Late next month, Michel Arnette, owner of Haven and Valenza, will open a Neapolitan pizzeria called Vero. Located on Dresden Drive in Brookhaven, Vero will be led by Valenza’s executive chef Matt Swickerath and offer small plates, salads, and pizzas made with ingredients sourced from Naples.
“Vero is Italian for ‘true,’ Arnette says. “It’s about this style of pizza making—we want it to be true to the region of Campania in Naples.”
He and his wife traveled to Campania three years ago and visited the original Neopolitan pizzeria, called Antico. They hope to recreate the experience with a custom dough room, a 6,800-pound, wood-burning pizza oven, and traditional ingredients like filtered water, 00 flour, and San Marzano tomatoes. “It’s some of the lightest pizza you could ever eat,” he says.
Vero will serve eight, 14-inch pizzas with an option to build your own. His seasonally driven menu includes a clam pizza, as well as one with buffalo mozzarella, caciocavallo cheese, and chiles. “The pizza dough is thin, but it’s not real cracker-y,” Swickerath says. “We’re using biga, a sourdough starter, to give it more air, more chew, and more flavor.”
He also plans to offer local and imported salumi, including Spotted Trotter pepperoni and formaggi. There will be two or three salads, as well as small plates like beef cheek ragu on mascarpone polenta, roasted cauliflower with pine nuts and salsa verde, and house-made beef sausage with peppadew peppers and spring onions. Beer and wine will also be available.
Diners will place orders at the counter, but the wait staff will deliver food and take additional orders throughout the meal. Although there is a dining room, Arnette believes the most popular seats will be at the pizza bar, where diners can watch the pizza-makers in action.
Arnette is particularly excited about the pizza oven. So much so that he’s hosting an unveiling party with complimentary champagne Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The 1,300-square-foot space is still under construction, so attendees will have to imagine the “rustic Italian countryside” décor with Italian wine barrel light fixtures, 200-year-old European arched windows, and select nautical features.
Arnette is also working on opening the Royal, an American diner, in Chamblee in March.