Only this time, it’s a very suburban destination near the heart of Crabapple at a new restaurant called Franco’s Italian Tavern (12020 Etris Rd, Roswell Tel: 678.869.5088).
The man behind the pies is owner Franco Negri, a former software heavy-hitter who has plenty of restaurant experience under his snug Italian belt. During a recent phone conversation Negri asked me whose pizza (between Varasano’s and Antica Pizza Napoletana) in the Atlanta area his most resembles. The answer to that question is really “no pizza,” but if I had to pin it to just one — I’d pick Varasano’s because Negri’s crust has that similar slight hint of sourdough and is perfectly crisp and chewy in all the right places. I am one of the few — and, I’m certain I will get sauce slung at me for saying so — who thinks Antica Pizza Napoletana’s crust is too doughy, even spongy with some bites.
Negri applies that esoteric char with a romantic wood-burning oven he had specially shipped from Florence, Italy. He breaks down the pizzas into two categories on the menu. The top section is for those seeking traditional style Italian pizzas and the second grouping is Grande cheese-covered NY-style pizzas, which are fired in that same rustic wood burning oven at the same temperature, and even painted with that same wonderful char.
Negri, if asked, will also stretch a medium dough ball into a large razor thin pie, consistent with that of a true Neapolitan-style. But he’s hesitant to call any pie he serves “Neapolitan” due to the strict ingredient profile one must abide.
So not to get too technical, I’d say his pizzas are a fantastic amalgamation of traditional Italian (from the boot) and good old-fashioned northeastern American.
No matter how you label these pies, they are tasty. And, that’s what really counts…isn’t it?