In the kitchen at Fat Molly’s, the hands of chefs flutter above sheets of marinara-cloaked dough, scattering inventive toppings such as gulf shrimp, artichokes, and boudin. Athletic events broadcast on four flat-screen TVs, augmenting the clatter of silverware with the sounds of cracking bats and mascots with their tails under rocking chairs. Drawing upon a selection of meats including fried chicken and smoked sausage, patrons design their own poor boys. Tearing into the sandwiches despite their warmth, they take swigs from 30 beer options, including Abita Purple Haze and Lazy Magnolia’s brown ale crafted from roasted pecans, which bestow the mash with earthy caramel flavors. The eatery's walls are festooned with works by local artists, ranging from a triptych of a jazz musician to an abstract of a stacked sandwich and a poignant deconstrionist piece by the back door, which reads, simply "Exit."
Reginelli’s Pizzeria merges a menu of traditional Italian fare with casual, modern décor to forge an Old World dining experience for contemporary feasters. Hand-tossed by a crust master upon request, the Classic Combo pizza bursts forth from kitchens crowned with a panoply of pepperoni and italian sausage, a scepter of fresh veggies, and a gooey cloak of mozzarella ($11.95 for 10”, $16.75 for 14”). The Smokin’ Chicken pie honors its piquant namesake by pairing a spicy smoked-tomato sauce with marinated chicken breast, pancetta, and a snapshot of George Clooney in a chicken suit ($11.95 for 10”, $16.75 for 14”). The Uptowner sandwich’s melty mélange of smoked turkey breast, provolone, and hot-pepper relish ($8.25) proudly represents Reginelli’s focaccia-based capital alongside The Downtowner’s posse of Italian meats, mozzarella, and kalamata-olive pesto ($8.25). Diners can deploy forks into the lush forestry of a refreshing Chicken Salad ($9.75) or navigate the tortellini trees sprouting across the Shrimp Forrest’s loch of spicy red-pepper-cream sauce ($12.50).
Guided by the experience of head chef Vincent Manguno, Nuccio’s Seafood & Italian Restaurant pleases palates of all types with a menu stocked full of seafood entrées, savory Italian dishes, and daily chef specials. Coronate a meal with friends or accentuate a debate about the existence of giraffes with an appetizer, such as Nuccio’s eggplant sticks ($6.95) or artichoke and spinach dip ($7.95). Italian meatball sandwiches ($8.95) satiate stomachs with the meaty harmony of an edible Kenny G, while fettucini alfredo ($10.95) beguiles taste buds and forks. Nuccio’s Seafood & Italian Restaurant maintains an inviting, family atmosphere, ideal for a romantic first date or meeting your blind date’s parents.
Often referred to as simply "The Pie," The Original Italian Pie has cropped up in various cities across Louisiana since its inception in 1992. The eatery specializes in gourmet pizzas, with predesigned pies like the garlic shrimp and chicken alfredo, as well as create-your-own varieties. The Italian eats also extend to oven-baked sandwiches, pastas, calzones, and dessert.
These purveyors of premium Italian eats buy local ingredients and prepare all dishes from scratch daily, from the sauce to the dough. Baked in a brick oven, the Who-Dat pizza ($12.95 for 14") comes loaded with apple-smoked bacon, meatballs, pepperoni, black olives, and a quizzical expression. Blossoming pie artisans can draw from a rich palette of toppings ($1 each for 14") such as anchovies, sundried tomatoes, and Italian sausage to paint personal masterpieces on plain-pizza canvases ($10.99 for 14"). Meanwhile, the crab-cake linguini ($14.95) is served with your choice of red or white sauce, allowing easy color coordination with wedding dresses and Mountie uniforms. Ensconced in the restaurant’s relaxing, rustic interior, wash down your meal with a cold domestic brew ($2.50), refreshing import or microbrew ($3.50¬–$4), or choice of house wine ($6 per glass, $20 for a bottle).
At the tender age of 7, Andrea Apuzzo began honing his culinary skills at a bakery in his Italian hometown. "I was spoiled as a kid. We made our own olive oil and wine,” he says in a Gambit article. His breadth of knowledge expanded greatly when, at 14 years old, he embarked on a culinary adventure across Europe and South America. Now at the helm of his own restaurant, Chef Andrea applies the knowledge he learned amid the cream-hued rising loaves and on the chattering South American streets.
The dishes that fill tables at the eatery have been enjoyed by the likes of Queen Elizabeth, President Carter, Sophia Loren, Clint Eastwood, and one dog that figured out how to use a credit card. To share his abilities and experiments, the chef also publishes cookbooks, which detail formulas for the award-winning pastas, fresh seafood, and steaks. Chef Andrea's bistecca pizzaiola earned a place on Esquire's 2008 list of the 20 Best Steaks in America. "Like the best Italian dishes," the article says, "its simple parts add up to an unexpectedly powerful whole."