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A Taste of Don Antonio by Starita in Buckhead

pie

At a get-together last week at their new Don Antonio by Starita in Buckhead, renowned Neapolitan pizza maestros Roberto Caporuscio and Antonio Starita were busy serving up wood-fired and fried bites for friends and media, including samples of their signature Montanara Starita — a flash-fried dough delicacy that’s topped with secret Starita tomato sauce and smoked Buffalo mozzarella before it’s quick-fired.

The la dolce vita scene was loud and festive, but the hardworking duo mainly stuck by the kitchen, occasionally emerging to deliver a pie or offer a greeting heavily accented in Italian.

How Caporuscio and his Neapolitan mentor Starita decided to land a spin-off of their New York City hot spot in the former STG Trattoria space on West Paces Ferry Road had much to do with Bocado and STG owner Brian Lewis, who now owns a part of the Don Antonio Buckhead operation.

Before Lewis opened STG in April 2012, he traveled to New York to learn how to make Neapolitan-style pizzas from Caporuscio, who serves as the US president of the Association of Neapolitan Pizza Makers.

“We maintained a relationship after that,” Lewis said. “I went back to New York for several visits and we kept in touch. This past summer when we were at the James Beard House cooking, Roberto came to our dinner and we started talking about this partnership and Don Antonio taking over STG and opening here in Atlanta.”

Lewis seemed to enjoy watching Caporuscio and Starita spin their magic as he moved among the crowd, acting as the Atlanta ambassador for the Don Antonio brand.

“They are two super kind, humble, gentle guys,” Lewis said. “Antonio still works making pizza at his  restaurant in Naples. Roberto and Antonio and Roberto’s daughter Georgia will be the face of the restaurant here. One of them will always be here. My role is more as an advisor for the Atlanta market.”

The book-like, lavishly illustrated Don Antonio menu includes antipasti, salads and panini, which is served only at lunch. The rest is all pizza, with 50-plus varieties and styles, including filled and fried, red, white and specialty pies, and a surprisingly large gluten free section.

oldfashion
Like everything else, the beer, wine and cocktail lists mimic what’s offered at Don Antonio by Starita in New York City. One notable concoction imported from New York is the big and boozy Italian Old Fashioned, made with Macallan 12 scotch, barrel-aged bitters, and a brown sugar cube, topped with Lurisia Chinotto soda.

“They’re trying to have everything as close as possible to what you would experience in New York,” Lewis said. “But really, this is a very simple rustic pizzeria. It’s not flashy. It’s just the way it should be done.”

— By Bob Townsend, AJC Food and More blog.

21 comments Add your comment

Ned Ludd

January 29th, 2014
6:58 pm

Did we ever find out why STG really closed?

wooleybare

January 29th, 2014
9:54 pm

given address is not pulling up website.

General Beringer

January 30th, 2014
12:41 am

wooleybare,

The link given in the article mistakenly has a period at the end of it. Delete that period at the end and it works. http://donantoniopizza.com

btownsend

January 30th, 2014
7:29 am

Ned – STG closed for remodeling to make way for Don Antonio.

wooleybare and General – Link fixed now. Thanks!

BT

Jim Durrett

January 30th, 2014
11:12 am

I have eaten here twice and every item that was ordered was delicious, especially the Montanara!

Jules

January 30th, 2014
2:23 pm

I checked their website and I see them making a gigantic mistake right off the bat. Their menu is too complex with way to many to many items and choices. If I went there it would take me 20 minutes just to decide what to order and that is not a good thing. Several of the items I have seen are way too similar and redundant. Haven’t we learned a lesson from A.ntico yet? Simple is king. It minimizes costs and allow places to offer a few items of exceptional quality. Places like this are a reflection of the mentality in Buckhead. That’s why there will never be a restaurant in that area that will ever make a splash

Ned Ludd

January 30th, 2014
2:57 pm

Well said Jules—Sounds like my impression of STG—Concept faltered and after a very short length of operation they ‘remodeled’. Simplicity is indeed a superior option. Hope they do well, will go this weekend. Quite simply it is very difficult to be good at each dish when so many are offered.

bongostella

January 31st, 2014
6:56 am

thank you Jules for you insightful observance in studying a website and determining what is and what is not. Please tell us about your restaurant, your skills in the kitchen, and how we can all be enlightened by your opinions… and mr. luddite, as usual, your response is somewhat underwhelming.

