Several weeks back, when we went to Varasano’s Pizzeria, we were talking with the waitress about the state of pizza in Atlanta. She told the story of one of her friends who is a server at Ammazza: It seem that they were both going to a party and each of them was to bring a pizza from where they worked, claiming each was the best in the city. In my mind, this tale spins into a yarn akin to one woven by Scheherazade, but there was, apparently, not a decisive verdict. It was then that I decided, we had to go to Ammazza, which opened in July of 2012. We originally planned to go on Friday evening, but a late evening thundershower deterred us from driving back into the city.
Instead, while running other errands in town, we arrived shortly after they opened (at five pm) on Saturday. Walking in the front door, it is much like Antico –
where you order at the counter, then take a seat and wait on your food. The major difference is that the Ammazza menu is much broader, with sixteen pre-designed pizzas (currently), plus the build-your-own-option as well as a few antipastos (starters). They also have thirty or more beers on tap. But both have canned, or bottled, soft drinks. After deciding while waiting in line, we ordered two 12-inch pizzas. Technically, I ordered two 12-inch pizzas while Jo went around the corner and found us a spot to sit (it was starting to fill up).
There was also outside seating, which we decided against, due to the heat. This turned out to be a prescient decision, as about half way through our pizzas, it began to pour down rain – buckets of rain. Literally. There was actually a bucket in the floor behind our table catching water that was leaking from the edge of the skylight.
When I rounded the corner, behind the kitchen, I found Jo sitting at a table with a clear view of a giant window looking in on the two wood-fired brick ovens.
By 5:45, the place was hopping and there were three people working the pizza ovens full-time: two guys out front making pies and a third whose sole job appeared to be putting the pizzas into the oven on the giant paddles and taking others out. And the delivery was fast – I saw a pizza come off the paddle onto a silver tray, then appear from a door at the side of the kitchen, almost immediately. Our first pizza to come out, after fifteen minutes or so, was the pizza that I ordered for myself – Carne (pepperoni, Italian sausage, bacon, house mozzarella, extra virgin olive oil and basil). Basically a meat-lovers with red sauce on it.
Jo’s pizza arrived shortly thereafter, a Terra –
a white pizza with wild mushrooms, house mozzarella, goat cheese, basil and truffle oil. The crust on the pizzas was very thin, as the pizzas cook for about three minutes in the 900° oven, and were perfectly crispy. They were very good pies and Ammazza is a great addition to the food landscape in the Old Fourth Ward.
For what’s it worth: if you go with a large party, they also have sixteen-inch pies available, but the two twelves left us with two slices of each for later.