by Ian McNulty
A new restaurant based around a locally rare, but highly traditional, approach to pizza opened Uptown recently. Amici Ristorante & Bar, a new concept specializing in pizza from a coal-fired oven, is now serving dinner.
The restaurant took over an address that had been the home of Byblos before that Middle Eastern restaurant moved a block away last year and it joins a jumping stretch of casual eateries along this part of Magazine Street.
Common in the Northeast, coal-fired pizza ovens can generate intense heat, producing pocks of char and a mild smokiness in a properly-prepared crust. The Amici menu has build-your-own pizza options and specialty pies topped with clam sauce, broccoli rabe and sausage, cauliflower and olive oil and other configurations. The pizza oven is employed for “Italian style chicken wings,” and roasted veal and pork chops on the entrée menu.
Amici is the latest concept from a local company that runs Jester Mardi Gras Daiquiris and Pizza, which has three daiquiri shops on Bourbon Street and a related beverage mix supply company.
Instead of daiquiris, the full bar at Amici is anchored by some 30 draft beers (an earlier plan for the restaurant dubbed the concept a “pizzeria and ice house”). The restaurant is family friendly and begins dinner service at 5 p.m. daily.
A separate pizzeria of the coal oven variety is also in the works in Metairie. RocketFire Pizza Co. got its start in Covington last year and its owners are now renovating the restaurant space at 612 Veterans Blvd. (formerly Cyrus Restaurant and, briefly, a Huey’s 24/7 diner). They expect to open this second RocketFire in late August.
Amici Ristorante & Bar
3218 Magazine St., (504) 300-1253
RocketFire Pizza Co.
1950 N. Hwy. 190, Covington, (985) 327-7600
612 Veterans Blvd., Metairie, phone n.a.