A new pizzeria opened last week, serving slices and pies along a stretch of Tulane Avenue in Mid-City that's seen quite a bit of change lately. Pizzicare (3001 Tulane Ave., 301-4823) is the work of Jeff Baron and Bart Bell, who also run Crescent Pie & Sausage Co., a restaurant known for handmade meats, creative pizzas, Cajun dishes and craft beer. But Pizzicare will be a different type of restaurant. Fitted with gleaming white tile and dominated by a large, glass-topped service counter, Baron likens it to a style of pizzeria common in the Northeast, where an entire menu's worth of different pies are served by the slice.
Pizzicare also serves whole pizzas, calzones, stromboli and salads. Baron plans eventually to add beer and wine at Pizzicare, though it's serving just soft drinks for now. He also has plans to expand.
"I'm building it as a model for a franchise from the ground up, but you have to start with one and so right now we're just focused on doing this one right," says Baron, who also runs the Dough Bowl (1039 Broadway, 861-2200), a take-out pizza parlor close to the Tulane University campus.
Baron and Bell have been busy lately. In addition to the Pizzicare venture, they've been retooling Crescent Pie & Sausage Co. Last weekend they closed Huevos, their breakfast/lunch joint adjacent to Crescent Pie & Sausage, and they're now renovating that space as a production kitchen and retail spot for the sausages and artisan meats that gird the Crescent Pie menu. These meats are Bell's particular specialty, and he's making more as toppings for Pizzicare.
Many of the breakfast dishes from Huevos will live on through a new brunch service at Crescent Pie & Sausage that starts this Sunday, Sept. 11.
Meanwhile, those headed over for a slice at Pizzicare (the Italian name translates as "to pinch," as in what you do when making pizza dough) may notice a new look in this long run-down part of town. The new restaurant is in the center of a sleek new strip mall built in concert with the new Crescent Club apartments just across the street. Both are projects from the local real estate developer the Domain Cos., which has built other residential complexes in Mid-City since Katrina.
The Domain Cos. also figures into something else Baron and Bell have in the works. The real estate developer plans to build a new residential and retail complex on what is now a cluster of surface parking lots near the Superdome. Baron says that this fall, for Saints home games, Crescent Pie & Sausage Co. and NOLA Brewing will set up public tailgate events on one of those lots, selling jambalaya, pork shoulder sandwiches, sausage on a stick and other pre-game snacks. — Ian McNulty