No cuisine or food item is more demonstrative of the skyrocketing quality of suburban dining options than pizza. It was not long ago that Del Pizzo’s in Suwanee was a godsend, a rare northern quality purveyor of pizza ensconced amongst LittleDominosPapaHuts galore. Here is to not longing for the bad ole days of the pizza chain of fools.
The sobering scoop is that OTP is still burdened by a paucity of praiseworthy deep-dish alternatives since Roswell Tap transitioned from being restaurant-oriented to a watering hole for the middle-aged mini-van mafia. Victim of the transformation, the Saturday-only upper crust deep-dish pizza was sliced (so to speak) from the menu.
A few Brazilian pizza curators have also come and gone. Sumptuous foodie recompense has been the light-speed proliferation of Neapolitan pizza transmigration, mirroring the precedence set by New York style vendors.
Risking being accused of cheesy puns, our crusty food critic is sure to provoke saucy debate with this mushrooming list of elite OTP pizzerias.
11) Bobby G’s Chicago Eatery (Milton)
A common myth is that Chicago-style pizza is synonymous with deep dish. Bobby G’s destroys that urban legend with righteous Chicago thin crust pizza. Admittedly, Bobby G’s edges out several other “best of” candidates because Chicago pizza is such a scarce commodity OTP. Despite their failed business model of franchising, this now one and only whereabouts does the Windy City justice.
10) Double Zero Napoletana (Atlanta)
Just a notch outside the perimeter, named after the signature flour required for authentic wood-fire pizza, they were among the first to transport the style north of Georgia Tech.
9) LaBella’s Pizzeria (Marietta)
Trusted sources tell us they have become “hit-or-miss.” Perhaps not coincidently, they were put on my radar screen at least 15 years ago by a New York bred pastry chef. La Bella’s superior dough is the tipping point ensuring their inclusion.
8) Alpine Bakery & Trattoria (Alpharetta)
Dispensing pizza was the second of three well-orchestrated phases: bakery, pizzeria, and trattoria. Our affection for their pizza traces back to when they offered takeout only one block from their current address. Yes, the bakery is great, but enduring with the pizza related theme, the stromboli is also requisite.
7) Bella’s Pizzeria (Smryna)
No relation to La Bella’s, though like the similarly named establishment, Bella’s has also been distributing some of the finest pie in the state for more than a decade. The original pizzaiolo described their brand as, “Italian style, not New York style.” Okay, we just want another please.
6) Verra-Zanno Pizzeria (Johns Creek) & Joe’s New York Pizzeria (Alpharetta)
Same proprietor, same pie. However, big cheese (so to speak) Joe Amitrano’s namesake eating-house has a smaller kitchen, forcing a more restricted menu insofar as non-pizza possibilities.
5) Antico (Alpharetta)
The Avalon spot has not seamlessly replicated maestro restaurateur Giovanni Di Palma original Georgia Tech area locale. However they seem to be closing in on cloning the product. They may make a strong submission for top honors shortly.
4) Vingenzo’s Pasta & Pizzeria
This Woodstock staple is the best overall restaurant on the list, thanks to their equally meritorious homemade pasta. The thinnest crust among the Neapolitan shortlist contenders, the pizza alone is a game-changer.
3) 850 Bar Pizza (Milton)
Neighboring Roswell is the epicenter of OTP’s aperitive ascension. However, the Crabapple section of Milton makes no apologies with a burgeoning list of excellent restaurants anchored by 850 Bar Pizza. Naples, Italy transplant Stefano Rea ministers to discriminating palates as head chef. For the modish among us (certainly not the author), this is the most hip spot on the list.
2) Campania (Alpharetta)
We could proclaim a dead heat with the above 850, as the virtuoso Rea was the founding chef at both. The pizzas are identical, but we give the antecedence to Campania for eldership. As a coup de grâce, Rea’s succeeding culinary artists supplemented the list of options with awe-inspiring veal meatballs, elevating every meal here into a two-course minimum for any self-respecting food snob.
1) Taste of Italy (Woodstock)
This top honor goes specifically to the location on Highway 92. Because of a family split, they are different owners than same-named shops in the area. But at this place of business, they churn out unadulterated pizza greatness. The frills are limited to your taste buds. If you are looking for creature comforts, go elsewhere and leave room for those of us whose bon vivant hankerings are satiated purely by what’s on our paper plates.
When not eating, which is rare, the author Joe Duffy is CEO of AJA Enterprises home to premier sports handicapping website OffshoreInsiders.com. The newest addition to the company is DuffyVideo.com, specializing in Bar Mitzvah video montages, company logos for small businesses and more. Joe has also written for Atlanta.Eater.com.