Slice

Atlanta: Pizzas That Stuff and Stuffed Pizzas at Baby Tommy's Taste of New York

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[Photographs: Todd Brock]

Baby Tommy's Taste of New York

365 14th Street, Atlanta, GA 30318 (Map); 404-874-4445; www.babytommys.com
Pizza type: NY-style
Oven type: Gas
The Skinny: Huge slices and some stuffed surprises in a sparse college joint that calls to mind the Big Apple
Price: Four Cheese (Jumbo), $23.95; Stuffed Meat (Medium), $19.95

Just in case the name on the sign didn't clue you in, the larger-than-life Jets, Giants, and Yankees logos greet you just inside the front door. Sure, Georgia Tech is represented, too, but that's way back behind the counter. No, what hits you like a cold wind whipping straight off the Hudson is that Baby Tommy's Taste of New York really does feel like a bit of the Big Apple, right in the heart of the Big Peach.

And if the inexpensively-framed posters of the city's best-loved landmarks scattered about the tiny interior don't exactly put you in a New York state of mind, the sprawling spread of pies, calzones, and strombolis in the glass case just might.

It's all here and ready for its reheat, from plain cheese, to Granny's (their take on the Margherita), to slightly-unorthodox-if-not-somewhat-sacrilegious choices like Buffalo Chicken and Lasagna pizzas, and everything in between. There are twenty pies on the menu, not to mention five stuffed pies (more on them in a moment) and the obligatory add-a-topping methodology. And every damn one of them is available as a single slice.

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There are two locations—the original up in the 'burbs, and this newer one, just a stone's throw from the Georgia Tech campus. But Baby Tommy's knows its college clientele can't live on single slices alone—sometimes you and your entire dorm floor need to chow down, too. That's when you order a Jumbo.

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At twenty inches across, it looks almost absurdly big when they bring it around; almost as big as the table you're sitting at (they do a healthy carryout and delivery biz, too). It's not the biggest pizza I've seen in Atlanta, but this one feels less like a made-for-TV stunt and more like a made-for-Friday-at-the-frat-house party-in-a-box.

Mine was the Four Cheese ($23.95), a sauceless pie that puts sharp cheddar, mozzarella, provolone, and Parmesan on "a white base." But maybe it should be called the Five Cheese, because that white base was super-heavy on the ricotta.

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These slices drape off their paper plates at both ends, with a crust that's both foldable and slightly crackly at the same time. A quick peek underneath showed not the blistered leopard-spotting of a fancypants pie, but a uniform deep golden brown bestowed by a New York minute spent in their Baker's Pride commercial ovens. This is undoubtedly street pizza: big, cheap, and fast.

But also damn tasty. While my rim didn't exactly have a textbook microbubble structure, it was chewy and springy, with an unmistakable hit of sweetness in there somewhere. It was also satisfying: one gooey slice from the Jumbo could have easily filled me up—and sent me to my couch for the rest of the day.

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But that's so not my style. I had to push on and sample one of Baby Tommy's calling card pies, the stuffed pizzas. Not quite the "stuffed pizzas" famously churned out in Chicago; these monsters have a top and bottom crust...but with no blanket of sauce on top.

The interior is jam-packed with fillings, and they skew toward the oddball. But let's face it, if you're ordering a stuffed pizza, restraint and proper pizza decorum got chucked out the window long ago. There's Chicken Cordon Bleu, Nacho Chicken, Cheeseburger, Vegetable, and the Stuffed Meat ($19.95 for the medium), seen above.

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Inside, it's heavy layers of spicy pepperoni, thick ham, and thin shavings of sausage and meatballs. Texturally, it was tough to discern where sausage stopped and meatballs started, but at this point in the meal, I was simply gutting it out. There's plenty of mozz in there and supposedly some very sparingly-applied tomato sauce that I, personally, couldn't find. All in all, this is essentially a deli case in a double-decker crust. And I totally dug it.

If you have a death wish, or the job of feeding the Yellow Jackets' entire offensive line, then you'll be happy to know that the stuffed pizzas are available as Jumbos as well. At $33.95, they're not for the light of wallet (nor, at a whopping SIXTEEN pounds, the weak of bicep).

But like everything about Baby Tommy's Taste of New York, it was a wonderful surprise. I'm already looking forward to working my way down that pizza menu, maybe spreading out into some of their classic sandwiches, even trying a cannoli or some "Push Cart Specials" like a gyro, knish, or Sabrett hot dog. Baby Tommy's may not be the best-known of the many ATL pizzerias trying to mimic the Big Apple, but they may be doing it better than anybody else.

About the Author: Todd Brock lives the glamorous life of a stay-at-home freelance writer in the suburbs of Atlanta. Besides being paid to eat cheeseburgers for AHT and pizzas for Slice, he's written and produced over 1,000 hours of television and penned Building Chicken Coops for Dummies. When he grows up, he wants to be either the starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys or the drummer for Hootie & the Blowfish. Or both.

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