If you are looking for authentic Italian pizza, and I do mean authentic, then look no further than Antico Pizza Napoletana. The restaurant opened in Sept. 2009 to rave reviews and continues to go strong. It has quickly established itself as the pizza destination in Atlanta, whether you are a casual diner or a complete snob.
It sits on Hemphill Drive near the Georgia Tech campus in a non-descript building. It’s easy to go right past it if you’re not looking for it. The vibe inside definitely gives you an old school, communal feel. You sit at large tables with benches that you share with other patrons. There aren’t even any plates! Tear off a paper towel to keep your slice on when you are not devouring it. You can look directly into the huge kitchen and see the pies coming out of one of the three 900 degree ovens. The ovens, by the way, were built hand made in Naples and shipped to Atlanta by sea. A large flat screen TV hangs from the wall and keeps you up-to-date on all the soccer and European sports news, you know, just in case you were wondering how your fantasy rugby team is doing. The sounds of an opera permeate the room and mixes with your already entranced senses and you wonder if you haven’t somehow been transported to Italy.
Antico – which means “ancient” in Italian – is the brainchild of Giovanni Di Palma, conceived after an inspirational visit to his grandparents’ village just outside of Naples. A tour of a flour mill and a sampling of some of the best pizza in Naples and the rest is history. Antico has won numerous accolades, including being named Atlanta’s best Italian-style pizza by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman had to make a stop at Antico to see what all the talk was about while they were in Atlanta filming “The Change Up.”
And the best is yet to come. According to Jenny Turknett of the ajc.com blog “Food and More,” Antico has announced that they will be expanding their business, not just outside of Georgia in places like Miami and Charlotte, but also internationally, to places such as Beijing and Sao Paolo. Di Palma said in a press release, “I most certainly did not sell my business or merge with a chain company. I partnered with a “Dream Team” of proven foodservice and financial experts who get what makes the Antico experience so special. I had been bombarded with offers after being open only a few months and I rebuffed them quickly because they were purely financial and it takes a lot more than capital to create the Antico product and atmosphere.”
If you haven’t yet been to Antico, you owe yourself to this treat. They are located at 1093 Hemphill Ave., Atlanta, GA 30318. Their official hours are Monday-Saturday, 11:30-until the dough runs out.