I love Italy. Eric and I honeymooned there so it holds a special kind of magic in my heart.
The city we did not visit on our 10 day post-wedding trip was Naples. The city of pizza. And boy, do I love pizza. I consider it to be a food group.
And then, the heavens opened up and so did Antico Pizza, here in Atlanta. At 1093 Hemphill Avenue to be precise. Oh what a wonderful day for me.
Eric and I braved the GA/GA Tech game traffic to eat there yesterday. It was so worth it. Everyone else was so busy tailgating that we got a parking space up front and walked right in. Isn’t that swell? The aroma wafting from the kitchen was surreal. I couldn’t wait to eat.
The first sight you see is tray after tray of empty cannoli shells and trays of sfogliatelle, a super flaky pastry filled with a lemony, ricotta-custardy filling. We ordered one of each, but were told we could pick them up at the end of the meal, so the cannoli could be freshly filled before eating. How divine. Soggy cannoli does not make me happy. Crispy, creamy, fresh filled cannoli does.
But before I get ahead of myself, a little history. Giovanni Di Palma, the owner, is a New York/New Jersey transplant whose grandfather arrived at Ellis Island in 1914 from Naples. Five years ago, Giovanni visited Naples and has since been figuring out the logistics of bringing the pizza of his grandfather’s homeland here to the states. He found just the spot in a closed down bakery on Hemphill Avenue in the Westside of town (where I just happen to live).
The three huge pizza ovens have been imported from Italy and bear the name of the patron saint of each city from whence it comes. With Antico’s success it would seem as if these three saints are smiling down on Giovanni. There are also three huge dough mixers. Oh to have one of those in my home, where it would never fit, but I would be happy making baked goods.
We decided on the Capricciosa ($21 for a large pie) which was topped with mushroom, artichoke, proscuitto cotto and bufala cheese. When we told Giovanni we were taking pictures for our blog he invited us to eat in the kitchen – the equivalent of the golden ticket to any food lover! We bypassed the diners at the lovely communal table in the tiny dining room and turned the corner to find the gigantic kitchen with a long table to the left. There we found the blessed ovens, the huge aforementioned mixers, tons of pizza boxes, neatly stacked and awaiting their pizzas fresh from the ovens. There were pizza cooks along with Master Pizzaiolo Enrico Liberato, smiling, nibbling pizza and working at top speed on these gorgeous creations.
We took a seat at the kitchen table and were greeted by one very handsome young man who introduced himself as John, the owner’s son. We asked him about the pizza – his response, “It is the best pizza in town, perhaps the world…” and really, he spoke the truth. Our pizza was delivered to our table piping hot and we dove in face first. The toppings were so ooey gooey and meaty and the crust was so light, but charred in all the right places it was hard to believe we were still in Georgia. I could’ve eaten every bite, but I was curious to see how the pie would reheat at home. So we finished our wonderful meal in the kitchen, picked up our pastries and headed home.
The pizza heated up and was revived beautifully at home, but not before we devoured the pastries. I almost cried when they were gone, they were that good. I’m sitting here wondering how I can justify the calories and go back again today.
Well, I am swimming tomorrow…..
If you are in Atlanta – go to Antico. Now. Hello….what are you waiting for? You can read this later!
1093 Hemphill Avenue
Open Daily 11:30am until the dough runs out