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Pizza Chronicles: Varasano’s Pizzeria at the airport, Slice & Pint

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When the good food gods bestow a blessing when you least expect it, look up and thank the stars.

We had arrived uncharacteristically early for a flight on Concourse A. We were starving, looked with trepidation at the food court and — lo! — Varasano’s Pizzeria was open for business. The dining space hugs the rear windows, built around a piano bar. The piano must have been a good idea in concept (carve out a little aural as well as physical space from the food court), but we weren’t exactly humming along to the tunes amidst the concourse cacophony .

IMG_9049No matter. The pizza is good. Not as good as the pizza at the original Varasano’s, but far better than just about anything you can eat in an airport. The head pizzaiolo spent two years working at Varasano’s before coming here, and he and his crew turn out crusts that are airy, tangy, gorgeously puffed and delicately charred. You will find all the signature flavors, including the Nucci (left) with its irresistibly sharp mixture of Emmenthaler cheese, olives, capicola and arugula. The Nana’s, with its herbed San Marzano tomato sauce was also quite good. The pizzas come in a snap, and there’s a small but quality selection of draft and bottled beers on hand.

By the way, you can order at the counter to eat in the food court or make your seat mate insanely jealous, or you can look for someone to seat you in the restaurant. If you have a few minutes, take a load off.

IMG_9136I was less impressed with my first visit to Slice & Pint, the the restaurant that spiffed up the old Everybody’s Pizza space in Emory Village. Come January, it will begin brewing its own beers in house, but it has gotten its liquor license after a long delay. Hallelujah, there is cold beer here.

The kitchen has a commendable commitment to using local, organic and natural products, and the menu features witty add-ons such as homemade Tater Tots as well as an appealing list of daily specials. The pizzas range from pepperoni, to Thai green curry to Riverview Farms “Swine Pie.”

It all sounds fun, but in practice comes off a little too DIY.

The White Pizza (right) was, well, your basic gut bomb, loaded with mozz, provolone, feta, parmesan and honking cloves of roasted garlic. It might have been tasty in an over-the-top way had it not been sitting on top of a gummy crust.

Another pie featured lots of delicious sliced pepperoni from Heywood’s Provision Company in Marietta but suffered from that same high-gravity crust.

We tried a couple of non-pizza snacks, including a tacky, chunky white bean dip that tasted harsh with rosemary and garlic and came with cold pizza dough wedges. I was happy to see a cremini mushroom soup on the specials list, but it had a weird, dusty flavor — maybe dried dill? Not a fan.

Let’s go back when the brewery opens and see what’s what.

- by John Kessler for the Food & More blog

10 comments Add your comment

Road Scholar

December 5th, 2013
12:03 pm

It sucks! I want Everybodies back! Ate there for 43 years! Best pizza in town! Or at least it was…

Road Scholar

December 5th, 2013
12:04 pm

Oh and the Parmesan dressing….oh my!

Best Italian Sausage also!

Can you get any recipes?

TEA PARTY MEBER

December 5th, 2013
10:04 pm

Pappa John is the best

Veteran Observer

December 5th, 2013
10:59 pm

I have been looking for the last 15 years in Atlanta for real Italian sausage, seasoned properly and not spicy (hot)! Can anyone point me in the right direction? Everyone uses the processed stuff that the major chains use which is disgusting or a very hot sausage that belongs in a Cajun restaurant!

Ed

December 6th, 2013
5:28 am

VO,

Go the corner of 14th/piedmont and ask for Tony.

GSUEagle

December 6th, 2013
9:35 am

I have been to Slice & Pint several times. The meals have ranged from very good to just okay. Same with service. They seem to be a little hit or miss, but will hopefully get it together and be more consistent. I’ll keep going back and look forward to when they start brewing.

Chicken Little

December 6th, 2013
2:05 pm

Dang it, Ed. You beat me to it. LOL.

Typical Redneck

December 6th, 2013
2:19 pm

V O,
Order some online from Usingers. Phenomenal.

TR

Baltisraul.....

December 6th, 2013
3:35 pm

VO, don’t ask for Tony, his sausage did not pass inspection, if you know what I mean!!!!

TEA PARTY MEBER

December 7th, 2013
10:06 pm

Domanos is good 2