Alex and Jennifer Aton are bringing a second location of their popular Summerhill pizzeria, Junior’s Pizza, to Hapeville. Part of a new development taking shape along North Central Avenue, the Atons expect to open the Hapeville location some time next spring.
As in Summerhill, the Hapeville pizzeria will serve a variety of pizza styles, including giant slices, cup and char pepperoni pizzas often found in New York, vegan pies, and deep dish Sicilian pizzas.
The couple founded Junior’s Pizza in 2017 as a monthly pop-up serving pizzas from the parking lot at Highland Row Antiques in Atlanta’s Poncey-Highland neighborhood. Realizing they couldn’t keep the pizzas hot, the Atons shifted to selling their pizzas online, announcing sale dates and taking orders on Instagram.
Alex baked pizzas using the oven in their small apartment. Jennifer ran operations and delivered pizzas to customers throughout Atlanta. They quickly amassed an underground following.
“When we started out of the apartment, we had a couple people in Hapeville/East Point that I would deliver to,” Jennifer says. “Once I started delivering down there, I made Alex come check it out and I told him it would be the next big thing.”
With no spaces available in Hapeville at the time in 2018, the Atons settled on Summerhill and the burgeoning restaurant row emerging along Georgia Avenue in the neighborhood. Junior’s Pizza opened a year later. But the couple say they kept plans to open a Hapeville location on the back burner until both the timing and space were right.
“Considering we started the whole thing with two full-time jobs, me doing hair in our kitchen, and a kid, the only way we know how to live is to do too much at once,” Jennifer says. “If we can make it with only seven pre-Covid months, we think we’ve proven that our pizza is good and our concept is sustainable enough to have two locations.”
“We have the most amazing customers and their support, through everything, from the apartment to our shut-downs, has gotten us through the toughest times.”
397 North Central Avenue, Hapeville. juniorspizzaatl.com.