For college towns, pizza-joints are a dime a dozen. They sit on major street corners with flashing lights and corporate names–Domino’s, Pizza Hut, anyone?–or take themselves too seriously in dive bars at sketchy parts of town (Baton Rouge-ers: you know exactly what “cash only,” thin crust-pizza place with impeccably rude service I’m talking about).
In truth, it’s hard to find a pizza place that is equal parts friendly, affordable, and good. I’ve lived in 3 college towns, and the combination is always hazy: the pizza is good, but the service isn’t; the pizza is bad, but the beer is cheap; the pizza is “ok” but wildly over-priced.
Perhaps this is why Reginelli’s Pizzeria at LSU Northgate commands mentioning.
I’ve been eating at Reginelli’s for over four years now, and one of the first things that struck me back in 2008 was its artisan-style pizza pies and the insanely cheap beer specials you can get throughout the week. On Mondays and Tuesdays, $2 pitchers can be ordered with the purchase of any entree (pizza, pasta, calzone) and during the week, $10 bottles of house wine are available to attend any special meal. In a town that takes Abita Beer seriously, the idea that you can get an entire pitcher for $2 with your pizza continues to astound me.
But Reginelli’s isn’t all beer specials. I should also mention that the restaurant’s Pizza selections are more than just sauce and cheese on a mound of pre-made dough. Everything from handcrafted pestos to roasted red tomatoes bed the pie’s toppings. Plus, the cheese is more than shredded mystery goo, but real quality mozzarella balls and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
These are the hallmarks of good quality pizza, and just steps from my office, or a night playing trivia at The Chimes, Reginelli’s is insanely close by.
Pictured: Reginelli’s Crafty Pizza-Box Printed Menus. The Mediterranean – a fantastic and fresh Greek-inspired pie with everything from roasted garlic to kalamata olives.
I’ve always liked that the menus are printed on square sheets of cardboard as if to suggest the repurposing of old pizza boxes. The concept is thoughtful and unique, and suggests to me the same kind of care the restaurant takes with all of its dishes.
But it wasn’t until last month that I realized a hidden secret at Reginelli’s: Soup. Not just any soup, but gourmet takes on classic favorites. Rhett and I happened to stumble in one rainy Thursday night after a Slow Foods Baton Rouge event for a bowl of spicy Tomato Basil Soup that kicks La Madeleine’s popular dish in the metaphorical butt. But, we were encouraged by servers to come back and try their Friday and Saturday night Corn and Crawfish Chowder. Try we did. Scrape our bowls with bread and eat every last drop we did.
Pictured: One of Reginelli’s 2 great soups corn and crawfish chowder available every Friday and Saturday night. Rich in flavor and just thick enough with its crawfish texture, this soup is worth ordering in or out every rainy weekend.
Pictured: Soup that’s good to the last drop (Corn and Crawfish Chowder).
But it’s easy to miss the soup and I can understand why–from the second you sit down, Reginelli’s advertises some of the best hummus in town (made with a combination of white beans and garbanzo beans–at $6.50, you can get the dish dressed in a combination of olives, cheese, and other ingredients) and a popular bar food treat: Spinach and Artichoke Dip with garlic bread ($6.50).
Pictured: Spinach and Artichoke Dip Appetizer served with plenty of garlicy slices of French Bread.
Pictured: At long last – the beautiful, veggie-filled pizza we ordered (The Mediterranean) with the addition of giant Portobello Mushroom slices for a hearty texture and meaty flavor.
Between uniquely flavorful soups and decadent starters, be sure to leave room for the restaurant’s gourmet pizza. Last week, Rhett and I ordered the Mediterranean pie ($10.95/$15.95) with the addition of Portobello mushrooms (pictured above). It was an easy way to add meaty vegetarian flavor to a favorite dish. But for those who like meat, I always suggest the Smokin’ Chicken ($11.95/$16.75) or the Classic Combo with its different kinds of Italian sausage, pepperoni, and gratifying meat ($11.95/$16.75).
Although it’s been four years since I started eating at Reginelli’s, I can attest that the restaurant simply keeps getting better and better. Slight changes to its menu, increased beer selections, a friendly round of employees, and these new-fangled movie nights during the school year make me come back for a variety of reasons. Plus, Reginelli’s just opened a second BR-location on the corner of Jefferson and Government Street less than 2 miles from my house. Yesterday, when it was raining cats and dogs all over mid-city, I ordered their fantastic Tomato Basil Soup from the new location Zooey Deschanel-style.
Reginelli’s delivers more than just pizza.
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Written by: Helana Brigman