Tucked in with a smoke shop, a car stereo dealer, and a vendor of coins and firearms, Campania is pumping out top 10 list-caliber pies and may just be the best-kept pizza secret in town. For now.
'atlanta' on Serious Eats
Last time, internet pizza legend (and creator of the most famous pizza recipe in the world) Jeff Varasano talked about the challenges of opening a pizzeria and why he's stayed out of the spotlight the last few years. Today, he goes in depth on the power of a brand like Chic-Fil-A, the challenge of finding great employees, and why having great pizza doesn't always matter.
Jeff Varasano's pizza recipe went viral in the mid-2000's, and he opened up his own shop in Atlanta a few years later to critical acclaim. Then he went quiet...and we decided to find out why. Varasano had a very candid chat with us about his victories, his setbacks, his big plans coming down the pipe, and his newest location: the airport in Atlanta. If you ever wanted to open a pizzeria (or any a business), this is must-read stuff.
"Pizza is a social food. In this country, you call a friend and say, 'Let's go get a drink.' In Italy, we say, 'Let's get a pizza.'" Every single thing I ate at Don Antonio by Starita was well worth sharing with someone you care about. MY favorite pizza in Atlanta? I think I just found it.
There's a time and a place for the pizza-as-artform-with-a-capital-A gourmet pizza shrines out there... but sometimes you just want to chill on your couch with a sloppy, gooey, greasy, holy-crap-this-is-why-I-fell-in-love-with-pizza-when-I-was-7 kind of pie. And LaBella's does that better than most.
Don't get me wrong; I like a little kick, but this was a steel-toed boot being jammed straight up my taste buds. When I can still residually taste a pizza six hours and three tooth-brushings later, it's "too much."Suffice it to say, Slice & Pint is still—almost four months in—definitely a work in progress.
There's a cheese pizza that's delicious in its simplicity, but others showcase some spectacular and cheffy toppings. Ron Eyester may be "The Angry Chef," but what he's doing at Timone's should make pizza fanatics quite happy.
S&J's Woodfired Pizza may not be the easiest pie shop to find in Atlanta (that's about to change...), but what they're pulling out of their eye-catching little red trailer makes it well worth the extra effort.
Paizano's Italian Bistro may not serve destination pizza, but if I lived in the downtown Norcross area, I could do a lot worse for go-to NY-style, Neapolitan, and Sicilian pies.
Who knew Woodstock, Georgia was a legit pizza destination town? The tiny hamlet is on the extreme edge of what can just barely be called the metro Atlanta area: a full thirty miles from Centennial Olympic Park and admittedly way off the beaten path for most Atlanta pizza fanatics. True, this northwestern 'burb is on serious Slice'rs' radar screens thanks to the world-class pies at Vingenzo's. But about 1,000 feet away, FireStone Wood Fired Pizza & Grill is doing the California-style pie thing with similarly stellar results
What's Italian for "sad?" At Cibo e Beve, I ordered a topping as unique as duck and paid 17 bucks for the privilege, but came away with an impression that was no more memorable than "a rich white pie that mainly tastes like smoke."
Cucina Asellina should be killing it in Atlanta. But sadly, their much-ballyhooed pizzas left my palate underwhelmed, and my wallet overextended.
No. 246 may not be a "pizza place" per se, but the under-the-radar pies certainly deserve mention when you're talking about the city's finest.
A recent newspaper article singled out Westside Pizzeria as "the kind of place you sort of hate to tell people about." For me, it was definitely a tale of two pies.
With regular slices that drape off their paper plates and crazy stuffed pies that can weigh up to sixteen pounds, this may not be the best-known of the local pizzerias trying to mimic the Big Apple...but they may be doing it better than anybody else.
It's solid, unpretentious, neighborhood pizza... and if it didn't require circling the block looking for a parking spot, I'd be fine with it being my go-to Friday-night pie. But the real surprise came when I went Sicilian.
Uncle Maddio's crust is nearly identical in every respect (shape, texture, taste, airiness, mouthfeel) to the round sourdough buns at Schlotzsky's. The stack of ready-to-go dough rounds drives home the point that you could have had a real pizza, but just chose not to this time.
I believe Ammazza will find itself on the shortlist of the city's top pizza joints, but the initial oohs and aahs at multi-colored flecks sprinkled over a 12-inch pie won't disguise the fact that this is, simply, a kids' cheese pizza with edible sparkles.
The Uova e Tartufi at Caffe Fortunato is the kind of pizza that everyone just stares at for a moment when it hits the table—some breathing in the earthy aroma of the truffles, some taking in the artful visuals of the sunny-side-up eggs, some just trying to figure out how to cut the damn thing with butter knives.
Tartufo Pizzeria is a more than worthy addition to the city's ever-expanding list of upscale pie shops... and, I daresay, better than most.