Review: Junior’s Pizza in Summerhill captures spirit of classic New York slice parlor

A fast-casual pizza kitchen next door to Wood’s Chapel BBQ in Summerhill, Junior’s is a welcome response to the proliferation of fancy Neapolitan-style pizza-focused restaurants around the city. There’s nary a Negroni cocktail nor a margherita pie to be found. No pasta, no prosciutto, no pecorino, no parmigiana to see here — move along, please.

With its uncluttered industrial design, zany, comic-book murals, and laid-back vibe, Junior’s is a perfect addition to its neighborhood. It’s an easy-in-easy-out, hassle-free zone for quick, satisfying grub — or pizza to go. Pizzaiolo Alex Aton and his co-owner wife, Jennifer (whose nickname is Junior), find success without reaching for the moon, the stars and the sun all at once. (They started as a pop-up.) Just as LLoyd’s Restaurant and Lounge makes the case that blue-collar diner-dives are forever hip, the Atons demonstrate that old-school pizza is cool again.

Junior’s takes its cues from New York, not Naples. Its pies, all custom built from ingredients you pick yourself, have thin crusts that strike a happy medium between crispy and chewy. They are equally scarfable with minimal toppings — or the works. The crusts have modestly puffy edges, making them easy to hold, fold and chomp without burning your fingers or causing a mess. And vegan diners need not despair: Junior’s bakes pies with vegan cheese and vegan sausage (I tried the fake meat and liked it), and it offers a plethora of veggie add-ons, naturally (peppers, mushrooms, onion, basil, garlic, broccoli, three kinds of olives and so on).

Recommended: Greek salad. Calzone with feta. Vegan slices. (We liked ours with tomato, mushroom and vegan turkey.) Slices and 16-inch whole pies with toppings of choice. (We liked pepperoni and sausage, ham and pineapple, and mushroom, onion and banana pepper.)

11 a.m.-9 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays.
77 Georgia Ave., Suite A, Atlanta.


By Wendell Brock, for the AJC

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