Enrico Liberato, the piazzaiolo from Naples who worked for Fritti, later Antico Pizza, and still later Max's Coal Oven Pizzeria, just opened his very own pizzeria! Located at 30 Pharr Road in Buckhead, Fuoco di Napoli's space was previously home to neighborhood watering hole McTighe's before it closed. A resident of Atlanta all my life, I'd say it's only in the past 3 years or so, that I realized there was another side to Pharr Road! Pharr Road can be found on both sides of Peachtree Road, and Fuoco is found on the side behind the former Three Dollar Cafe.
Fuoco, fire in Italian, is a good name for the pizzeria where so much of the taste has to do with the oven and flame. Liberato's Fuoco, like Giovanni Di Palma's Antico Pizza Napoletana, is located in a less than prime location but clearly the hope is that the food will bring the people. While yesterday was day 1 of the restaurant, I can find no indication of alcohol offerings so perhaps Liberato will follow Di Palma's lead in being BYOB.
Fuoco opens at a time when Buckhead has seen a sharp increase in pizza offerings. Already home to contemporary Italian Pricci from Buckhead Life, Nancy's Pizza and Buckhead Pizza Company, a crop of new artisan pizzerias have opened over the past few years. Most notably, Varasano's Pizzeria opened in 2009 on the lobby level of the Mezzo condos in south Buckhead.
This past September, Smyrna-based Blue Moon Pizza opened their third location, at 325 East Paces Ferry Road, on the street level of the 325 condos. Not long after, the guys that brought Buckhead La Fourchette, opened Tartufo Italian Pizzeria in the former Edward's Pipe shop in La Fourchette's adjoining space on Piedmont Road.
Though not to the caliber of any of the aforementioned pizza joints, it's worth mentioning that Piu Bello, another pizzeria, is located within the Disco Kroger shopping Center at 3330 Piedmont, and Pizzeria Venti is located in Lenox Village on Lenox Road. Also, California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) has a location within Lenox Square and casual pizzeria Fellini's has two locations in Buckhead, one on Peachtree Road, the other on Roswell Road. Of course, I can't omit the Pizza Hut on Piedmont Road near the Lindbergh MARTA station.
Riccardo Ullio, who first hired Liberato at his Inman Park eatery Fritti, was said to be opening a second location as part of the redevelopment of the former Sears auto center on West Paces Ferry, but those plans have since been shelved. Instead, Brian Lewis, owner of the Westside's popular Bocado eatery, will open an as yet unnamed eatery at the redeveloped Sears auto property, and you guessed it, will feature Italian fare! Lewis plans to focus on pizza but will also offer a serious wine program. He hopes to open in February.
A friend of mine recently moved to the condos not far from Fuoco and I drove by it numerous times unsure what the heck was going on. Now knowing Liberato is behind it, I have hope that it will be a success. Perhaps a test menu of sorts, there's not much to choose from but pies range from $13-17 in addition to a calzone and salad option.
Do you live in the neighborhood and are a little overwhelmed by all the pizza options? Do you like that there are so many pizza options in the area, at various quality and price levels? Do you miss McTighe's? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.