Baton Rouge pizza is all grown up.
That was the message of our March 2021 cover story, “Pizza Party,” which detailed how our collective love for the pizza had grown since the start of the pandemic. The story recently placed third in the Society for Features Journalism’s 2022 Excellence-in-Features competition under the category “Features Series or Project.”
Nationally, pizza chains and independent restaurants alike saw sales soar after the pandemic’s onset, a rare pandemic “bright spot,” according to The New York Times. At a time when restaurateurs were exercising caution opening new bricks-and-mortar spaces, pizza restaurants pushed forward in Baton Rouge. In April 2020, Motza’s Pizza Pub became one of the first eateries to open during the stay-at-home order. New concepts like Pizza Artista and Hive Pizza debuted in 2021.
Maybe it was all that stress eating—pizza, after all, is the ultimate comfort food. But it’s also one of the most cost-effective dining options. 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. Read on for our full cover story, documenting the past, present and future of pizza in Baton Rouge.