For decades, you couldn’t find a decent pizza in most of Atlanta. There were exceptions, like Fellini’s, but we were mostly limited to the cardboard cutouts of the big chains.
In the past few years, as the Atlanta restaurant scene overall has found its footing, restaurant owners have given us more inventive pizza offerings. New York style. Wood burning ovens imported from Italy. High-quality pepperoni. Pizza sold by the slice.
Nowhere is this truer than in a relatively compact section of the Atlanta BeltLine. So head on down, ditch your car, indulge in some gooey, worth-every-calorie pizza and then walk it off (some of it anyway) as you explore the trail.
Starting at Krog Street Market, here is a guide to eating pizza on the BeltLine.
This is authentic Napoli. Once inside Krog Street Market, head to the far end, where you will find pizza baked in real Italian ovens by real Italians. The owner, Luca Varuni, hails from Naples and brings his ingredients too - importing Double Zero flour, cold-pressed olive oil, olives, cured meats, San Marzano tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella. You have to try the Bastardo, which is topped with pepperoni and gets its kick from nduja (a spicy spreadable sausage). Other popular menu items include the fried calzone and Porecca Piccante (made with hot soppressata, nduja, cherry tomatoes and Calabrian peppers). Order your pizza and then watch it being made in ringside seats to the open kitchen. The pizza maker behind the counter (maybe Luca?) likes to entertain kids and might slip you a sample of salami. There is limited seating at the counter and in the market, or you can order pickup or delivery.
Other location: Monroe Drive, next to Piedmont Park
It’s hard to find better pizza anywhere than Nina & Rafi. While the founders are from NY and NJ, the star of the show is the Detroit Red Top, a thick rectangular pie with cheese baked into the crust. It’s enough to feed the whole family. But don’t miss their other pies, like the square Old Fashioned (based on Nana's recipe) or the round cheese pie with your favorite toppings. With a red leather booth interior and “beachfront” patio seating on the BeltLine, N&R’s atmosphere is as inviting as the food. You can get slices before 4 p.m., and they serve up creative cocktails, if you want to find out what pairs with pepperoni.
Not-pizza-dish to try: Cheese bread, a meal in itself, and the Negroni.
Fritti was a pre-BeltLine pioneer, planting its flag in Inman Park long before the neighborhood became a destination. Housed in a former service station, its glass doors are raised in nice weather, giving way to an open air dining experience and front-row view of the Inman Park scene. Or for even better people watching, opt for the corner patio. The pizza is made in wood-burning ovens, and pizza is offered alongside “fritti,” or Italian snacks: rice balls filled with sausage; calamari; crimini and portobello mushrooms in a rice flour batter; eggplant and mozzarella croquettes. There is no American pepperoni here, you will find only old-world fresh ingredients, like ham and salami. Try the Quattro Stagioni (cotto ham, artichokes, mushrooms and olives), or stay simple with the Regina Margherita. Pizzas are 13" and don't leave you with a heavy feeling afterward, so you could easily order a whole pie for yourself. The atmosphere is casual and draws all kinds of clientele, from Buckhead upscale to East Atlanta grunge.
Not-pizza-dish to try: Arancini (fried risotto and sausage balls) with marinara sauce and a salad, for a complete meal.
With a walkup window at the artsy Studioplex development, Glide will remind you of pizza you grab on the streets of New York. The slices are huge, and the ingredients are high quality. They make their own sourdough crust, and offer just a few selections, including their own Southernized pie, the Homegrown (pimento cheese, mozzarella, mushrooms and scallions). Whole pies are served with pickled peppers and ranch dipping sauce, a show stealer. It's best to order as takeout, but if you want to eat onsite, they have an outside counter facing the driveway.
Best side: Ranch dipping sauce made in house.
In Ponce City Market's food hall, the main feature of Pizza Jeans is the dough. And it’s no wonder, as the owners previously operated Root Baking Company, nominated for a James Beard Award. The Margherita is light on the mozzarella - topped with shaved grana padano, olive oil and basil - all of this leaving room to really taste the crust, which of course, is delicious. They also offer a vegan option, with burst tomato and garlic. For a different take on pizza, try the Red on White, made with whipped ricotta (whole pies only). Or top your pie with hot honey.
This blog post was updated in May 2023.
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Want to taste more of Atlanta's neighborhood restaurants? Join our Food and Street Art Tour of the Atlanta BeltLine. You'll get a firsthand taste of some of the city's most delicious restaurants and uncover the hidden stories behind the BeltLine's vibrant street art. And for all the dog parents out there, our newest event, Barks & Bites: Doggie Food Crawl on the BeltLine, is the perfect opportunity to help your fur baby live their best life. Book early before they sell out!
An Atlanta native, Nicole Gustin is the Founder & CEO of BiteLines, which offers walking food and street art tours on the Atlanta BeltLine. She considers the BeltLine her backyard, and is excited to see how Atlanta is reinventing itself. The BiteLines blog features art, restaurants, happenings and weirdness on the Atlanta BeltLine. Share story ideas and pics at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or follow on Instagram @bitelinesatl.