Thursday, April 12, 2012

Antico Puts the Heat on Fuoco di Napoli in Buckhead

Fuoco di Napoli opened this past December on Pharr Road in Buckhead and has had anything but a good first few months.  The restaurant was initially helmed by Enrico Liberato, the pizzaioli from Naples who had previously worked at Fritti, Antico Pizza and later Max's Coal Oven Pizzeria downtown.  Last month Liberato was booked on a number of charges including aggravated assault, possession of marijuana and an unknown immigration offense.  

The immigration offense may have in fact been quite serious as last week I received a tip that Liberato had been deported.  Luckily, Liberato was training the staff on the art of pizza making and had built a custom oven for the restaurant.  Enrico had partnered with the McDowell family of Carrollton, Georgia for the restaurant and  surely they hoped to continue the business in his absence.  

Now, with Liberato out of the kitchen, Antico Pizza Napoletana has filed a federal "intellectual property - trademark" lawsuit against Fuoco di Napoli.  The case was filed earlier this month and names Fuoco Di Napoli, LLC Dennis H. McDowell, Jackie McDowell, Lori G. McDowell and Dino McDowell as defendants but does not name Enrico Liberato. 

I'm curious to know what "intellectual property - trademark" Fuoco is violating as other than an odd location and the use of San Marzano tomato sauce & imported flour, Fuoco seems to be just another Neapolitan style pizzeria.  

In related news, brothers Hugh and Jason Connerty plan to open Ammazza, a Neapolian style pizzeria this June on Edgewood Avenue in the Old Forth Ward.  Both Hugh and Jason previously worked for Antico Equity Group LLC., a company that bought development rights to Antico Pizza Napoletana, but the project later stalled.  Though the brothers claim they are not creating an "Antico copy", this recent Fuoco lawsuit should serve as a warning to those looking to open pizzerias with persons previously involved with Antico. 

What do you make of all this legal wrangling on the part of Antico Pizza Napoletana?  Do you think Fuoco will survive this latest blow to its business?  Do you think the brothers Connerty will also face legal action or do you believe their concept will be totally different?  Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Follow me on twitter and like me on facebook

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

As you mentioned, I'll wait to hear what the intellectual property is supposed to be, but on the surface, this just seems to be a rather asinine way to try and stop any competition. How much intellectual property goes into making a pizza? Perhaps Fritti should sue Antico since Liberato was there first.

KS said...

Oh please. If every person in Atlanta that opened a pizza restaurant was sued by a previous employer that happened to be a pizzeria, we'd have nothing but national chain pizza. The Fellini's owners both worked for another pizzeria before opening their own store, and at least 3 Fellini's employees that I know of have gone on to open their own pizzerias. And somehow it all works out. Antico's lawsuit is ridiculous and frivolous.

Anonymous said...

maybe the intellectual property is the custom oven he built at both establishments?

Anonymous said...

Enrico did not build the ovens at Antico. They are Acunto ovens.

TheJohnP said...

Can't speak on the charges, but I hope Enrico didn't get deported. He makes an amazing pie. And after seeing him work such short runs at many establishments, felt that now he was his own boss that he would put down some roots in Buckhead.

The lawsuit sounds like a personal grudge between the owners of Antico and Enrico, although odd that he wasn't named in the suit. Shame they have to drag their personal issues into the court system though.

Will still frequent both Antico and Fouco regardless.

Janvi said...

Nice collection...Thanks for sharing with us...I really like it... Kitchen Labels

Anonymous said...

Enrico is a fake. His so called school, PNA, is attempt to manipulate all the customers. There never was and never will be a school called PNA that was established in Italy in 1715. As for the charges he picked up, yes, they are true. I should know because I'm the one that dude pulled a knife on. If you want the full story of everything that happened that night ask me. As for the law suite, I hope Fuoco gets the shit sued out of them. I lost my job that night and didn't even do anything. I am in the process of suing Fuoco and Enrico for this incident. If you know any good lawyers contact me. My email address is chefano01@AOL.com.

Anonymous said...

I heard Antico was going to sue people everywhere for giving high fives because they've been doing it for years.

Anonymous said...

Maybe he'll start suing people that are good at kidnapping.

johndipalma.com

Anonymous said...

The owner of antico is insane.

Anonymous said...

www.johndipalma.com

Anonymous said...

None of these places would survive one month in the New Haven, CT. area. They would be laughed out of business because no one is impressed with gooey doughy under cooked pizzas (with some very tasty toppings I must admit coming from Antico). If everyone reading this who “thinks” they know what a traditional good pizza is like. Start with New Haven pizza, it is complex simplicity. It is only a matter of time until someone nails a real pizza here and sets the bar. The rest will fine tune their Atlanta pizza versions (which is much better now then 15 years ago but still in need of much work and discipline) and we will have more than 3 “decent” choices (Antico, Max’s and Verasanos). And a message for the guys at Antico, I noticed your lines are much shorter now. That’s what happens when you rush a good thing and consistently deliver a under cooked pizza (what’s an extra minute to cook it properly, did your Nonie ever rush Sunday dinner????). I really enjoy your version of pizza but it is hit or miss and mostly miss. Take your time and leave the five minute pizza thing to Subway. To serve a under cooked pizza is a sin next to “though shall not steal”!!!! I watch, I laugh, I make it a priority to get a real pizza when I go up north but I will admit. Atlanta is getting closer every year to closing the gap and hopefully true pizza lovers will continue to support real pizza places but not roll over when it is under cooked (you hear me Antico!!!!) and let the sheeple eat the rest (which is 90% of anywhere that says pizza in the window in this city).

