It's hard to know whether you're more likely to stumble across a new burger joint or a pizzeria these days. On Freret St., the Midway is doing Chicago-style pizza, and Ancora is turning out traditional Neapolitan pies. Magazine Pizza opened not too long ago at 1068 Magazine St, and in Mid-City, Jeff Baron and Bart Bell have opened Pizzicare.
Baron and Bell are the kids behind Crescent Pie & Sausage Company and the now-closed (and dearly missed, at least by me, Huevos). I've had some excellent pizzas at Crescent Pie & Sausage, but they're doing something different at Pizzicare.
The pies are available by the slice, and for $3 they're a good deal. Ever since I got rid of that pesky intestinal parasite, my appetite has gone to hell, but even at my most gluttonous, I think 2 slices would have done me for lunch.
Because this is 2011, the toppings are no longer all that unusual: chicken and broccoli raab; peppadews, jalapenos, poblanos, and crumbled hot sausage; even the pancetta, brussels sprouts, and roasted garlic pie don't seem groundbreaking. But they're all tasty, with a good ratio of toppings to crust – though I would prefer more brussels sprouts on that particular pie. The basics are covered, of course; there's a cheese pizza with mozzarella, tomato sauce, and herbs; they regularly have a pepperoni pie available by the slice, and the Margherita is the classic combination of tomato, fresh basil and fresh mozzarella.
Crust is essential to good pizza; the best toppings can't overcome a mediocre crust, but that's not a worry at Pizzicare. The crust is thin, crispy on the bottom, and resilient enough to pick up and fold in half to eat by hand.
Pies run between $12 for a small cheese to $19 for a large charcuterie pie. You can add toppings to any of the pizzas for $2 or $3 for meats and $1.5 and $2.5 for vegetables.
Pizza is the star at Pizzicare, but they've also got a few salads, calzones, stromboli and small bites like garlic knots and pigs in a blanket on sticks, which are Italian or smoked sausage wrapped in dough and served with cheese, red, or white sauce. Of the greenery, the marinated salad is the best, with peppadews, olives, celery, cauliflower, carrots and salami on a bed of lettuce. It's perfect to split as a starter while waiting on a pie.
Pizzicare is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and you can call them at 301-4823. The restaurant is located in a newly built strip-mall at 3001 Tulane Ave., and while the neighborhood is still a bit run down, there's parking in the rear, and as more and more development comes online in the Tulane corridor, it feels like Pizzicare is setting up for a long, comfortable run.