The 511 Marigny building in NoLa. Photo from Facebook.
Egg pizza with braised beef and kale from Pizzetta 211. Photo: © tablehopper.com.
A report by Dana Massey-Todd: We’ve been sitting on the story of the new ~PIZZETTA 211~ location in New Orleans for a while, but now that the hopper has returned from that fair city, it’s time to spill the beans. I had a chance to sit down with owner Jack Murphy (full disclosure: I worked there for more than three years) to talk about the new project.
First things first, Pizzetta here in San Francisco will not change drastically. Murphy is currently looking for a head chef to run things while he’s gone, but he’ll also be relying on his existing staff to keep the place true to itself. The new project will be a partnership between Murphy, his girlfriend Susan Dunn, and her brother Ed Dunn, who has been a chef in New Orleans for more than 12 years. His résumé includes some pretty serious NoLa institutions, like Commander’s Palace and Emeril’s. They’re moving into a space in the Bywater neighborhood that occupies the bottom floor of a 100-year-old warehouse that used to house a sock factory and liquor distribution center, and has now been converted to a mixed-use space with loft apartments above and commercial space below. The building is called 511 Marigny, and the current owner has been working on developing the space since he purchased it in 1992—you can find some more information on the property’s development here.
For the food, they’re looking to offer a similar concept as Pizzetta: a small, tight, seasonally changing menu. While New Orleans is without question one of the best food cities in the country, Murphy hopes his seasonal, ingredient-driven ethos will fill a niche in the local scene. The neighborhood is in the middle of some major growth (check out an article on its development from the Times-Picayune), and Murphy is hoping to cater to neighborhood locals looking for a lighter dining experience than the typical NoLa fare. There will likely be four starters, four pizzas, four main dishes, and four desserts each day, and all will change according to seasonal availability. Like Pizzetta, there will be an open kitchen with an intimate feel, and the staff will be trained to work every station in the restaurant, including waiting tables and working a line in the kitchen. Unlike Pizzetta, though, there will be a lot more space. They’ve got 2,100 square feet to play with and are looking forward to being able to expand their charcuterie program, do some whole beast cooking, and add a full bar.
Right now, the working name for the new project is ~PALADAR 511~. A paladar is a Cuban underground home kitchen, and 511 is the address of the new location on Marigny Street (it’s a nice tie-in with San Francisco’s Pizzetta 211 too). They’re hoping to open by the end of 2013, and when they do, we’ll let you know. 511 Marigny St. at Decatur, New Orleans.
Oh, and speaking of Pizzetta 211, they’ve jumped on the Square bandwagon and are now accepting credit cards after 12 years of a rather infamous cash-only policy. (Hold. The. Phone.)