King Kong said...

lol, i never knew New Haven, CT was the pizza capital of the world. And neither did ANYONE else.

King Kong said...

But seriously though, cool story bro. VERY cool.

Anonymous said...

Was thinking the same...CT is a nothing town filled with nobody.

Anonymous said...

Lol at infringement; like Antico invented the idea of the dive pizza place with counter service.

Anonymous said...

OK - so now this is getting good - first off "New Haven" really? - ok we'll let that one go - take a look at some pics after googling "New Haven pizza" - sorta reminds me of "School lunch pie circa '77..". and then you name the easy ones - Antico, (great), Fuoco, (worthy of a mini-series), and Varasanno.... what about "Sapori di Napoli? or Vingenzo? ya - google is your friend.

OK - so Pizza is like BBQ - everyone has an opinion - and (again google for knowledge) 5 minutes in a Neopolitan oven like those at Antico and Fuoco (via "hand built by Enrico") would result in a pizza that looked like the remains a smoldering disc of goo... 90 seconds to 2 minutes at Antico/Fuoco temperatures and you're done. Ok - now go ahead and tell us about how good Pizza Hut is...

Anonymous said...

Young and uninformed I assume? Its ok, you can not control one and you can improve on the other. New Haven and New Haven county {the city within the state for the pizza lover who posted that CT is a ”town”} is a very well known pizza mecca with the best pizza places period? Its not NYC or Chicago or Atlanta, its smaller and much better for food. Its the same city where the hamburger was invented [google that] I'll even narrow down the street where all this began. Wooster Street in New Haven in the ”town" of Connecticut haha for our Rhodes scholar friend. Probably the single most noted neighborhood on all of pizza debates period. It is where the best of the best exist in droves and where every oven rings of angles singing in harmony. Any person with any interest in food [esp apizza] that is not aware of this has just bettered themselves today. And for the record, I am eating at Antico for lunch because they are very good [for Atl]. And its the lasagna pizza {whch is a whole different conversation in itself} is definitely their best weapon. PLEASE MAKE WELL DONE!!!!Antico. Please!!!!
As far as cooking a pizza? Move it from side to side in the oven to get the hottest part of stone that cools once covered by pie, spin it so it cooks all sides. If your case, think about a pig on a spicket. You role it around and around and around over the fire to get a nice even cook all sides. This may be news to you but thats how it is correctly done [but not by anyone south of Cape May, Papa Johns and stevey b's is king.
Fyi. Chicao stlye pizza needs to change its name.

Bronie 1 said...

Your followup story was even a cooler story than your first story bro!

Anonymous said...

Too long, didn't read.

Anonymous said...

goOglED nEw havEN pIZZA an IT lOked BURNT and alSO doUGHEY, how thEY mADE iT LOOK so GroSS?/???

Anonymous said...

This New Haven pizza oracle can't even construct a grammatically correct sentence and we're supposed to believe he knows how to construct pizza?

Supwitdat

Anonymous said...

yea i heard that new haven is "much better for food" than NYC many times and I believe it. lol

Anonymous said...

I heard people are flocking to New Haven JUST to make pizza. Maybe the tax system is setup well for guys that sprinkle toppings on pies? Or maybe you can get free healthcare if you work in a pizza place?

Atlantan99 said...

UPDATE : Lori and Dino McDowell,ran a food truck called Antico Express in late 2010 and early 2011 bringing Antico pies to events around the southeast. The truck was most often found at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. The pies were precooked by Antico, frozen and then heated to serve in the truck. Antico Express currently offers just two options - Margherita or Pepperoni - available by the slice or pie.

Anonymous said...

I am from New England and everyone in New England knows that New Haven has the best pizza in the region. New Haven is famous for pizza. Not that anyone from the South would know since apparently anything north of the Mason Dixon line doesn't really matter. Being from up north, I like some things down here, but Atlanta is a whole is in a pretty embarrassing state. Right wing politicians seem more concerned with arming everyone then fixing anything. By the way, ate at Fuoco last night and it was a great addition to Buckhead.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but Connecticut is incredibly boring. Antico is pretty wonderful and I am from Boston.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree about the undercooked pizza. I only went to Antico once, and it was totally undercooked. Not impressed and won't return.
The IP lawsuit is a joke! What trademark?????

Anonymous said...

Another restaurant/food blurb, another slew of posts about how "Atlanta doesn't have real (fill in the blank), it's better in (fill in the blank." Yawn.

Mimosa77 said...

Antico's owners have displayed their insecurity and weakness by filing an intellectual property suit over Neopolitan style pizzas! LOL!

Attempts to stop competition signal the competition is a threat and may offer a better product.

As I live in Buckhead I will now soon try out Fuoco's pizzas! The Westside Antico location was too far to drive for pizza.