Deano's has served "Italian food with a Cajun flair" for almost 40 years. While I tend to be leery of "specialty pies" with clever names, even I am tempted by The Cajun Executioner (topped with pepperoni, hot sausage, spicy shrimp, fresh onions, bell peppers and jalapenos), the Cajun Canaille (with shrimp, Louisiana smoked sausage, and jalapenos) and the Marie LeVeaux (with blue point crabs, mushrooms and onions). Yelper Chris W. reports that the Ragin Cajun pizza is served with an edible University of Louisiana at Lafayette logo. While not everyone loves the kitchen-sink approach to pizza topping, Deano's has some fans.
305 Bertrand Drive Lafayette, Louisiana 70506; 337-233-5446; deanospizza.com
Where to Eat Pizza in Houma
You know you're in South Louisiana when your pizza joint offers muffaletta pizza, jambalaya pizza with Cajun smoked sausage, a calzone called the "Inferno" because of the extra hot sauce, and beignets on the dessert menu. Specifically, you're at Pepper's Pizzeria in Houma, about an hour south of New Orleans.
541 Corporate Drive, Houma, LA 70364.; 985-872-0006;
Plus All Your Favorites!
This guide is just a start. Slice'rs, help us out: where are the best pizzas you've ever tried in the state of Louisiana?
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