• #1 by varasano on 15 Mar 2006
  • Ugh.... The quest for Atlanta pizza is a wasteland.  I just went to these two places, both in Kennesaw, GA, near Atlanta.  I should have gotten some DiGiorno's frozen from the supermarket.

    Bergamos: I saw this on someone's top 10 list, and I was under the impression they had a coal fired oven, but it's a gas deck. The crust was gummy and oily. The sauce overcooked, overspiced, greasy and flat. The cheese was rubbery. A total waste of time.

    My Cousin Vinny's: This place has changed hands and is on it's third owner. They have a beautiful wood oven. The first guys were from New Haven and made a pretty good pie. It was the best in Atlanta at the time (3 years ago). But after a few months, they started to change the recipe and the oven got cooler and cooler. I talked to the guy several times. He insisted that the slower it baked the better and was doing 10-12 minute pies. It went downhill fast and soon changed hands. The next guy, I begged to come to my house and taste my pizza.  I was willing to teach him everything, but he thought his pies were great. I thought he had potential and we got into some good conversations, but he blew off my advice and never tasted my pies and his pies were awful and he went out. Now the 3rd guys are in there.  These guys are the worst of the 3. I saw them spreading the dough. It was dried out and had a little crust on it so that it was dark in color (the raw dough) and cracked when he spread it. He was pounding it into the board and working it so hard just to spread a 13" circle.  I knew I was in trouble. The sauce was totally brown and overcooked and over spiced too.  The crust came out so greasy.  It was a 7-8 minute pie.  It was just TERRIBLE. My buddy had one bite and said we should go. I just ate the runny cheese and left.

    Atlanta Pizza is so sad....

    I'm posting a new thread about my experience with a friend's brick oven.
  • #2 by Randy on 15 Mar 2006
  • Sounds like you should buy the place when he goes under.  The price might be right on a three time loser.

  • #3 by tonymark on 15 Mar 2006
  • Jeff,

    Have you tried Bella's Pizzeria in Smyrna?  I stumbled upon an old review that made it sound good, but havenít driven over there yet.  I'm over at Toco Hills/Decatur, and need some motivation to drive across town.  The review is so outdated, but here is the link anyway:

    I have been going to Shorty's at Toco Hills.  They cook the pizzas in less than 6 minutes in a wood-fired brick oven.  The owner showed me the floor temp at 740 F a few months ago.  There is great charring on top and bottom.  Now the bad news, the dough is very salty and made with ADY and seems a bit lacking.  The hydration seems lower than 60% also.  The dough is definitely not as good as mine, but the pizza comes out fairly decent.  It is the best pizza I can find close to my home (I can walk there in 20 min). I was in there on Friday and they let me watch them make the dough.  They portion at 10 oz for a 14" pizza.  I told them they should try my dough and asked if I could bring some to cook in their oven.  They agreed, but I need to find time during their off peak hours.


  • #4 by varasano on 15 Mar 2006

  • Funny, I just heard about Shorty's for the first time 5 hours ago from a friend.  Must be karma. She said it was good.

    Never heard of Bella's, but it doesn't look worth a trip at all.

    I see that you visited my page. I have a new long post which expains some new ideas on dealing with a variety of rise times and sourdough balance:

    Your photos look promising and you seem to be using a good mixing technique. But I'm guessing no hot oven or good culture? I'm over near Phipps plaza. You are welcome to come get some of Patsy's culture if you want some.

  • #5 by tonymark on 16 Mar 2006

  • Your photos look promising and you seem to be using a good mixing technique. But I'm guessing no hot oven or good culture? I'm over near Phipps plaza. You are welcome to come get some of Patsy's culture if you want some.


    Are you kidding?  I'll take some of your culture.  I have thought about harassing you for some, but I wanted to get my technique right before I took the next step.  I also need a crash-course in sourdough maintenance.  I really should purchase Wood's book. 

    I have been making pizza for about 14 years.  I cracked my first pizza stone on a grill in 1991.  I started my current dough techniques back in December after first finding your site and then finding  I think my biggest problem was hydration.

    As for the oven,  I have a dinosaur MagicChef oven.  (Probably from the 60's or 70's).  It has a broiler drawer in the bottom with no safety cutoff.  I preheat my stone at 475 F for 1 hour and the crank up broiler for 30-45 minutes.  That gets me between 650 and 700 F.  My first pizza is great (6 minutes), then the stone cools and I must wait between pizzas. 

    I also own a Big Green Egg with ceramic pizza stone.  I have made pizzas on the BGE before, but not with proper dough techniques.   I will be moving the pizza making outside soon.  I have never cooked a BGE pizza at 700-800 degrees.  I will have to experiment with my setup.  I will be posting my BGE tests over the summer.  I cannot imagine a 650 F oven in an Atlanta summer.  How do you do it with your 900 F oven?  Open the kitchen windows and crank the AC?

    I really enjoy cooking the winter pizzas inside.  Winter pizza nights are a real ritual of a toasty kitchen with plenty of red wine.

    I will contact you soon about obtaining some culture.  I would also like to pick your brain about ingredients.  Atlanta is a wasteland for good cheese. 

    Thanks for the all the good info.


    P.S.  Shorty's is small and is pretty crowded during Friday and Saturday's peak hours.

  • #6 by varasano on 16 Mar 2006
  • When my oven is at 800F the outside cabinet reads 87.  It's surprisingly well insulated. 

  • #7 by tonymark on 17 Mar 2006
  • Oh yea, I forgot your oven was electric.  My MagicChef range is gas and dumps massive amounts of heat into the kitchen at high temperatures.