Both of you please note, I am a 57 year old native that has no connection what so ever with the industry. Just find your keyboard comments amusing…i mean after all, stacy’s mom has got it going on…

Baltisraul....

January 31st, 2014
8:26 am

Grasshopper

January 31st, 2014
8:51 am

Yay. More pizza. Lord knows Atlanta doesn’t have enough pizza joints.

art

January 31st, 2014
9:09 am

I like Ned too! And… I think Jules comments are “spot on”.

Chubb Rocker in Lithonia

January 31st, 2014
10:52 am

Pizza Hut is the best!!!
I luv ther wengz!!!!

Jules

January 31st, 2014
11:09 am

At Mr Bongo. Based on knee jerked reaction, doesn’t sound like you have no vested interest in the venue here in review since it is obvious that simple well expressed opinion has stroked a nerve.

My restaurant experience is irrelevant to this conversation. My comments come from the point of view of a diner that has seen his fare share of “flavor of the moment” restaurants come and go. The few successful restaurants that have menage to survive the test of time remaining profitable have done so by carefully controlling costs while still providing a product that meets the quality standards of the audience they aim to satisfy. I wish this new venue the best of luck. I really do and couldn’t hope more to be wrong. As a matter of fact I will be probably visit it soon to get a taste for myself.

Ned Ludd

January 31st, 2014
12:20 pm

My apologies to you, BS, for underwhelming. I just think it should be about the food. Unfortunately sometimes the intangibles rule.As you well know Sandy’s and McDonalds had the same fries. Sandy’s is long gone, Micky D’s continues to McMultiply. You tell us why. It just seems as STG and so many places were, like a Platypus, designed by committee. All the parts are there but don’t all compliment each other. Never did get that weird wired wine list STG had. Too often we are offered what someone wants us to want, rather than asking us what we want and presenting it. Yum Bunz had a great idea. Unfortunately they put the concept and marketing ahead of the food. Immaculately designed and staged interior, cute menus and uniforms, just what a hired third party would offer. Looks like a picture out of a book, and by the way, lets make the food elsewhere and bring it here to heat and serve, maybe no one will notice. Sorry, that ain’t gonna work. Would rather have good food in a Buford Hwy. hole in he wall.

Ned Ludd

January 31st, 2014
12:39 pm

Can’t wait to visit Zach and Christina at Better Half—Stuffed Penguin sounds like my type of decor and without a doubt their primary emphasis is on the food.

Jules

January 31st, 2014
1:01 pm

Thanks for the suggestion Ned. I just checked them on Yelp and food looks terrific. I just add them on my list of places to visit. Looks like I will end up there long before I visit Don Antonio :)

good sandwich

January 31st, 2014
1:33 pm

Fritt’s menu is just about as long and they don’t seem to have any trouble. Looking forward to tryng this new place.

Jules

January 31st, 2014
2:14 pm

Friiti is hardly the best pizza out there. It’s decent, but nothing to rave about. And the same can be said for any item on their menu and I tried almost all of them. They offer variety at the expense of quality If this place is another Fritti, thank you, but no thank you. There is plenty of places like that already.

Chubb Rocker in Lithonia

January 31st, 2014
2:25 pm

Uh-humm!! I SAID . . . Pizza Hut is best.
I will not be ignored.
If the menu is not presented as photos Ill have to go elsewhere. I cannot be bothered to read through a list of items with multiple ingredients. Where I come from the only thing that comes on a pizza is toppings. We don’t need a bunch of big words distracting us when we’re trying to eat. Come on, people, is it that hard?

Baltisraul....

February 1st, 2014
2:09 pm

Chubb, nobody was trying to confuse you w/ big words. That would be rude and insensitive to people like yourself. So glad Publix still hires special people. Best baggers ever!

art

February 1st, 2014
4:39 pm

Owned! Sorry Publix!!