“When I first moved here and I saw this kid, I thought to myself, ‘I couldn’t buy this kid a set of building blocks’ and now I own the whole city block.”
This is just one of my favorite quotes from Giovanni Di Palma, the owner of Antico Pizza in Atlanta, during my conversation with him. Some friends of mine who’d visited the restaurant prior to my visit were raving about the pizza and the atmosphere and I knew I had to go! I love pizza, so whenever I hear of a new place to get an amazing slice I’m always excited to try. I had the pleasure of visiting Antico on August 3rd with some family and friends and to say that I fell in love with not only the pizza but the restaurant itself may be an understatement…
It was a Friday afternoon, approaching 7 p.m. in the city and we arrived to limited parking and a steady stream of customers making their way into an already packed Antico. Initially, when my friends told me about Antico they said it was in the cut of Atlanta and after visiting I completely agree. However, in my opinion, that’s what makes it special, the location. I couldn’t imagine it being anywhere else, the location is perfect, it really just adds to the character of the establishment. As we made our way inside I was instantly intrigued, having never visited a pizza place quite like this one. My cousin and I walked around to look for seating, there wasn’t an empty seat in the house! In keeping with the Italian theme of close-quartered dining, the back was filled with picnic-esque tables and eager Antico connoisseurs. I was really disappointed that we weren’t able to sit in the back simply because you can literally see the pizzas being made and I found that to be rather interesting! Hopefully the next time I visit I’ll get to sit in the back and take in the entire Antico experience.
All right, all right, let me skip to the good part and when I say good part, I actually mean the AMAZING part, the pizza!!!!! I didn’t know what to expect, in fact I had no expectations, but from the moment I laid my eyes on the first Antico pizza I’d ever seen, my senses went into overdrive. My sense of smell was intensified and my eyes were infatuated at the sight of these edible pieces of art, but my sense of taste was the luckiest sense of all on this glorious evening. The pizza was absolutely fantastic, exquisite, delicious, and every other adjective out there that means wonderful! My stomach thanked me, like personally thanked me for visiting Antico. You can’t beat a personal “thank you” from your stomach, you just can’t. Haven’t experienced it before? Well, visit Antico.
Luckily, my friends and I were able to find seating at a table in the front window of the restaurant and the pizza came out quickly and the fact that we devoured it in a matter of minutes should attest to the quality of it. I think my favorite part of the dining experience is that it basically forces you to get down and dirty with the pizza, there are no plates, you simply have to use a paper towel as your plate and for all of you out there who eat pizza using utensils, well prepare to use your hands. I love dining experiences that make you establish a relationship with the food that you’re eating. I’m totally fine with saying that I got up close and personal with my Antico slices. Once I was finished eating I felt instantly and insanely satisfied. It was nice.
Now, my other favorite part of my dining experience at Antico was that I had the opportunity to meet Giovanni Di Palma! He was so nice, welcoming and warm. I was sort of surprised at how willing he was to speak with me. He gave me a quick overview of how Antico came to be, from leaving New York to purchasing a piece of a property in the “hood” of Atlanta and being called crazy for doing so, to being rated the number one pizza place in the country in the Zagat guide to receiving worldwide recognition! Whew, did you catch all of that? Di Palma has become a beacon of accomplishment and all the while looking to expand his brand. He told me that the property across the street from Antico will be turned into a piazza soon! How exciting!! I’m excited to see Antico grow and more excited for my next visit to this wonderful establishment.
Also, for the record, Giovanni Di Palma is officially the nicest millionaire I know, and if I’m completely honest one of the only millionaires I know, but still the nicest nonetheless. Not sure if he’ll ever read this write up on Antico, but if he does, I really appreciate your authenticity and willingness to take time to speak with me, it meant a lot and was extremely inspirational and motivational. Grazie Mille!!
God speed Antico, God speed!!!
Antico Pizza Napoletana
1093 Hemphill Ave
Atlanta, GA 30318