If you’re pizza lover, and you haven’t been to Hearth Pizza Tavern, you should visit the popular restaurant in the Whole Foods shopping center on Roswell Road. That is, if you can get in. On many nights there’s a slight wait. It's one of the busiest restaurants in Sandy Springs.
Before Hearth opened in October 2008, the owners learned through focus groups that people were not interested in fast casual Italian food. “It cannot be cheap,” co-owner Dave Pazienza recalled. “Good Italian is not fast food. It has to [have] a full service bar – liquor, beer and wine.”
That’s Hearth. Good Pizza, good atmosphere, with a full service staff and bar.
“We wanted everything homemade from crust, sauces, French fries, dressing, even pickles are homemade," said Pazienza.
He continued, “What people wanted was gourmet pizza. That wasn’t around much in Atlanta when we opened."
Pazienza opened Hearth with Jeff Newsham, Rob Caswick and Rob Phillip. Four plus years ago was a risky time to open any business. In Pazienza’s estimation nearly 85 restaurants have closed from where he lives in Flowery Branch to Sandy Springs, since Hearth opened. Yet the owners are happy with business at Hearth. They used to see regular patrons once a week, now they are starting to see some twice a week, Pazienza said.
“That tells us people love the pizza and the environment,” he said.
Phillip is head chef after working at other restaurants around metro Atlanta, but all of the owners cook in the kitchen, according to Pazienza. “You will see all of us on the ovens,” he said.
By the way, the key to cooking the crust is 500-600 degrees, he added.
There are 15 specialty pizzas at Hearth, however chef Phillip tantalizes patrons with two new pizzas, temporarily, every four to six weeks. “We put a new pizza on and then take it away, to entice,” Pazienza said.
The partners also own Artuzzi’s, which had a location at the same spot as Hearth. Other eateries include Seven Lamps behind Dantana’ at Around Lenox Square, Parma’s Tavern near the Mall of Georgia, and Cypress Street Pint and Plate in the Biltmore Hotel.
Community dining is a popular aspect of Hearth. Tell us how you like it?