Muss & Turner’s partners Ryan Turner, Todd Mussman, and chef Chris Hall are opening their first pizza place on October 14 in Smyrna. MTH Pizza—which stands for Muss-Turner-Hall—will be a casual neighborhood restaurant serving dinner and later on, lunch. The pizza quite doesn’t fall into a traditional category; instead, Mussman calls it “pizza a la Smyrna,” with a high-gluten crust that’s crispier than Neapolitan and thinner than New York-style.
“We’re not trying to have a particular style other than our own,” Hall says. “I started in the business at the Pizza Hut on Collier Road (now DAS BBQ). I worked at Fellini’s and Papa John’s. It’s coming full circle for me.”
Pizzas will be cooked in a brick oven with gas over the dome and electric in the floor. Mussman, Hall, and chef Gregg Baker will use a high-hydration dough with 14 percent protein and minimal yeast. It undergoes three days of cold fermentation. The result is a soft, chewy base with a crispy edge.
MTH Pizza’s menu will feature 10 pizzas that are all 16 inches across. These include Margherita, Funghi (roasted mushrooms), Bianca #5 (ricotta, mozzarella, fontina, and provolone), and Cudduruni (anchovies and onions). There will also be seasonal creations such as We Say Potato, They Say Patata; Clammed If You Do; and the Hell Boy with pepperoni and Calabrian chili. Expect three salads and three antipasti, including burrata with marinated olives and fig, and Sicilian broccoli and cauliflower with lemon and chili flakes. For dessert, there will be cannoli and Voga gelato.
“Our lives have changed. Ryan and Todd now have teenagers,” Hall says. “We want restaurants that we can just pop into and have a kickass meal. We’re all about doing neighborhood places right now.”
As such, MTH is limiting the beverage selection to beer and wine. “If you want a cocktail, we have Eleanor’s 50 yards away,” Turner says.
Beer will come in bottles and cans from Creature Comforts, SweetWater, and Miller, among other breweries. There’s a Reserved list comprised of six “fun pizza wines,” Turner says. Wines by the glass will be available, too.
The 108-seat space will be lively with two community tables and a patio, as well as booths. TVs will display local sports games, and loud music will play. There are three wall murals: One has logos for MTH Pizza, Team Hidi, and the Giving Kitchen—showing support for the late chef Ryan Hidinger, the partners’ friend and former employee.
Another depicts a pineapple with a cross through it. “We’re not fans of pineapple on pizza—or really at all,” Hall explains.
The third is the phrase “I make dough but don’t call me a doughboy,” from Ice Cube’s “Check Yo Self.” It refers to a joke between Mussman and his wife, who lovingly calls him a doughboy.
Don’t expect addition MTH locations to pop up around Atlanta anytime soon. “We’re not in growth mode,” Hall says. “We weren’t looking for an opportunity. We’ve been focusing on strengthening what we have.”