Some have greatness thrust upon them, as Shakespeare told us in “Twelfth Night,” and the crew at Pizza Delicious can probably relate. From their start in 2010 serving pizza through a once-a-week, take-out-only, pop-up concept from a shared kitchen, they last week debuted the full-service pizzeria evolution of Pizza Delicious to answer what had become pretty obvious customer demand.
“People made it clear they were ready for it,” says co-owner Mike Friedman. “Every week, we’d get our regulars and then we’d get more new customers too and it just kept growing. We talked about it and this was the natural progression.”
After a long renovation, this new Pizza Delicious opened last week in part of a former warehouse in the Bywater, just a few blocks from the original pop-up location and in the midst of what has emerged as a cluster of new neighborhood eateries. The pizzeria offers dine-in and take-out. Draft beer is flowing and wine should join the beverage options this week. The short menu includes a few pastas, salads and desserts and of course the passion that started the whole enterprise big, bubble-pocked, thin-crusted New York-style pizzas.
Friedman and his roommate-turned-business-partner Greg Augarten are both New York transplants who came to New Orleans for college, made it their home after graduation but always pined for the pizza they grew up eating and could not find here. Their answer was to start Pizza Delicious inside a co-op style Bywater commercial kitchen called Delicious and give it a go themselves. Customers called in orders using a phone number posted on a blog, and demand quickly grew to the point where the wait for a pie could be hours. They added a second day of weekly service, but the momentum kept building, Friedman says.
“Pizza should be an easy food, I’ve always believed that, and we quickly made it into a difficult thing,” he says, with the ordering protocol and long lines.
That’s one reason why Friedman says he’s excited to finally have a full-service restaurant format, where customers can sample their pies hot from the oven instead of ferrying them home first.
Pizza Delicious makes about 20 specialty pies (peppadew and arugula, for instance, or braised Brussels sprouts and speck) but the restaurant serves only a few on any given day in order to focus on consistency, Friedman says.
Pizza Delicious also serves its pizza by the slice. Delivery service is in the works for the future. The pizzeria is open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
617 Piety St., 676-8482