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Blake Pontchartrain: deep dish pizza at The Deli 

A "seedy little place" on Melpomene Street

click to enlarge The Deli was known
for its Sicilian-style
deep dish pizza.

The Deli was known for its Sicilian-style deep dish pizza.

Hey Blake,

What was the name of that great deep-dish pizza place that was on Melpomene, right off of St. Charles Avenue? All of the tables and chairs were giant hippie spool furniture.

Rene

Dear Rene,

The Deli, located at 1534 Melpomene St., may not have had the most creative name, but its pizza made an impression. The restaurant even drew notice from restaurant critic Richard Collin, better known as The New Orleans Underground Gourmet. In a May 1973 review in The States-Item, Collin called The Deli a "seedy little place on Melpomene Street that turns out good and unusual food and delivers it in the Uptown area." He called the restaurant, which proprietor C. Joseph McAuliffe opened in 1972, a "promising new place" and a "fine new kitchen in modest surroundings." Collin wrote that the restaurant's specialty was Sicilian deep-dish pizza, which had a much thicker crust and resembled a pie more than the "usual flat pizzas."

  "At The Deli, it is freshly baked, beautifully seasoned and delicious," Collin added. "The sausage and onion pizza is spectacular." He also singled out the restaurant's corned beef and pastrami sandwiches. "I wouldn't put it up against the best of the New York delicatessen sandwiches but it is certainly respectable and welcome in delicatessen-starved New Orleans." While Collin didn't mention the wooden furniture you remember, he did say the restaurant's weak point was its physical appearance. He noted there was only a handful of tables, but since most of the business was take-out, it didn't seem to matter.

  In 1974, The Deli added a second outlet at 2130 Gen. DeGaulle Drive in Algiers. Later, the Melpomene location featured live music from J. Monque' D and Johnny J. and the Hitmen. By 1988, with music in mind, the restaurant's name had changed to Blues Alley.

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