by Ian McNulty
Pizzerias with coal-fired ovens are common in the pizza hubs of the Northeast, where the best examples produce distinctive pies with a light char and smokiness to the crust. The style is harder to find in the South, but soon New Orleans will have a choice of pizzerias using this approach.
As previously reported, the new pizzeria Amici is expected to open in July at 3218 Magazine St. with a coal-fired oven. And now, the owners of the year-old Covington restaurant RocketFire Pizza Co. are working on a second location in Metairie.
This new RocketFire is expected to open in mid-August at 612 Veterans Blvd. The address was for many years the site of the Fun Arcade game room, though more recently it was redeveloped as the Persian restaurant Cyrus, which closed and was followed briefly by a location of the Huey’s 24/7 Diner chain.
RocketFire was developed by Lewis Kahn, Michael Swick and Charles Foti, who was Orleans Parish criminal sheriff for 30 years and held a term as Louisiana’s attorney general. The three men are all partners in the Covington law firm Kahn, Swick & Foti LLC.
“Coal-fired pizza was the foundation of pizza in this country, but you just don’t find it down here (in New Orleans). We saw a void here,” he says. “What you’re looking for in the crust is like the eternal holy grail — there should be a nice chew and a crunch at the same time.”
The new RocketFire will use the same menu as the Covington original, which in addition to pizza includes pastas, sandwiches and salads and a few unique appetizers, like “oysters RocketFire,” a spin on oysters Rockefeller. The new restaurant will also have a full bar, and it will offer the same daily drink specials as the first location, including $1 Bud and Bud Light drafts and bottles of wine for $15.
Kahn and his partners had a south shore location in mind from the start, but decided to open first in the relatively less-crowded Northshore restaurant market to refine the concept. As for further potential expansion, Kahn says “the community will tell us if we should.”
RocketFire Pizza Co.
1950 N. Hwy. 190, Covington, (985) 327-7600
612 Veterans Blvd., Metairie, phone n.a.