If there’s ever been a moment for pizza, it’s now.
Nationally, pizza chains and independent restaurants alike have seen sales soar over the past year, according to Fortune. It’s been a rare pandemic “bright spot,” writes The New York Times.
At a time when restaurateurs are exercising caution opening new bricks-and-mortar spaces, pizza restaurants are pushing forward in Baton Rouge.
Last April, Motza’s Pizza Pub became one of the first eateries to open during the stay-at-home order. New concepts like Pizza Artista, Pizza Art Wine and Speedy Fresh Pizza are debuting in 2021. And the fast-casual market continues to grow; Hive Pizza became the newest addition last month.
Maybe it’s all that stress eating we’ve been doing over the past year. Pizza, after all, is the ultimate comfort food. But it’s also one of the most cost-effective dining options during the pandemic. Restaurants like it because it tends to be a less expensive dish to produce. It was pretty much the original delivery food and works well in a to-go box. Families love it because it’s an easy, affordable way to feed everyone—and still have leftovers.
But there’s more to it than COVID-19. Even before 2020, pizza was growing and changing in Baton Rouge. The 2016 arrival of Lit Pizza somehow made pizza even more fun—and made it possible to tailor pizza specifically to your dietary preferences, with options like cauliflower crust and vegan cheese. The 2018 arrival of Rocca Pizzeria paved the way for a more elevated pizza experience in the Capital City, with quality ingredients and an upscale, sit-down restaurant that invites lingering.
And it’s all built on a long-established pizza culture that began more than 70 years ago with restaurants like Fleur de Lis Pizza and Pastime Restaurant. Baton Rouge pizza isn’t quite like what you might find in New York or Italy. And that’s OK. We like it that way.
We explore it all in this month’s cover story. To capture pizza’s fun, crafty spirit, we shot the photos on our own colorful backdrops.It’s not unlike how they might look when you enjoy them at home: personalized with your own dishware and tablecloths—and enjoyed alongside those you love.