Named after the Italian slang expressing amazement or astonishment, Ammazza pizza will open next month on Edgewood. Here, Jason Connerty, who owns the restaurant with his brother Hugh Connerty, gets real about the notion that Ammazza is a copy of Antico, what makes glitter pizza, and why anyone would want to fry spaghetti.
How will you differentiate Ammazza from Antico, Fuoco, STG and other local pizza spots?
Well, we are not going to be following any VPN rules for one. Most of the Naples-inspired pizza spots insist on using ingredients from Naples. We are not going to do that. We are going to let our taste buds and senses dictate what products we buy, not a geographical location. This means we can do things like use local meats and produce, pull our own mozzarella, etc. So while we will be using things like wood-burning ovens and double zero flour, we won’t be limiting ourselves to only Italian ingredients.
What's your food background? Why did you decide to open a restaurant?
Well, I really grew up in the foodservice industry. I can remember being a kid of maybe 8-9 years old and hanging out at my dad's bakery. I've worked just about every position that you can in a restaurant ? from server to dishwasher to chef to general manager. It's in the blood and it’s something that I love.
In your opinion, what makes a really great pizza?
Fresh, quality ingredients. Pizza is simple, meaning that there are not a ton of ingredients that go into making a pie. Take dough as an example. It's four things: water, yeast, flour and salt. Same with sauce: tomatoes, olive oil and herbs. Very simple, very rustic. But that simplicity means that each ingredient is on center stage. If you bring under-ripe tomatoes to the party, your pizza is going to fall flat.
You were once associated with the company that owned the development rights to Antico. That seems to add another layer to the "pizza wars" going on in Atlanta. Thoughts?
Yes, I was briefly involved with Antico for about 7-8 months. As to "pizza wars," Atlanta is a big place and there is plenty of room for pizza. To be honest, I'm really not concerned with what other pizza places are doing. My focus is on Ammazza. I am doing everything in my power to make it something special.
What exactly is fried spaghetti and why would anyone want it?
It's spaghetti on the outside with meat and sauce in the middle, fried. In Italy, It is made with leftover ragu and pasta. You would want to eat it because it is tasty goodness!
Any plans for a food truck, given that you'll be serving "Italian street food-inspired dishes"?
No, not at the moment, but we have discussed this on a few occasions. Soooooo maybe in the future.
What's up with the glitter pizza?
Kids like pizza. Kids like glitter. So we thought why not marry the two and create something fun! It is simply a cheese pizza finished with edible glitter. This was my wife Stacie's idea actually. It was inspired by having to come up with stuff our three kids will all eat. Glitter pizza was a hit!
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