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Alpine Bakery dining review, Alpharetta

$$

$$

For the first time in my life, a 20-minute wait to be seated for dinner is entirely too short.

As the hostess calls my name, I sadly peel my face from the glass case holding Alpine Bakery’s mesmerizing selection of cakes, pies, and pastries and sulk to my table. I feel like a child being called in to supper from the playing in the yard. I’m hungry, I know that I need to eat, but I’m not done having fun yet.

Partners Bill Clementi and Steve Bishop started Alpine as a wholesale bakery over 15 years ago, eventually opening their first retail shop in 2004. With their recent move to a much larger location in Alpharetta, they have grown the once quaint bakery and take-out pizza joint into a full-service Italian restaurant.

Review by Jon Watson

Review by Jon Watson

Though most long-time fans of Alpine will hardly recognize the place, the pizza and stromboli have not changed a bit. The traditional stromboli ($10), a 2-pound torpedo of cheese, pepperoni and Italian sausage, served with house-made marinara sauce, remains one of the best in town. Clementi, a native of Long Island, bakes New York-style pizza in 14-inch or 18-inch ($11/$14) pies in large, foldable slices on a usually crispy crust. But the high quality toppings ($1.50 each) are the real star of the pies, particularly the thinly sliced Italian sausage.

The take-out pizzeria side of the business built a fiercely loyal following, whose demands for proper seating ultimately lead to Clementi and Bishop’s decision to expand. However, the Italian menu cooked up by new executive chef Jerry Fulwider gives their popular pizza a run for its money.

Don't skip dessert, such as this Paris Brest pastry (photo by Becky Stein)

Don't skip dessert, such as this Paris Brest pastry (photo by Becky Stein)

The crab carbonara ($19) — spaghetti with jumbo lump crab, Parmesan, pancetta, and cream sauce — arrives cooked to a perfect al dente. Bites of crispy prosciutto add a satisfying layer of savory flavor to the penne, shrimp, chicken, and gratinata sauce of the Alpine rustica ($13).

Don’t let a night at Alpine Bakery pass you by without trying the daily selection of hand-rolled gnocchi (at market price). My dish, a rosemary gnocchi with a roasted garlic cream sauce, could square off against any that I’ve tasted. Though I can’t speak to what flavors you may find on your visit, Fulwider’s flawless technique yields gnocchi as it is meant to be: light, pillowy dumplings that dissolve against the roof of your mouth.

Every trip to Alpine Bakery seems to end where it began — staring into that magnificent display of sweets. The options are too many to name, but my favorites include the red velvet cake ($34-$70 whole or $7 per slice), snickerdoodle cookie ($11 per pound) and the classically prepared cannolis ($2.95). Whatever your sweet tooth craves, they have you covered.

Though the drive may intimidate those living far away, Alpine Bakery has evolved into one of the better destinations for Italian fare, whether in or outside of the city. Bring your appetite or plan to haul home a doggie bag, because the portions are anything but skimpy.

But whatever you do, make sure that you save room for dessert.

Alpine Bakery and Trattoria
12315 Crabapple Road, Alpharetta
3stars5
Food: Pizza, pasta, Italian entrees and a vast and varied full-service bakery
Service: Friendly, but the majority of the staff is still relatively new and has a few kinks to work out
Best dishes: The daily gnocchi, stromboli, N.Y.-style pizza and anything from the bakery
Vegetarian selection: Though most entrees include some form of meat, there are over 14 vegetarian toppings for the pizzas or stromboli and a selection of salads
Credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express
Hours: Lunch: 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays. Dinner: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sundays. Bakery: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Mondays- Thursdays, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sundays.
Children: Fine
Parking: Ample
Reservations: No
Wheelchair access: Yes
Smoking: No
Noise level: Low to moderate
Patio: No
Takeout: Yes
RatingsKey_3

13 comments Add your comment

Lee at rootsinalpharetta.com

December 31st, 2010
9:16 am

Cool review. What I found most interesting was how the pizza and stromboli were featured on the menu (or were NOT featured). It literally says “Also available, Pizza, Stromboli”. Many consider Alpine to have the best NY Style pizza in the northern burbs, yet they hardly get a mention on the menu. Fascinating.

