Fork in the road, Part II: Pizza Delicious

June 1, 2016 11:00 AM

Fran Simon

Michael Friedman and Greg Augarten of Pizza Delicious

Michael Friedman and Greg Augarten use the finest ingredients in their offerings at Pizza Delicious in the Bywater, drawing customers in droves. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)

“We’re all passionate about the food. If there’s a meatball, we made it. If there are vegetables, we chopped them.”

Greg Augarten

This is Part Two of a four-part series that profiles millennial Tulane alumni in New Orleans’ restaurant industry. Today’s installment: Michael Friedman (SLA ’08) and Greg Augarten (SLA ’09).

Michael Friedman and Greg Augarten, proprietors of Pizza Delicious, are not above putting shrimp—along with other fresh, local ingredients—on their authentic, New York–style pizzas.

The duo met at Tulane through mutual friends. They found out quickly that they had mutual interests: the New York Mets, food and pizza. As college roommates, they cooked together often and would invite friends over for elaborate meals. One night, they looked up a pizza dough recipe and rated their fledgling attempt “pretty good.”

Late in 2009, they started fantasizing about opening a restaurant.

“We personally wanted it: thin crust, big pizza,” says Friedman. “And in New York, you can get pizza by the slice.”

The fact that they are running the (arguably) hottest pizza restaurant in New Orleans is a “complete surprise” to these New Yorkers.
Friedman thought that he would be a high school English teacher. Augarten was less sure about his career path and was considering graduate school, either in business or law.

Their restaurant began as a pop-up in 2012. They stumbled upon an old bakery space in the Bywater neighborhood, where they could share the bakery’s dough mixer and pizza oven. Their unusual schedule of opening one night each week attracted attention: Word spread by mouth and social media, and the buzz created demand. It was, as Augarten says, “a pizza adventure.”

“We didn’t go to business school. We knew nothing. But with this, we had minimal overhead,” says Friedman, who volunteered to work at a local restaurant for free, while he was still teaching. The two kept their day jobs, working as a pop-up one night a week, then two nights a week, for three years.

“One of the funniest accomplishments was we found out the mayor’s sister-in-law was picking up pizza from us. And then Mayor [Mitch] Landrieu came twice,” Friedman says. “It’s hilarious because we were doing something under the radar, and the mayor was supportive.”

Read the full story here.

This story originally appeared in the March 2016 issue of Tulane magazine.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu