First Look: Ammazza, Old Fourth Ward

Brothers Hugh and Jason Connerty opened Ammazza in late September. But the new Italian place in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward already has a strong neighborhood presence and a lively bar scene, bolstered by a concise menu of Neapolitan-style pizzas, plus a few starters and desserts.

The look: The brothers Connerty enlisted architect William Jay George of G6 Design to redo the interior of the vintage brick warehouse space on Edgewood Avenue. Tall windows reveal the pizza kitchen, where chefs work at a pair of wood-burning ovens. The dining room features all the familiar elements of the current urban-rustic style, with reclaimed wood, exposed brick, hefty ceiling beams, and a pair of roughhewn communal tables.

The scene: Ammazza’s fast casual concept calls for ordering at the counter in front and following a long hallway to find a table in back. One recent weeknight, the counter queue was surprisingly short. But the dining room was buzzing. Most of the booths were filled and the bar was crowded with couples sipping wine and cocktails, perched between shiny metal pizza stands.

The menu: The big, crusty 16-inch pies are made with a mix of Italian and local ingredients. Beyond the classic Margherita ($19), you find ten more pizza combos, such as the Inferno ($21) with spicy sopressata, house mozzarella, calabria peppers and basil. Street food-style fried pizzas come with cheese ($14) or sausage, pepperoni and meatballs ($16). Starters include homemade meatballs with red sauce and romano, mozzarella and ricotta cheese ($7) and a mixed field green salad with artichokes, olives, goat cheese and basil dressing ($6). For dessert there’s cannoli ($3) and torta caprese ($6), a flourless chocolate almond cake topped with chocolate ganache.

The drinks: At the bar, look for wine by the glass ($5-$18) or bottle ($18-$32) and on draft by the glass or carafe ($7-$32). The beer list includes locals like Jailhouse Mugshot IPA ($5) and imports like Reissdorf Kolsch ($6). On the modern-meets-classic cocktail list, the Italian 75 ($8) is mixed with St. George Botanivore Gin and Lambrusco.

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The extras: Ammazza’s doors stay open until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, when DJs drive a lounge scene that’s more than likely to get loud, close and frisky.

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