Back in the day, a part of the Lake (Ponchartrain) front in New Orleans was called “Bucktown.” I’ll leave it to you to find out why. Bucktown had bars, restaurants, businesses that catered to the fishing fleet parked on the shore. Today, Bucktown is mostly made up of the Corps of Engineers Levee (now, new and improved!), and a few restaurants have survived.
About the only one with a sense of longevity and continuity, is the R&O, which says on the front of the building “Restaurant and Catering” and says on the menu “Pizza Restaurant.”
Identity crisis? In fact “no,” and most people go to R&O for boiled and fried seafood platters, piled high with local goodness – oysters,crawfish, shrimp, crabs, fish.
Used to the restaurants here would take the seafood right out of the Lake, but these days, product comes from around the local region.
In addition to the seafood, R&O has a complete Italian dinner menu, sandwiches and pizzas, so it’s pretty high on the family dining list, with something to please most every one. And since it’s an oyster outlet (down here we say “er-ster”, tho), there is always an ample supply of saltines on the table to shut up those rugrats.
But I go for the pizza. To my tastes, it’s one of the best in New Orleans, which is not exactly pizza heaven, despite the large influence of Italians in the region, and a great many excellent Italian restaurants.
In fact “pizza” and “dearth” go together here, in my mind.
R&O’s has a great thin crust, bubbly/chewy on the rim, crispy inside, cooked on a standard gas two-decker, like Blodgett or Baker’s Pride (I didn’t peek).
New Orleans is a great town to get Italian sausage, and the hand-pulled chunks on R&O’s pizza are no exception. Excellent texture, seasonings, and cooked to perfection. Real cheese and a mild red sauce (here we call it “red gravy”) bind it all together. The cheese melds together so well, that if you attempt to remove a slice immediately after the pizza has been served, that cheese is going to pull away. Wait a minute! The whole experience will go better.
During the seven years I lived here, I search uptown, downtown, all around for a good pizza, and R&O became my consistent choice.