Fresh on the Scene: Varuni Napoli, Dish, Mix’d Up Burgers, Whiskey Bird

Get an early look at what’s new for Atlanta’s food scene
Varuni Napoli
Varuni Napoli sells the best cannoli in town.

Photograph by Caroline C. Kilgore

Varuni Napoli
From the counter seats at Luca Varuni’s new spot in Krog Street Market, it’s impossible to miss the robin’s egg blue wood-burning oven, emblazoned with red letters spelling out the restaurant’s name like a soccer team jersey. Unlike the flagship in Morningside, this newcomer doesn’t offer pasta, the list of pizzas is smaller, and the pies themselves are smaller, too (12 inches versus 14). The best thing on the menu is a specialty only served at this location: the fried pizza stuffed with spicy spreadable pork sausage, pepperoni, mozzarella, Pecorino Romano, and mushrooms. The tender crust puffs dramatically, and the toppings meld together almost like the innards of a calzone. 99 Krog Street, 404-500-5550

It is the rare Korean restaurant that opens ITP, especially one that mixes classic and contemporary cuisine in a thoroughly attractive package. On owner Hann Lee’s menu, beloved traditional seafood pancakes and kimchi stew meet the likes of a juicy short rib burger with shredded cabbage and a flour tortilla bibimbap burrito. 5000 Buford Highway, 470-299-8886

Mix’d Up Burgers
Most know Brett Eanes as the owner of a small fleet of food trucks he describes as the “Hard Rock Cafe on wheels” and a drive-thru in Grant Park, but he’s transitioned to a full-on burger bar on a hot corner of East Lake. Skip the weak salads and go for a full gut-busting meal: Order the “Pile,” a giant Angus beef burger on top of Buffalo sauced cheesy fries. 2371 Hosea L. Williams Drive, 404-343-0394

Whiskey Bird
Chad Crete, formerly the executive chef at Iberian Pig in Decatur, has opened a new restaurant in Morningside. The concept: small plates with an Asian accent, plus a whiskey-focused bar. The menu does list a few entrees, but customers are encouraged to spend their time noshing on yakitori skewers (crispy meatballs or sweet peppers stuffed with chorizo) and a variety of sliders served on steamed bao buns. 1409 North Highland Avenue, 404-600-5797