Pizza is universal," says restaurateur Darryl Reginelli, who owns Reginelli's Pizzeria (741 State St., 899-1414; 3244 Magazine St., 895-7272; 874 Harrison Ave., 488-0133; 5608 Citrus Blvd., 818-0111; 817 W. Esplanade Ave., Kenner, 712-6868) along with partners Bruce Erhardt and Reggie Reginelli. By combining that ever-popular mainstay with other universally popular dishes " sandwiches, salads and pasta " and a casual, friendly atmosphere, the partners have grown the Reginelli's stable of restaurants to include six locations (the newest opened in Baton Rouge in October) and are actively developing a prototype for future franchises.
'Every time we open a new store, people really enjoy the feel and the vibe," says Darryl Reginelli, who attributes the success of the business to the quality of the food and the upbeat staff. 'Our energy is our best resource."
Locals have known the Reginelli's name since 1992, when he opened his first eponymous restaurant, a so-called 'eating gallery" that featured Italian fare and rotating art exhibits. He eventually closed that venture and returned in 1996 with a new concept that streamlined the day-to-day operation of a full-service restaurant.
The second generation of Reginelli's restaurants still uses some of the original recipes, but the sauces are prepared in a central kitchen to ensure quality, and the final product is then put together at individual restaurants.
Favorite pizzas include the Sun Pie, with pesto, mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, red onions, roasted red peppers and goat cheese; Tony's Play, with tomato sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, pancetta, prosciutto, fresh mushrooms, onions, green peppers and capers; and Smokin' Chicken, with spicy smoked tomato sauce, marinated chicken breast, mozzarella, caramelized onions, pancetta and green onions. Reginelli's offers of a variety of toppings for its pizzas, all of which are hand-tossed and can be customized to individual tastes.
Other popular dishes include chicken salad " marinated chicken breast served warm atop mixed greens with green apples, gorgonzola, vine-ripened tomatoes and roasted pecans in a balsamic citrus vinaigrette; and the Uptowner sandwich " smoked turkey breast and melted provolone with avocado, roma tomatoes, sprouts and a hot pepper relish on fresh, housemade focaccia bread.
Open daily for lunch and dinner, Reginelli's caters to families, college students, neighborhood residents and others looking for fresh, Italian cuisine served in an informal setting.
'Because of the variety and the options, we have a wide range of loyal customers," Reginelli says.
- Reginelli's owners Darryl Reginelli and Bruce Erhardt keep local pizza lovers happy with fresh ingredients and original recipes.