Italian by birth, four-time World Pizza Champion Giulio Adriani is what you’d call a pizzaiolo—a pizza-maker who runs a neighborhood pizza shop—and he’s an expert in his trade. The man behind the critically acclaimed Forcella in New York City, Adriani is a master instructor for a leading Neapolitan pizza organization, Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana. His signature flash-fried pizza, the montanara, actually earned him his green card in 2011. Now, Adriani has a new mission: to bring affordable, high-quality Neapolitan pizza to Atlanta.
“In Naples, you speak of pizza and you think of a food you can eat every day because it’s healthy and affordable,” he says. “In the U.S., people are going completely crazy with prices from $18-$22. Pizza should be affordable for everybody.”
To make this a reality, Adriani is opening four locations of counter-service pizza spot the Local Pizzaiolo. The first opens January 23 at 1000 Marietta Street on the Westside. (Toco Hills, Sandy Springs, and Madison Yards outposts will follow.) Though he has plans to take the Local Pizzaiolo nationwide, no leases outside of Georgia have been secured yet.
“One of my partners went to business school here and loved the city. I didn’t know anything about it, so we came to visit. I liked it. It has a good vibe, modern, and fits the concept,” Adriani says.
The Local Pizzaiolo will serve 11 varieties of 11-inch Neapolitan pies that cost $8 to $11. This includes Adriani’s favorite, the margarita. He also partnered with Heirloom Market BBQ to create a pie with barbecue brisket, cipollini, mozzarella, and a local spicy, smoky honey. Of course, Adriani’s staple, the montanara with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, basil, and Parmesan, will be available, too. In addition, the Local Pizzaiolo will serve three Roman-style cuts of pizza that Adriani describes as “almost like a sandwich.” These include a vegetarian Caprese, one with salami and ricotta, and another topped with arugula, prosciutto, cheese, and balsamic glaze. Three gluten-free options will also be on the menu.
“My dough is lighter, it has fewer calories with a little whole wheat in it,” Adriani says. He uses a special blend of flour created with the Caputo Flour Company in Naples, Italy. He also imports select products, including prosciutto di parma, Nduja sausage, and sea salt. Some of these are sold in the small market at the front of each Local Pizzaiolo location.
To go with the pizza, Employees Only famed mixologist Bratislav Glisic has designed four batched cocktails: a negroni, Venetian spritz (similar to an aperol spritz), nitro espresso martini, and a rum-based dark and stormy. Four beers and four wines will be available, in addition to coffee drinks.
For those who want something green to balance out the carbs, order the superfood, arugula, or farro salads. For dessert, there’s gelato, Nutella pizza, and nocciolino (a Nutella coffee drink).
Even though Local Pizzaiolo is fast-casual, Adriani is still placing an emphasis on interior design. “We don’t want it to feel corporate,” he says. To that regard, the space features high ceilings, a lot of white, and mural featuring a couple on Vespa scooters. There’s even a sofa to lounge on near the restaurant’s entrance.
Following what Adriani thinks will soon be a trend, the Local Pizzaiolo is a cashless restaurant. That means, it accepts only credit cards, Google Pay, and Apple Pay forms of payment. “The idea is to simplify operations. Cash can easily be stolen,” he says.
The restaurant’s grand opening event will be held January 23 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The public is invited to enjoy complimentary pizza with a $2 donation (cashless, of course) to the Atlanta Community Food Bank and No Kid Hungry.