Carefully wrapped cuts of meat and sausages and encased salami fly over the deli counter at Rocco's New York Italian Deli as staffers craft the homemade Italian entrees that compose this traditional deli’s menu. Owner Adam Kahn draws upon his family’s recipes to craft a selection of meat, cheeses, and desserts available by the pound and savory dishes that burst with classic Italian ingredients like a tomato vine when rent is due. Almost every morsel is made from scratch, from the sweet crust of Grandma’s cheesecake to the homemade bread made fresh every morning to ensconce the deli meats in a selection of hot and cold sandwiches. The deli also sources some specialty items straight from Italy to showcase the country's flavorful pepperoncini, piquant Reggiano parmigiana, and tart limonata, lending customers a taste of authentic Italian treats without needing to install a gelato-cast statue of David.
Zucca was founded by a trio of forlorn New York natives who longed for a taste of a thin, crispy-crusted, Staten Island–style pie. The results are presented on a menu dense with Italian delights. Starters such as crispy fried risotto and mozzarella balls ($7) and fresh bruschetta ($6.25) make satisfying meal bases for the award-winning pizzas. Pies are offered in two sizes—personal portions ($8+) or 18" discs ($13+)—and come customizable with more than 25 toppings, including bacon ($2), eggplant ($2), and roasted red peppers ($3). Specialty pies such as the expo-winning victory pie ($19 for 18" pie), a Margherita pizza with parsley sausage, mushrooms, and shaved parmesan, will tame topping negotiations, while hand-held calzones ($7–$9) and the extensive selection of popular pasta dishes ($10–$15) and entrees ($13–$21) are sure to delight.
Mojo Pizza N' Pub has topped its signature New York-style sesame crust with house-made sauce since 1998. Each pizza is baked on a pizza stone, including the Muffaletta with pepperoni, smoked ham, olives, and pepperoncinis, and the Mardi Gras, which tosses smoked bacon, Italian sausage, peppers, mushrooms, and onions around the necks of enthusiastic onlookers. In addition to pizza, Mojo creates eight salads, such as Greek and chicken Caesar, douses chicken wings with teriyaki sauce, and assembles beef lasagna in house. Beers from 13 rotating taps join wine and cocktails behind the bar, whose libations complement slices both indoors and on the outdoor dog-friendly patio. Mojo Pizza N' Pub hosts trivia nights on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and plugs in an array of video games to entertain younger diners.
Because pizza has no natural predator in the American ecosystem, the ones on Savage Pizza’s menu have been free to cross-breed with indigenous cuisines—leading to Savage Pizza's signature Cajun pizza (roasted chicken, shrimp, andouille sausage, red onions, green peppers, and three cheeses in a spicy red-pepper sauce, $17.25/12" medium) and Greek pizza (feta, artichoke hearts, Greek olives, red onion, fresh spinach, and two cheeses in a garlic tomato sauce, $14/12" medium). If the Mexican, Mai Pai, Bolognese, or Deluxe pies don't tickle your fancy until it presses charges for harassment, you can always build your own pizza ($10.25 for 12" with toppings from $1–$1.50 each) with the maniacal flair of one of the supervillains that adorn the pizzeria's comic book–lined walls.
Local ingredients infiltrate a menu of inventive, from-scratch entrees at The Porch at Collier, a violet-drenched eatery that Thrillist Atlanta deems "unpretentious and nostalgic." Starters slide onto tables, kicking off feasts and competitive-eating portions of family reunions with noshes such as the twice-baked goat-cheese soufflé, served with red- and gold-beet salad, walnuts, and greens. House-smoked bacon, mushrooms, red peppers, and green onions balance atop the shrimp and cheese grits, slathered in Red Eye gravy. Forks plunge through a pool of melted blue cheese and red-wine sauce to impale the rib-eye steak, a time-tested cut hearty enough to sate appetites accrued while moving bales of apple pies. Patrons hasten courses down cuisine canals with sips of house wine, well cocktails, or one of an arsenal of draft brews, which include Terrapin Hopsecutioner IPA and Stone Ruination.
Crescent Avenue in Atlanta’s Midtown is a great little row of restaurants and bars, with a full range of options from Irish pubs to upscale seafood. On the most casual end of the scale is a Florida beach-themed spot called Flip Flops. There is a pizza kitchen offering pies or pretzels, but it’s best to show up at Flip Flops later in the evening for drinks with friends instead. If Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville (the song or the restaurant) puts a smile on your face, then you will feel right at home at Flip Flops, with its tiki island décor and patio seating. There’s ample space to meet up with friends for a drink before heading to one of the destination restaurants on Crescent Avenue, but beware: Flip Flops does have a serious frat party reunion vibe. Just go with the flow and you should have a great time.