The Dish: Pizza With Panache

Enjoy a slice of pizza these days, and chances are you’re giving back to your community.

Though the Italian word pizzicare translates to “pinch,” as in “in a pinch,” it isn’t surprising it includes the English word “care,” because the new Mid-City pizza joint by the same name is all about contributing positively to their neighborhood. The restaurant was recently opened by Jeff Baron, one of the owner’s of Crescent Pie & Sausage Co. Pizzicare is more of a take-out New York-style pizza place than a sit-down restaurant. There are a few tables at which to sit, but the large gourmet-topped slices are perfect for lunches on the go and, given that its location is so close to the courthouse, Pizzicare is undoubtedly destined to be a take-out hotspot for slices topped with chicken and broccoli rabe or pancetta and Brussels sprouts. There are even pies topped with meats from Crescent, including their killer chaurice. The NOLA Roots Garden Pie always features different toppings because Pizzicare is invested in buying sustainable, local produce from urban gardeners. The veggies featured on the pie – mine had lovely, tender bits of squash and peppers with arugula – are grown by Nola Green Roots, a nonprofit that improves our neighborhoods by developing, building and sustaining community gardens such as the Mid-City Community Garden and 9th Ward Garden. They teach children, people in need and senior citizens how to grow food at a low cost, while also providing local produce for partnering restaurants, including two of my favorites: Dante’s Kitchen and Patois. They also run a recycling service for restaurants, collecting food scraps that can then be composted for the community gardens. They will be offering a residential composting pick-up for Mid-City residents soon as well. As for Pizzicare, Mid-City is lucky to have it. The menu items are reasonably priced. The service is very swift. The menu also features Italian ices, calzones, stromboli, garlic knots and anything that might have you thinking you’ve been transported to New York City for your lunch break. In case you want to stay home and tend your own garden, Pizzicare also delivers. Check their website for special offers.

A coworker walked in one day and asked me if I’d ever been to Mo’s Pizza in Westwego. “It’s the best in New Orleans,” he swore up and down. A few days later he walked in to work with a pizza box big enough for a python to coil up in and set it on the counter. Inside was a magnificent cheese pizza with slices so large you had to fold them up origami-style to eat them. My coworker drove from the West Bank all the way Uptown, but still the pizza was warm and melty, emanating that blessed scent of homemade marinara with hints of oregano and basil. It is the type of pizza that gets me in trouble and makes me have to run six miles in the evening. Really, really addictive New York-style with crust thinner than the layer of cheese on top. I downed my slice in less than a minute. Debate amongst yourselves if it’s the best pizza in New Orleans, but accept it as fact that Mo’s knows how to handle the dough: The annual “Mo’s Fest” (Held in March by the Krewe of Mo’s) has raised lots of money for the Children’s Hospital and the Westwego police and fire departments.

Try This: Attend a seminar that starts with a cocktail. On November 7, local bartending legend, Chris McMillian, will teach a seminar with Phillip Greene about old-school hospitality traditions in New Orleans at the Hotel Monteleone, while you sip on a Vieux Carré cocktail. The cost of the seminar is $30, which includes admission to the Southern Food and Beverage Museum (where the Museum of American Cocktail is located) and the Absinthe Museum. Plus, all of the profits benefit the Museum of the American Cocktail, which helps to preserve and celebrate one of the most loved American icons: The Cocktail. Cheers, darling.

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