Plant Based Pizzeria, which opened in January in the former Rocco’s Pizza on Barnett Street just off of Ponce de Leon Avenue, offers everything from vegan “meat” lovers to Hawaiian pizzas on its menu.
The carry-out-only restaurant on the edge of Virginia-Highland includes the option to build custom pizzas or to order half-and-half flavors. All pizzas come served on a spelt flour or gluten free crust upon request. Those looking for a heftier dough ratio can opt for the calzone version of two pizza flavors — the “Philly” or the “Meat Lovers”.
Since opening last month, Plant Based Pizzeria, owned by Paul Jordan and Marisa Acoff, has served everyone from Atlanta vegans looking for flavorful pizzas to celebrities like Grammy award-winning producer Jermaine Dupri and Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Keri Hilson.
Ponce de Leon Avenue is no stranger to new, healthy, or inventive restaurants. The street’s rapid growth over the last five years has seen several new restaurants open such as fast-casual bowl establishment Gusto!, French-American restaurant Tiny Lou’s at the Hotel Clermont, and Ponce City Market’s food hall. New vegan restaurants are opening across the city, too. Meatless burger food truck sensation Slutty Vegan just opened its full-service restaurant on Ralph David Abernathy in the Westview neighborhood. While the Eastside is booming, Jordan says, the area lacked a pizzeria that cooked with vegans in mind, and not simply as an afterthought with some vegan options on the menu.
For many, veganism is more than another diet fad. It’s a lifestyle. For Jordan, however, becoming a vegan was life changing. Following his mother’s cancer diagnosis, Jordan decided to research the terminal illness and found both the risk factors for and prevention of cancer were linked to food. This prompted him to become a vegan in 2015.
”It was always my passion, since then, to help others transition to a healthier eating style,” Jordan says.
So, when Jordan discovered the empty Rocco’s Pizza property, he jumped at the opportunity to keep the pizza-making equipment in place and open “Atlanta’s first all-vegan pizzeria.” Though he and Acoff have never owned a business before, Jordan’s mother owned a restaurant when he was in high school, introducing him to cooking and to the intricacies of business operations. But, he wanted to blaze his own path.
”I didn’t really want to go the route of the type of food they [his mother’s restaurant] served — the Southern style, heavier food,” Jordan says. “This is a lighter option, so you can pretty much eat half a pizza and still get up and do your daily activities and not be ready to fall into a food coma.”
Though the pizzas and calzones at Plant Based come with higher price tags — anywhere from $16 to $24 each — Jordan says it’s to be expected of vegan options with healthier ingredients. The pizzeria doesn’t use white sugar, white flour, or soy — a personal dietary choice Jordan has infused into the philosophy of his business. Everything is made in-house, except for the vegan cheeses and Beyond Meat products, which are made with pea, fava, and rice proteins.
Running a niche restaurant catering to specific dietary restrictions or preferences comes with challenges, but Jordan sees the rising popularity of vegan eating as an advantage.
”A lot of people who aren’t even vegan are wanting to eat healthier,” he says. “I think it’s the in thing now, to cut back on the [unhealthy] things that we’ve been raised on eating.”
Jordan plans to take his vegan pizzas on the road. He’s launching a Plant Based Pizzeria food truck next month in order to cater events and to serve office complexes around Atlanta.
Take a look at the menu:
The restaurant is currently adding more options to its menu, including raw vegan pizzas, vegan burgers and sandwiches, and vegan desserts.
Open for carry-out Monday - Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.
730 Barnett Street, Atlanta.