Matt and Emily Hyland fell in love while sharing a pizza, then built their life together around red-and-white pies. They opened Pizza Loves Emily, serving artisanal, hand-stretched pizzas, in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 2014 with Matt as executive chef. Since then, they’ve expanded their empire with a West Village location, as well as 10-plus locations of their Detroit-style offshoot, Emmy Squared. The first Georgia location opened last week in Glenwood Park in the space formerly home to the Shed at Glenwood (475 Bill Kennedy Way Southeast).
“Atlanta is a great Southern city,” Emily Hyland says. “We value being a neighborhood spot, having regulars who our staff know.”
Emmy Squared offers a selection of appetizers, salads, and sandwiches (think chicken parm), but the primary focus is square-shaped pizza with a crispy, fried, cheesy crust called frico. It’s cooked in a convection oven, rather than a wood-fired oven like that at Pizza Loves Emily.
“This gives us more ability to do quality control and create consistency,” Hyland says.
The pizzas are all 8-by-10 inches with six thick slices that easily feed two people. Options include a Margarita and a Classic (just sauce and cheese), as well as the fan-favorite Colony2 with pepperoni, pickled jalapenos, and honey. White pie varieties include the Emmy (banana peppers, red onion, and ranch), and Hot Chicken (Nashville hot chicken, ‘Bama white sauce, and chopped pickles). Though the majority of the menu is standardized across Emmy Squared locations, there is a Shed Pie variety with fried green tomatoes that pays tribute to the Atlanta spot’s origins.
There’s also a burger that originated as a staff meal at the first Pizza Loves Emily. Dubbed Le Big Matt, it’s double-stacked grass-fed beef patties, American cheese, greens, pickles, and the tangy, sweet, and sour Sammy Sauce, all on a pretzel bun.
“We’re an American restaurant, so we like burgers and pizza. It’s the ultimate American nostalgia,” Hyland says.
And what better to pair with American nostalgia than beer? Emmy Squared has 15 beers on tap, including local flavors from Scofflaw, SweetWater, New Realm, Orpheus, Creature Comforts, and Terrapin.
General manager Steven Trager (from Ray’s Restaurants) is leading the bar program, using his wine expertise to offer pizza-friendly varietals by the glass and the bottle. There’s also a cocktail menu with seasonal drinks like the Spring It On (gin, lemon juice, dried lavender petals, and lavender sprigs).
Emmy Squared seats 118 diners inside, plus another 46 on a dog-friendly patio. Hyland describes the space as “clean, simple, open, and warm” with high ceilings. The restaurant is currently serving dinner only, with expanded hours planned for the future.