Back in 2010, Michael Friedman’s and Greg Augarten’s cravings for their native New York thin-crust pies couldn’t be sated locally. Rather than gripe, they did something about it. The result was Pizza Delicious, a shoot-from-the-hip Bywater pop-up that quickly became a hit.
Since then, a combination of grassroots support, good timing, and a successful Kickstarter campaign helped the pair of Tulane University alumni open the doors to a full-fledged brick and mortar location on Piety Street. Has it been smooth sailing ever since? First time and quasi-accidental restaurant co-owner Friedman explains.
“It is insane. People continually want pizza and then more people want more pizza,” he says. “We opened right before my birthday last November, making it the most non-birthday birthday ever. It was just a blip. ‘Oh, it’s your birthday? More pizza!’”
Friedman’s main question – whether there was enough demand in the area to support a full-time restaurant, seems to have been answered.
The issue became growing pains. Friedman and Augarten needed to find a supplier of organic produce that could keep pace while at the same time hewing true to their earthy vibe. They found the answer in Inglewood Farm out of Alexandria. Pizza D’s menu has since grown in new and healthy directions – their salads are worth the trip alone.
But why talk up salad when the calling card is pies? Pizza Delicious offers arguably the best New York-style pizza around. It all starts with the crust – the dough is cold-fermented to help it develop slowly and build more gluten, allowing it to be stretched super thin. Tailored toppings include house-cured pancetta, homemade meatballs and freshly ground Italian sausage.
Pizza Delicious also strikes a good balance with vegetarian choices, including artfully composed options like a peppadew with fresh arugula.
“We cook it with peppadews and when it comes out of the oven we top it off with a classic arugula salad dressed with lemon juice and Parmesan,” Friedman says. The result is a pie that’s hot on the bottom and leafy on the top, with the peppery bite of arugula bringing it all together.
Pizza Delicious serves pizzas whole and by the slice, and offers a short list of pastas and salads, along with beer and wine. Limited bike delivery is offered in the immediate area, and they do a booming business in to-go orders. The dining room is spacious and casual, and in true Bywater form a side door opens out onto a vacant lot, which serves as an ad-hoc patio.