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."
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.
That's Amor? Pizzeria calls itself the "Home of the Great Debate," in reference to perhaps the most pressing question in all of pizza: Which city has the superior pie style, Chicago or New York? Luckily, diners at That's Amor? don't have to choose between the two. Thin, crispy New York?style pies are decorated with classic toppings, such as sausage, pepperoni, and peppers. Hearty deep-dish pies are also available, littered with a variety of vegetables or specialty accoutrement such as sun-dried tomatoes and meatballs. The menu is also home to a variety of Italian entrees, sandwiches, and appetizers for sharing.
It's no small feat to whip up one of The Olive Branch Café's gourmet pizzas. The painstaking process begins long before lunchtime, with chefs preparing dough fresh for the day each morning. There's barely a moment to rest before orders begin flying in and the pizza makers spring into action, showering crusts with housemade sauces and high-quality cheeses. Their brows furrowed in concentration, their hands blurs, they layer pizzas with fresh garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and fine spanish olives. Once the pies arrive triumphantly to the dining room, the chefs turn their attention to thick muffuletta subs, plump meatball calzones, and the jambalaya pastas that caught the attention of Gambit’s Best of New Orleans guide.
Out in the casual dining room, beneath warm red walls peppered with abstract art, guests clink glasses, feeling more content than a robot in a microchip factory. There, owner Russell "Rusty" Autry often strolls around the room, greeting newcomers and exchanging jokes with regulars.
Marco's Pizza founder Pasquale "Pat" Giammarco began helping out at his family?s pizzeria when he was just a boy. The eatery provided a taste of home to the Gianmarco clan, who moved to the United States from Italy when Pat was 9 years old. Together with his father, young Pat learned the secrets to creating exceptional pizza sauce: three different types of vine-ripened tomatoes and spices that can only be imported from Italy or the moon. The perfected sauce recipe continues to guide Pat?s kitchen operations, although these days he has considerably more help. Marco's Pizza has 450 locations in more than half the states as well as in the Bahamas, each store tossing fresh pizza dough daily before sprinkling on a trio of fresh cheeses.
Fresco Café and Pizzeria has been serving pizza, pasta, and golden-brown strombolis for more than a decade. Nearly everything on the menu is made in house, including white or whole-wheat pizza crusts, hand-rolled meatballs, and the pasta sauces used to write the daily specials on the wall. Fresco Café's lavash rolls, a unique specialty, are worth a try—they feature roasted eggplant and pesto, pulled pork, or gyro meat rolled into warm lavash flatbread and served with rosemary potatoes. Of course, it wouldn't be Fresco Café if al fresco dining weren't an option—patrons can enjoy their Italian food inside or out on the patio.