Anthony Spina, the man behind O4W Pizza and its popular Grandma Pie, departed the kitchen team last week at Eastside Beltline restaurant Nina and Rafi — the Detroit-style pizza joint he co-owns with Billy Streck (Hampton and Hudson, Lyla Lila). According to Atlanta magazine, Spina claims he was “forced out of the creative process” and can no longer stand behind the quality of the pizzas served at Nina and Rafi.
“I regret to inform my loyal supporters and all that enjoy my pizza, that my pizza is no longer available at Nina & Rafi. While I continue to hold ownership in the company, I have been forced out of the creative process in the kitchen and told that my services are no longer needed,” Spina says in a prepared statement. “With that being said, I no longer stand behind the quality of the product at Nina & Rafi.”
Spina declined to provide further details to Eater when contacted regarding the reason for his split with Nina and Rafi, citing legal constraints.
Despite Spina’s departure from the kitchen at the pizzeria, Streck says the menu at Nina and Rafi remains the same. He does plan to add a few new dishes to the menu, including an Italian grinder. Streck also says to expect a “fun local collaboration” soon, which sources indicate could be with Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q.
“We wish Anthony nothing but the best. We’re continuing to offer the same menu of pizzas the restaurant has become known for, with a few fun new additions we’ll announce soon,” Streck says in a statement. “Our team is so grateful for the warm reception Atlanta has given Nina & Rafi, and we can’t wait to serve the neighborhood for years to come.”
Spina and Streck named Nina and Rafi for their grandmothers. The menu features a selection of Detroit-style pizzas and a twist on Spina’s signature Grandma Pie he created for O4W Pizza, which now resides in Duluth. O4W Pizza’s square-shaped, margherita-style pie is topped with garlic, marinara, mozzarella, extra-virgin olive oil, pecorino, and fresh basil.
Eater reached out to representatives for Nina and Rafi for details and comment on Spina’s departure.
As for Spina’s upcoming Virginia-Highland restaurant Pizza by the Slice, he tells Eater it should open by mid- to late-February in the VA-HI building, also home to Paolo’s Gelato and future butchery and sundries shop Kinship. Pizza by the Slice serves subs and Spina’s Jersey-style thin crust pizzas, along with Detroit- and Sicilian-style slices and pies. Spina’s pizza food truck starts rolling in Atlanta next month.