A new fast casual pizza player has chosen Atlanta to make its debut.
The Local Pizzaiolo, a new concept started by three experienced entrepreneurs, plans to open as many as five locations over the next two years in metro Atlanta. Three leases have already been signed, with a fourth unit under contract.
Allison Satter Hill will serve as the company's CEO and brings with her a solid resume including over six years in various marketing roles with The Coca-Cola Company and another six years in marketing roles with Sprint. Most recently, Hill was Vice President of Marketing for Miller's Ale House, an Orlando based chain of casual dining restaurants. Hill received her BS in Hotel Administration from Cornell University and her MBA from Cornell's Johnson Graduate School of Management.
Fiorenzo Bresolin is chairman of the company, and is heavily involved in site selection. Bresolin selected Steve Josovitz and Irving Jacobson of The Shumacher Group as the firm's representatives in Atlanta. Bresolin himself is a native of Canada, is a developer and attorney, and also received his MBA from Cornell’s Johnson Business School.
Italy native Giulio Adriani will serve as the restaurant's Master Pizzaiolo and will train "the local pizzaiolos" who will helm the individual restaurants. Adriani has operated a number of award winning pizzerias in New York, but left the Empire State for the Peach State to partner with Hill and Bresolin on the new concept. Adriani's accolades include the Gold Medal at the 2010 World Pizza Championship in Salsomaggiore, Italy and World's Best Pizza – America's Plate in New York, also in 2010.
Hill spoke exclusively to ToNeTo Atlanta about The Local Pizzaiolo which she envisions as a step above fast casual: "fast premium," serving sit-down quality pizza in a quick-serve setting. The restaurant will feature ordering from kiosks or from the counter, and will also feature a small marketplace where customers can purchase ingredients such as olive oil, tomatoes and truffle honey.
Hill further describes the concept as being at the "intersection of tradition and innovation." The Local Pizzaiolo will feature 11 inch Neopolitan pizza pies and assorted appetizers, salads, craft cocktails, wine, beer and desserts. A source familiar with the group's plans indicated it could easily be described as "quick serve Antico," referencing the popular, Neopolitan pizzeria that got its start near Atlanta's Home Park neighborhood.
At Toco Hills, The Local Pizzaiolo will open in place of Toco Hills Coin Laundry. As I reported last month, the laundromat, a neighborhood mainstay for many years, was closing. This past Wednesday was its last day in business. The pizza restaurant will completely reconfigure the space and will feature al fresco dining utilizing the center's recently widened sidewalks. The space is currently about 2,000 square feet but will reportedly be about 2,400 square feet after the renovation.
Although Adriani was the first pizza maker to open an authentic Neapolitan kosher pizzeria in New York in 2013, Hill tells me they do not plan to obtain kosher certification at Toco Hills, despite its large Jewish population.
Chris' Pizza, a Toco Hills mainstay since 1983, serves Greek style pizza in a casual setting and is reportedly remaining in the center. The Local Pizzaiolo will mark the return of a quick serve pizza option to the center following the 2015 closure of Uncle Maddio's Pizza.
The Local Pizzaiolo joins Hudson Grille and Spiller Park Coffee as new tenants in the center following the property's recent renovation.
The Toco Hills location is expected to open first, likely later this summer. It could be preceded in opening if the lease is executed on the fourth unit, which is a second generation restaurant space.
The Local Pizzaiolo will also open at Modera Sandy Springs, a new apartment complex currently under construction on Roswell Road. Modera is located at 6125 Roswell Road, just north of Hammond Drive and south of Mount Vernon Highway. The Modera project replaced Hilderbrand Court, an older center previously home to The Brickery and Fresh to Order, among other tenants. Modera Sandy Springs includes 340 apartments and about 25,000 square feet of ground floor retail space. According to the project's site plan, The Local Pizzaiolo is the only confirmed tenant but sources suggest that bartaco and Dancing Goats, among others, were being courted by the development. The Local Pizzaiola at Modera will be 2,400 square feet and is expected to open late this fall or early next year.
Rize Artisan Pizza & Salads, a similar concept, recently opened just south of Modera Sandy Springs in another new apartment complex, Square One, at the corner of Roswell Road and Hammond Drive. In addition, Hearth, a local one unit pizza joint in The Exchange at Hammond, is popular, as is the Mellow Mushroom on Roswell Road, close to Modera. The area is without a Neapolitan pizzeria following last summer's closure of Double Zero Napoletana.
Madison Yards, the upcoming Fuqua Development project on Memorial Drive in Reynoldstown, has also signed a lease with The Local Pizzaiolo. The 17 acre project, located at Memorial Drive at Bill Kennedy Way, represents the redevelopment of the Leggett & Platt manufacturing site. The Local Pizzaiolo will be one of many restaurants in the complex which is reportedly making serious headway in its leasing effort even before the existing structures have been demolished. Sources indicate that the project will be anchored by a Publix Super Market and an AMC Theaters dine-in movie theater. The project is also slated to include some 550 apartments and as many as 200 senior living units. The Local Pizzaiolo should open at Madison Yards in mid-to-late 2018, subject to the developer's demolition and construction timeline.
Pizzeria Locale, a Denver based quick-serve Neopolitan pizzeria, partnered with Chipotle Mexican Grill to expand their concept. Today, the concept has a total of seven units in four states. While others like Blaze Pizza and MOD Pizza have confirmed locations in the works in Atlanta, Pizzeria Locale does not. Pizzeria Locale would likely be the closest competitor to The Local Pizzaiolo and their absence from the local market will give the Atlanta concept room to grow and gain recognition locally.
Are you excited about the changes coming to Toco Hills? Do you think The Local Pizzaiolo will be a welcome addition to the centers in which they plan to open? Where should The Local Pizzaiolo open next?
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