Vanessa Neimann & Pizza Delicious

00:00 November 04, 2013
By: Emily Hingle

Gal Holiday & the Honky Tonk Revue's vibrant front woman Vanessa Neimann often performs in her Bywater/Marigny neighborhood at places like Kajun's. However, when she first moved here, she lived in a much different area. "I moved here in November of '91, and I was just down the street from Le Bon Temps; they had a banging kitchen. That was my first experience with food in New Orleans: bar food culture, which is vastly different from the D.C.-area where I moved from. I immediately fell in love with crawfish. I can't get enough," says Neimann.
One of her very favorite spots to eat, though, is not at a bar - it's Pizza Delicious. Pizza Delicious used to operate through a window and eventually created a true restaurant just blocks away from Neimann's home, which she's inclined to enjoy regularly. "For me, it's just a cool neighborhood spot. I know a lot of people that ate there when it was a pop-up, and I never got a chance to. I just thought it was super cool because we went to do a Kickstarter for our album recently, and I was picking their brains about it because they used a Kickstarter to open their restaurant," explains Neimann.
That Kickstarter campaign was a success for Gal Holiday & the Honky Tonk Revue, and it garnered the band even more than they were asking for. "We went quite a bit over our goal. The album is tentatively titled South of I-12. I do like that title because we've been traveling so much; it's about going away, coming back, and all the experiences we've had, everything from breakdowns to meeting people to learning how to Two-Step. This next album is my story from post-Katrina, even though we put an album out in 2010. It's my post-Katrina struggle with trying to get the band up, going out to see what else is out there in the world, and realizing that there's no other place [where] I really fit in as well as I do in New Orleans. New Orleans is a place where if you dream it, you can make it happen. To me, it's very embracing to all different kinds of people, and you can be unique and do what you want to do," states Neimann.
Also from out of this state are the Pizza Delicious' co-founders Mike Friedman and Greg Augarten who used Kickstarter as well as fundraising concerts to take their part-time window operation to a restaurant. "Myself and Greg are both New Yorkers. I came here for school and got married into New Orleans music, but we were not excited about the pizza options here. We got this crazy idea to start making New York-style pizza; we got in this shared kitchen space and posted on a blog, 'Hey, come get pizza.' It was a really organic growing process," explains Friedman.
The pizza was catching on, and the duo knew they needed to expand. "It occurred to us that this is something we should do on a regular basis. We opened nine months ago, and it's been balls-to-the-walls busy. We're open 11 a.m. - 11 p.m., six days a week. It's a lot different than a two night a week schedule," says Friedman.
The pizza is made according to the standards of their home. The guys have also been trying other options. "New York-style pizza is really about simplicity. The crust is the most important part; thin crust and it should have a nice chew. We make the dough every day, and we always try to keep it New York/Italian-centric. We use as much local produce as we can and make our own sausage and meatballs. We were doing brunch during July as an experiment, and it went really well. It's something we're going to bring back in some form," says Friedman.
The native-New Yorkers may have truly found their calling making northern food in the south. "We serve good and affordable food that anyone can come in and enjoy. The biggest thing for us is getting to see more of our customers; because we have a big, open kitchen, we can see people enjoying the food. We don't shy away from having our own personality as well; we have the staff make playlists, and we want it to be a fun place that we would enjoy eating at," states Friedman.
They didn't, however, feel that the music of the city needed to be changed to suit their tastes; they thoroughly enjoy it. "Vanessa Neimann lives down the block from us. For the longest time, I wanted to say "hi" to her, and now she comes in and we talk. It's so cool," says Friedman. But Hurray for the Riff Raff, one of their fundraising bands, stands out as a local favorite.

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