Rampart Treehouse (740 N. Rampart St., 504-407-3484) opened in the space that formerly housed the Red Truck Clubhouse. New owner Michelle Healey has maintained a focus on pizza, but she has concocted a new spin on the dish.
“People have flaming shots and other showy things,” Healey says. “I was like, ‘What if we set our pizzas on fire?’”
In the tradition of dishes like Brennan’s bananas Foster, the Flambeaux pizza is flamed tableside.
Healey was able to find only one other restaurant offering this pizza preparation — in Mumbai, India. After igniting a lot of pizza, she selected brandy for the job.
“The alcohol completely burns off and leaves a light, sweet, smoky flavor,” Healey says. “I didn’t want to compromise the flavor of the pizza just to add something fun.”
Flaming pizza is available until 9 p.m., and managers may not serve it to rowdy customers, she says.
“One of our pizza chefs is in a heavy metal band,” Healey says. “He was like, ‘We’re gonna set pizzas on fire – that’s so metal!’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, it is exciting but safety first.’”
Rampart Treehouse serves flamed and regular whole pies, and slices are available for takeout. Cut from 20-inch New York-style pies, large slices with cheese are $4; slices with pepperoni cost $5; and there is a daily special slice. Salads and sandwiches round out the menu, and there are vegan items.
The restaurant’s unique decor features work by featured artists and a tree sculpture that appears to grow from the bar. That tree was created for the previous owners by an artist who worked for Mardi Gras World. It has branches from a Mississippi magnolia tree and hand-painted silk flowers.
The tree resonates with Healey because her father, a restaurateur in Ohio, once opened a restaurant in Cleveland with a tree sprouting from the center of its bar. It turned out that the owner of Red Truck visited that restaurant 15 years ago and was inspired by the very same tree.
Before moving to New Orleans two years ago, Healey worked as an environmental scientist and a restaurant inspector in Cleveland.
“When I first moved down here, going to some places in the Quarter and looking at them through the eyes of a health inspector… that was something I had to adjust to,” she says.
Healey is encouraging community service through the restaurant. Customers who can verify having completed three hours of community service for any organization in the city will receive a free meal and a drink. Employees also are compensated for community service hours.
“We’re in the service industry,” Healey says. “People come in here and spend their money and time, so how do we give back to the community?”
Rampart Treehouse opened Oct. 1, but its opening party is at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, and it will give away gift certificates to the first 50 guests, and there will be a DJ.
Rampart Treehouse is open noon to 2 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday, and noon to 4 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. Pizza is served until closing. Delivery is available through Uber Eats, Postmates, Waitr and Grubhub.