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Greg

January 1st, 2011
1:08 pm

hey Lee, As an employee at alpine, i believe that the reason the pizza is not the main focus on the menu, is that the restaraunt wants people to notice all the other dishes they now feature. The pizza is still the best in town but alpine wants everyone to try other dishes besides just the pizza now. The restaraunts food is delicious!

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JimmyD

January 2nd, 2011
8:14 pm

We’ve been fans of Alpine for a while, and LOVE it. I think it’s worth mentioning that the 7 dollar “slice” of cake is actually big enought that we bring it home, split it among four people, and it’s more than adequate.

For my birthday, I think I’m going to tell my wife to forget the presents, just get a million dollar chocolate cake from there instead….it’s astounding.

Kev

January 2nd, 2011
8:41 pm

That Paris Brest pastry looks amazing.

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FoodieChick

January 5th, 2011
12:12 pm

Wow, 20 minutes? Unless you go super-early, the wait is usually much longer. Glad you got in. Every meal I’ve had there has been great.

Ease® in Woodstock

January 5th, 2011
12:13 pm

Does anyone know if there are any Gluten-Free options?

Kenneth Kurtz

January 5th, 2011
12:49 pm

The atmosphere is great, and the baked goods a virtual carnival to the eye.
We saw the stromboli that others ordered and wished we had done the same. I had the veal parmigiana and my guest the “spicy” shrimp. HUGE portions on both, and the shrimp were JUMBO; however the sauce on my pasta was bland and lacked zest. The SPICY shrimp was also bland, and not spicy at all. We split a pastry sampler plate for desert, and it was a fantastic array presented beautifully.

Debra Ferros

January 5th, 2011
2:40 pm

Good day, I recently visited Alpine Bakery to dine. Been going for years to the bakery which I adore. The pizza not so much and I’m from NYC. Don’t think it to be very good at all. My opinion. The food..I ate the chicken parma was ok but certainly not the best I’ve had. Much better is at Casa Nuevo up Hwy 9. No comparison. Also, I agree with the review here regarding service. They need training…the server had the gall to argue with me that I had ordered another wine than what she had served me. Wine also cost $12 a glass vs $9 a glass which honestly is a bit steep in a pizza joint. The caesar salad was forgettable. Dressing out of a jar which was tasteless and bacon bits? On a caesar salad and worse yet out of a jar. Plus it was $8 I think. WHere are we? Buckhead? Come on now get realistic in these tough times people are watching what they pay for when it comes to dining out. Give diners what they deserve. A decent meal at a decent price. I eat out all the time and at the top places all over town. Don’t think Alpine is worth their prices they are commanding. The bakery…another story. The restaurant…needs improvement…again…my opinion. And by the way…tell the servers to not argue with a customer. I know what glass of wine I ordered and so did my fellow dining guest. Pretty darn rude if you ask me.

Barry Blakely

January 5th, 2011
4:24 pm

My son-in-law’s mom lives right around the corner from Alpine and thus we’ve been there several times to eat and have been getting cakes & other assorted bakery items for awhile. No complaints on the cakes, etc…not cheap, but very good.

My favorite pizza is from Capozzi’s New York Pizza in Marietta in the Sears Shopping Center at Roswell Rd (120) and Johnson Ferry…but Alpines comes in a very close second. It might not be New York City First or Second Place, but for the metro area, it’s pretty darn good.

Dolores Mahler

January 5th, 2011
8:57 pm

We’re from Long Island, NY..we love the pizza! Only pizza we have found to taste like NY..and by the way, there are many versions of New York pizza. Some say the best comes from Brooklyn, we say Frankie’s in Farmingdale, so it’s all a matter of taste. Dinner is a treat for the eye as well as the senses. Veal Saltimbocca, Linquini with clams (my husband’s favorite), veal parm, and the lasagna is a dream. I love the fact that we can have dinner and a conversation. Most places have high ceilings, no sound proofing and you can’t hear yourself think much less have a conversation. The decor is lovely and much thought has gone into making it a lovely experience. The big problem is the fact that they do not take reservations and the wait can be up to an hour. It doesn’t matter what night of the week, there is always a major crowd and believe it or not, very few people leave. The bakery is a whole other world and one slice can feed three people, unless your my grandson. The Red Velvet is the best ever. Alpine is a gem!