by Ian McNulty
Theo’s Neighborhood Pizza is expanding again, this time with a third location in the works in Elmwood.
Construction is now underway on a new strip mall near the entrance of the Elmwood Shopping Center on South Clearview Parkway, and Theo’s is slated to begin making pizza there this summer.
“I think this will be a big stepping stone for us to have three locations,” says Theo’s co-owner Jammer Orintas. “Eventually, we’d love to have another one downtown in the CBD, one on the West Bank, maybe one in Slidell.”
Theo’s pizza is a bit different from the typical New Orleans pizza, and the key is the crust. Thin, rigid and structured as if it was built from paper-thin layers, it goes beyond crisp and approaches crackling. Even when loaded with toppings, this slim but formidable foundation can crunch audibly beneath the teeth.
Expansion was always part of the blueprint for Theo’s, though Orintas says Hurricane Katrina derailed those plans for a while. He and fellow college friends Greg Dietz and Ted Neikirk opened their first Theo’s on Magazine Street less than a year before Katrina struck, though with hindsight they say the chance to reopen quickly that fall was an important part of establishing their brand.
The original Theo’s was among the first wave of restaurants to reopen and the partners watched their new business skyrocket as returning residents beat a path to any eatery then operating. In 2009 they opened a much-larger second shop in Mid-City.
Orintas says their next expansion was guided in part emails they received from people living around Harahan and River Ridge suggesting they add a location in the busy Elmwood area. This Elmwood Theo’s will be about the same size as its Mid-City restaurant, and Orintas says it will have more outdoor seating, a larger bar and a bigger draft beer selection.
“It will be the same concept, the same lay-out and the same plan,” he says.
In the meantime, the two current Theo’s locations in the city are promoting a new pizza this month. Called “the shroomie,” it’s a white pie with three kinds of mushrooms — Portobello, shiitake and button — olive oil, mozzarella, onions and pesto.
Theo’s Neighborhood Pizza
4218 Magazine St., 894-8554
4024 Canal St., 302-1133