For years I worked seven days a week in hot kitchens so I could hop on an airplane once a year and travel to far flung cities like Istanbul, Amsterdam, Budapest or Bratislava. I always made sure I had plenty money tucked in my boot so I could live a little whilst on vacation.
And I drank plenty high dollar beer while I was living large abroad but I never paid anything like the usury charged by Central Pizza in Acadiana.Gnarly Barley up in Hammond, Louisiana is putting out one of the best beers in the state of Louisiana right now. I regularly buy pints of Jucifer around town here in New Orleans with most pours clocking in around five or six bucks.
I don’t think twice when I see it on draught at Central Pizza in downtown Lafayette. I’m thirsty and looking for a good time so I ask after a pint and set back to take in the scene. When I get my ticket I nearly go buck wild and demolish the restaurant.
Eleven Madison Park has been reborn on the prairies of Louisiana.I pay the fee, tip a couple bucks and quietly stew. That doesn’t last long as I’m starving and in need of a pizza. Central has a gorgeous, fancy, wood-burning oven in the open kitchen and to top it off they offer that rare bit of exotica: a muffaletta pie.
You scarcely see these pizzas on menus in New Orleans. Imagine all the lovely fillings of a muffaletta sandwich strewn across a pizza crust that’s then submitted to a 1000 plus degree wood-fired oven.
The ne plus ultra of the form existed briefly in the Lower Garden District of New Orleans on a nearly forgotten food truck called St. Clair. May they rest in peace.Central’s is a shadow of that old glory but the fault chiefly lies with the poorly trained pizzaiolo. This pizza is a barely-cooked dough bomb with none of the distinguished char marks we seek in a wood oven pizza.
Cooking pizza via intense hardwood fire is a craft that takes years to master, and the best workers in the field can command high salary and acclaim from the eaters of their village.
Over-priced beer and under-cooked pizza are hallmarks that Central Pizza hangs their hat on. Grossing over $1100 on a keg of local beer is shameful behavior. In medieval times this offense would’ve been met with the king collecting the offenders chattel and the feudal lord being entitled to the offenders lands.
Nowadays out in Acadiana they just round up the usurers and drive them to the nearest swamp where they’re fed to the gators.
423 Jefferson St
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