Brothers Behind Former Amici Open New Rizzuto’s Pizzeria on the Westbank

Photo Credit: Marielle Songy

In March, Rizzuto’s Pizzeria opened at 2020 Belle Chasse Highway, in a building that used to house O’Brien’s Grille and, most recently, Southern Charm Bistreaux & Bar. The restaurant is owned by Jack and Phil Rizzuto, brothers who have been in the restaurant business for years and also own Rizzuto’s Ristorante & Chop House on Fleur de Lis Drive. They also previously owned Amici, a pizzeria on Magazine Street and Creole Carré on Bourbon Street.

Rizzuto’s Pizzeria will be a more casual approach than the brothers’ other restaurant, and will offer a selection of pizza, pastas, sandwiches and salads for dine-in or take-out.

When I spoke to Jack Rizzuto, he explained the process in making the restaurant’s pizza.

“We cook the pizza in a stone oven and it leaves a char-effect on the dough,” he explained. “It’s different from Amici because there we used a coal-fired oven. People have told us that the pizza we’re serving here is just as good, if not better than the pizza at Amici.”

Rizzuto’s Pizza is a welcome addition to the Westbank’s pizza landscape, which is pretty lacking, save for a few niche places. The Rizzuto family’s Westbank history runs deep- their mother grew up on the here and the family owns Vinnie’s Sports Bar and Grill, in Gretna. The brothers owned their new restaurant’s building for three years, before deciding to open their own spot.

Carni Italiane Pizza
Photo Credit: Marielle Songy

“We bought the building, and we were leasing it to Southern Charm, until they closed,” Rizzuto said. “So many people told us that we should open a place on the Westbank, so we thought it was a good idea.”

In addition to the pizza, daily specials include white beans and Porkchop Scarpariello on Monday, Chicken Spedini and Alfredo Pasta on Tuesday, Baked Ziti on Wednesday, Rizzutto’s Crab Cake and Pasta Agliolio on Thursday and Seafood Manicotti on Friday. Prime Delmonico Ribeye and Garlic Mashed Potatoes is also offered as a dinner-only special on Thursdays. 

House Italian Salad
Photo Credit: Marielle Songy

Pizzas include Carni Italiane, Quattro Formaggio, Margherita, and Meatball and Peppers. You can also build you own pie with a selection of sauce, cheese, vegetables and meats.

When I visited, I enjoyed The Meatball, a rich appetizer made with ricotta, marinara and fresh basil and the House Italian Salad made with Romane, olives, tomato, red onion, diced mozzarella and pepperoni. 

The Meatball
Photo Credit: Marielle Songy

Along with the building for the restaurant, the Rizzutos also took over the daiquiri shop, which is adjacent to the restaurant. Jester Mardi Gras Daiquiris also has locations on Bourbon Street and in Destin, and the brothers decided to add some of that Jester flavor to the Westbank.

Jester Daiquiri Shop
Photo Credit: Marielle Songy

Jack Rizzuto said, “Jester Daquiris in a brand- we manufacture and sell our own Bloody Mary Mix and daiquiri mix in 7 states, including Louisiana. The Gretna location is great because it’s a drive-thru.”

Soon, the family will expand again, with two more locations- a casual restaurant at the Spanish Plaza, on the riverfront, which will serve homemade pasta, 8 inch pizzas, high-end cheese boards and seafood. They will also expand to North Peter Street, in the French Quarter, to the former location of restaurant, St. Lawrence. This location will offer specialty steaks, seafood and small plates.

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