After getting word of a new pizza spot right around the corner from me, I immediately set out to try the joint tonight. Frankly the restaurant business is tough enough, but with a current pizza war (trailing only the burger war in growing restaurant numbers) going on in Atlanta, opening another pizza restaurant is a ballsy endeavor. Especially with pizza perfectionists, Antico Pizza, on the scene.
Vesuvius is located on Edgewood Avenue in the spot that formerly housed The Bureau. It's only been open for a week and isn't quite a well-oiled machine quite yet. In fact, they don’t even have a sign up. Right now, it's really just a long bar and about 8 or so 4-top tables. Additionally, they're only accepting cash for the time being. Vesuvius is still building some extra seating and while they are delivering (free), they are still setting up their radius.
I spoke with the pizzaiola for a bit while admiring their wood burning oven. He said that this oven is most similar to that of Sotto Sotto, and they run it at about 600 degrees normally and sometimes hit about 800 degrees for the larger pies. This blistering heat machine was made in Milan but was actually purchased from Shorty's when they updated their current one. The oven really creates a nice texture to the pie, both charred and roasted well. Additionally, it only took about 3 minutes for my pizzas to cook.
Pizzeria Vesuvias makes quite a bit of the less traditional, specialty pies so I opted for two of those. The Mauna Loa is their take on a Hawaiian – consisting of pineapple, applewood-smoked bacon, house-smoked ham, fresh tomato sauce, and mozzarella. This pizza is just OK. None of the ingredients’ flavor shows up distinctly and each bite leaves you longing for a stronger profile. Also, while the ham and bacon was plentiful, the pineapple was kept to a minimum only allowing for maybe one or two pieces per slice.The second pie was the Fuji. Consisting of roast pork, hoisin, cabbage, caramelized onion, chili flake, and scallion this pie was a winner. The pork was wonderfully tender and all of the other ingredients played off one another in a manner that doesn’t happen often on even the most creative of pizzas.
The crusts have a wonderful crispy, charred exterior but plenty of interior chew and pull to them. All of this I have to attribute to their beautiful oven. While the texture is perfect, the dough doesn’t have very much flavor. I feel like a little bit of salt could go a long way and really make their dough craveable.
Collectively, I really enjoyed the Vesuvias’s offerings and the price is right too. A medium pie runs around 10 or 11 bucks while a large will set you back 15 dollars - a very fair price for a very decent pizza. This is not Neapolitan pizza so there is no point in comparing it to Antico. OK I will, it’s not as good. But I’m glad it’s in the neighborhood as it gives me a very quick and tasty reason not to head back to Hemphill.