1409 North Highland Avenue, Suite D, Atlanta, GA 30306 (Map); 404-809-2979; www.timonespizzaatlanta.com
Pizza type: NY-style
Oven type: Gas
The Skinny: NY-inspired pizzeria takes its dough seriously and adds some seriously cheffy toppings with success
Price: Timone's Cheese Pie, $15; Sausage Pie with White Beans ($19)
Around town, Ron Eyester is known as "The Angry Chef," the Twitter alter ego created when he started (hilariously) cyberventing about annoying and rude customers, often in real-time and from deep in the weeds during dinner rush. Around the hip family-friendly enclave of Morningside, he's become the mad genius behind a mini-empire, with three popular restaurants all within a stone's throw of one another. Based on my early samplings from his latest spot, Timone's, I'm happy to just call him the guy behind some of my favorite new pizzas in town.
Timone's (pronounced tih-MOE-neeze) gets its name from the maiden name of Eyester's mother. Inside, the space is all Italian-American NYC, from the streetscape wall murals to the white subway tile to Sinatra's mugshot near the bathrooms. But don't call it a gimmick or a theme; Timone's is meant to be a New York-INSPIRED joint, sparked by Eyester's own upbringing there. And while the menu boasts pasta dishes and a weekly lasagna special, Timone's is, at its heart, a neighborhood pizza joint.
Timone's Cheese Pie ($15) is a good place to start. To say it's nothing fancy is an understatement, but it's delicious in its simplicity. Seventeen inches of melty, gooey cheese dotted with blister spots atop a rich, almost-smoky sauce is enough to make it good pizza. But what sets it apart is Timone's crust. Here's the way it's described, verbatim from the menu:
Our pizza dough is a blend of Anson Mills organic Farinadi Pizzaiolo heirloom flour and King Arthur Sir Lancelot high-gluten, unbleached flour with a hint of Savannah Bee orange blossom honey and sea salt. We have also installed a carbon filtration system on the house water which essentially allows us to re-create the exact water found out of the tap in New York City.
Wowzers. Suffice it to say that Eyester takes his dough seriously, if nothing else. Pizza purists may scoff at the honey, and New Yorkers can debate whether a "carbon filtration" system makes the dough any more NYC-like, but I can safely say the crust I ate at Timone's was unlike anything I've tried lately. It had a crisp, sheeny shell that crackled under tooth and gave way to a chewy texture and yes, slightly sweet, interior.
The undercarriage sports no char to speak of, a result of a multidecked Blodgett gas oven rather than some wood-burning, fire-breathing beast. But it was a great reminder that excellent pizza doesn't have to come from just one type of oven. Cooked like the best NY street pies are, this was a slice I'd be proud to stroll around the streets of Manhattan with.
But Eyester isn't content to keep all the offerings so sparse and basic. There is a mushroom pie and a pepperoni pizza; the rest showcase some spectacular and cheffy toppings. Among the nine specialties, you'll find African squash with candied bacon, artichokes and almonds, chicken confit and eggplant puree, even braised short ribs with fennel jam and turnips. But the one that caught my eye was the Sausage Pie with White Beans ($19).
Small, unobtrusive bits of sundried tomato are also here, along with sage, shallots, and a drizzle of balsamic that's artfully squeezed over the pie just before serving. The sausage itself is finely ground and crumbled, with a subtle seasoning that still lets you know it's all there. But the beans were the real revelation for me. Some were intact, some had burst open, mashing mid-chew into what basically serves as a sauce for this pie. It made for a hearty slice, with fall flavors that blended beautifully, even if I'd never exactly imagined them all hanging out together on a pizza before.
Timone's is still just a few months old, and they're still finding their way somewhat. The menu has undergone some tweaking in that short time; while Eyester didn't offer a build-your-own option at first (or even substitutions), the menu now breaks toppings down into three pricing buckets and challenges, "Don't Like Those Pies? You Try."
Eyester may not approve of whatever you create, and may even take to Twitter if you act too douchey about it, but I for one will be back to Timone's for more of what The Angry Chef is dishing out.
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, pizzas for Slice, and sugar-laden things for Sweets, 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 The Gaslight Anthem. Or both.