2 of Top 10 Pizzas on Freret

New Orleans Best Pizza

In search of the upper crust

Alex Gecan for New Orleans Magazine, Nov. 2012

Pizza paid my bills through college. Every evening after class I would slough over to a pizzeria just off campus and spin dough until the sun came up. After the first few months the work became meditative, almost medicinal; every three minutes (two when I was on fire), I would scrape up a spongy, sticky loaf, wax its diameter to 22 inches, slop the requisite ingredients on top and bake it until my classmates could find it palatable.

In our spare time, my coworkers and I would challenge each other to invent a pie more inventive than the last. We were limited by the ingredients our bosses would suffer to order, but we still managed to keep ourselves plump and amused.

But before pickled jalapeño peppers and canned pineapple became commonplace pizza toppings – or at least commonly accepted – the noble tomato pie made its doughy bones on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius and around Naples. In its centuries-old history, pizza has evolved from a sweet street food to a predominantly savory repast that spans all ranks of cuisine.

Rumors of pizza in New Orleans date back to the French Market of the 1930s. That first version was probably more closely related to the rustic baked pies of yesteryear, but the last decade has seen a groundswell in pizza joints around town. This is our best effort to let you know what to put on your list.

The Methodology. We nixed all ideas of what pizza “should” be. Everyone seems to have an opinion on this, so we opted for a simpler supposition: The pizzas we would sample must have crust, sauce, cheese and, in an effort to gage versatility, pepperoni – the most classic of accouterments.

All crust types were up for consideration, and we made no judgment as to what constituted “proper” cheese. At the end of the analyses, what really mattered was taste.

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Two of the top ten are on Freret!

Ancora. (4508 Freret St., 324-1636, AncoraPizza.com) A herald of the revitalization of Freret Street’s pregnant midsection, Ancora turns out pizza in strict adherence to the tenets of Neapolitan pizza-making, from ingredients to oven type and temperature, to acceptable thickness and width.

 

 

 

 

 

The Midway. (4725 Freret St., 322-2815, MidwayPizzaNOLA.com) Quick, name a flat city with humid summers, a nearby lake and questionable politics.  The Midway, which shares a name with Chicago’s “other” airport, is the first pizzeria on this side of Lake Pontchartrain to offer up true deep-dish pizza – that is to say, cooked in an actual deep dish and served thus.