ATL Keeps Its Eyes on the Pies

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ATL Food Chatter: January 4, 2010
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If you pay attention at all to the food scene in Atlanta, you know that pizzerias—along with hamburger joints and variations on taquerias—were at the top of the city’s 2009 culinary trends. The chatter surrounding the comparison between the pies at Antico, Varasano’s and Fritti reached national pitch. It appears that the fervor set the stage for the arrival of two Midtow- based newcomers that promise to add some interesting twists to Atlanta’s pizza wars in 2010.

Pie 950 Pizza Tavern is slated to open this month in part of the space that their owners, Prickly Pear Taqueria, acquired when they replaced the short lived Amore at 950 West Peachtree Street. In addition to pizzas, subs and gelatos, Pie 950 will show soccer matches on large flat screen televisions. The owners are touting Pie 950 as a “European pizzeria,” so expect a modern interior design in the two-story space.

Piola Peach
is also scheduled to open this month at 1068 Peachtree Street, next to RA Sushi. Piola is a chain based in Treviso, Italy that has established a global footprint. In addition to a wide array of authentic Italian pies, Piola offers an assortment of pasta dishes. One unique feature is that the chain also hosts cultural events, art shows and live entertainment at their restaurants.

On a down note, local blog Tomorrow’s News Today noted that Buckhead’s Pizza Fusion outpost is listed among franchises for sale on Craigslist. (The post was last updated December 26 as of this morning.) The local pizza juggernaut may be unstoppable at this point, but all these folks capitalizing on a trend better produce an excellent product if they hope to last in the market.

NEWS AND NOTES:

Fifth Group Restaurants recently won Affiliate of the Year Award for 2009 from the Concierge Society of Atlanta.

Alpharetta
. Village Tavern’s popular Alpharetta outpost of the North Carolina-based chain has added an eighty-seat private dining space that includes a fireplace.

Buckhead
. Look for the third store from the US Cafe group—serving burgers, fries and shakes—to open in the former Crescent Moon spot in Lindbergh City Center this winter.

Decatur.
Decatur Metro notes that Thai-themed Eat 2 opened January 2 at 225 West Ponce de Leon, replacing Thai Me Up.

Downtown
. Thrillist is reporting that Inferno—a nightclub serving a small plates menu featuring empanadas, chicken wraps and brick oven pizzas—has opened in the former Endenu spot at 303 Marietta Street.

Inman Park
. Sauced, Ria Pell and company’s highly anticipated New Southern neighborhood pub, opened January 1 at 753 Edgewood Avenue.

Midtown. Cliff Bostock first spotted the sad “For Rent” sign in front of the closed Silver Midtown Grill.

Question of the Week:
What local salad bar chain has recently closed two of its three locations?

PS. The answer to last week’s QOTW—What Westside chef is rumored to be planning a Mexican restaurant for his next venture?—is Ford Fry.

Personal Note:
Welcome back post-holidays, everyone. I trust that you all had a great break and are looking forward to a new year full of changes, including one with this column. For several years, I have commented on Atlanta’s dining scene under an Internet moniker that separated my professional life from my labor of love—chatting about the latest food news in one of the most dynamic culinary environments in America. But I will now be posting under my given name. So, from henceforth, ATL Food Chatter will carry the byline James Oxendine, the commentator formerly known as “Micropundit.”

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