There are plenty ways to become a New Orleanian. Catch a cudgel to the ribs from the wild man parading with Mohawk Hunters. Receive a free cold beer from Mr Junior at Little People’s Place on Barracks. Lose a radiator to a pot hole on Carrolton Avenue.
Buy a fresh po boy loaf out the backdoor of Gendusa’s Bakery in Gentilly.
We’re constantly crisscrossing New Orleans to find new places to eat for our 500 Po Boys Series. Earlier today we were on business up near UNO when we spotted a big sign for Homegrown Pizza in the old Munch Factory on Elysian Fields.
Time for a po boy. Homegrown sources their sandwich bread from Gendusa Bakery (est. 1922) just down the street in Gentilly. There are warring factions pitched across New Orleans that claim either Gendusa or Leidenheimer make the finest loaves in our city.
A smaller faction issues battle cries for Alois J Binder in the Marigny. And of late don’t be surprised to hear the occasional hippie making a clamor over Bellegarde in Broadmoor.New Orleans is awash in bread bakeries.
It’s early and we’re the only customers in the shop. The room is small seating perhaps 50-60 people. Decor is pizza parlor basic; simple and utilitarian. We grab a seat at the bar and one of the owners immediately makes her way over. She’s ebullient and well-pleased to see us in her establishment.
A restaurateur in the making.
We order “The Harold” named after the nice lady’s grandfather, and perhaps ten minutes pass before our sandwich makes its way from the kitchen.
Our po boy is made up of hot capicola, mortadella, salami, provolone cheese, arugula, and vinegar. At first blush it appears petite but like many Italian sandwiches it’s heft is belied by its density.
You may think you’ll take it down in 3-4 bites but toward the end you’ll be wondering if you can even finish it.
During the research ramp up for this piece I discovered that Homegrown occupies the former Luigi’s Pizza & Spaghetti Warehouse, a college dive mostly remembered for serving as an incubator for The Radiators when they were getting their start back in the 70s.
Drummer Frank Bua ran hogwild in the old joint one night retrieving a chainsaw from his pickup truck and plundering some old tables and chairs in the dining room. LSD may or may not have involved.
The Radiators were not invited back after the incident.
We’d love to see Homegrown Pizza bring The Rads in for their grand opening and have Bua recreate the madness. You’ll never see a “Keep New Orleans Weird” t-shirt. It just comes naturally here.
6325 Elysian Fields Ave
New Orleans, LA 70122
Hours of operation
Always call ahead