OK, so I was a little slow getting onto the Antico Pizza bandwagon. This pizzeria caught my attention shortly after its opening. Fountains of praise gushed forth, from Atlanta journals and Yelpers to my ever-critical fellow Emory blogger, The Toothfish. Despite the onslaught of glowing reviews, I hesitated – $18-$21 for a pizza whose toppings aren’t exactly overflowing? I don’t know…My taste-buds and wallet waged a silent war. Three years later, my taste-buds won. I went with my A and L the night our classes ended, for one should never go into battle, let alone finals, on an empty stomach.
I pulled up the map and of course, it’s right next to Georgia Tech, just like countless other great places (Sublime Doughnuts, anyone?). Why is everything tasty there? When we arrived, I saw a fairly large communal table and two window-bars. How in the world could such a busy place get by with so little seating? Confused, I thought that perhaps that was the “Dough Room” I’d read about. I’d always imagined it to be, well, bigger.
We went up to the counter and looked over the menu.The two young women behind the register completely ignored us and kept chatting amongst themselves- no greeting, no smile, no sign that they had noticed our presence. After much debate, we decided to just order one pizza, the San Gennaro – two would require digging too deeply into our college-student-wallets. We could always come back some other time to try the other pizzas. Having made up our minds, I turned to the still-chatting workers, who ignored me. After an awkward moment, I coughed loudly. One of them turned towards me. “Yes?” I had planned on asking them about the desserts in the cooler, but was irritated enough to not bother. I placed our order and the three of us wandered into the room with the communal table. It took only one glance to spot the fluorescent light radiating from a doorway to the left of the table – could it be? Feeling like an intruder, I peeked in – it was. I had found The Dough Room.
The Dough Room: bright fluorescent lights, booming music, and happy people feasting on pizza and wine; three, large, beautiful pizza ovens blazing in the background; kitchen staff tossing out pizzas and sprinkling fresh toppings with admirable efficiency and ease. I took in my surroundings for a moment, recovering from the drastic change in setting. We sat down at an empty space on one of the long picnic tables and before I had even taken off my jacket, a woman whisked over, set down our pizza, and disappeared. We looked down at the pizza, surprised by its speedy delivery, but not by its unimpressive size.
I whipped out my camera and snapped photos for a whole 15 seconds. “OK, done, let’s eat.” L and A, rather amused by it being my shortest photo shoot ever, didn’t need a second invitation. It was love at first bite. The pizza had the perfect amount of a beautiful tomato sauce. The dough was mindbogglingly flavorful. Domino’s flavors their crust with garlic parmesan powder, Papa John’s with an optional garlic butter sauce (which is so bad, but so good) – Antico Pizza’s crust’s flavor started with its dough and ended with just a bit of char from those blazing, 900 degree ovens. The ends of the crust were pillows of charred goodness. Spotted with wonderful gooey gobs of mozzarella cheese and large, juicy hunks of salsiccia, or sausage, the pizza tasted fantastic. And then I got a bite with some sweet red pepper – oh my goodness. Those peppers were succulent, sweet, and had a perfect kick of spice. I could eat an entire pizza topped with just those peppers. The three of us polished the pie off in record timing and afterwards, really, really wished we had gotten the Margherita, too. Instead, to spare their wallets, L and A finished filling their stomachs with the nearby Burger King.
Antico Napoletana Pizza dishes out tasty, authentic Napoletani pies to Atlanta, according to others. I have never gone to Italy before, let alone eaten their pizzas, and thus cannot confirm that claim. However, I can tell you that these pizzas are seriously delicious and worth the money. Fortunately, the high price, attributed to the fresh, Italy-imported ingredients, keeps my desire to come here weekly in check. However, I think my wallet can handle my coming here once every two-three weeks, though. Fast, hot, delicious, and fresh – if you haven’t visited this pizzeria yet, stop waiting for an invitation. Drive over, order one, eat it, relish it – you’ll thank me.
Antico Pizza Napoletana
1093 Hemphill Ave
Atlanta, GA 30318