Thursday, February 6, 2014

Restaurant Review: Savage Pizza (Atlanta, Ga.)

It's a superhero-themed eatery with a really awesome pesto-and-potato pizza. Do you really need me to tell you any more?

As you may recall from my visit to the 2013 Little 5 Points Halloween Parade, I encountered a very unique-looking restaurant named "Savage Pizza." As the name suggests, it appeared to be a pizzeria, but with one major difference from your standard parlors: the entire building was decked out in Marvel Comics dressings. Awesome marker drawings of Spider-Man and his rogues gallery were scrawled on the front glass of the establishment, and the marquee of the building itself was a goddamned Sentinel. Needless to say, taking a pilgrimage to said eatery become an early priority for 2014, and quickly.

Revisiting the restaurant in January, the first thing I noticed was some new artwork on the front glass. Gone were Venom and the Green Goblin and all their ilk, replaced by a mural of late 1980s-styled "X-Men" B-listers. Much to the delight of Mike Tyson, no doubt, Apocalypse himself got prominent placing on the glass frame, as did Juggernaut (whom, with an unpainted mouth and set of eyeballs, was just ripe for a photo op or two.) Plus, you just have to dig the "Iceman" bridge and old school Rogue, complete with her Delta Burke-inspired bouffant.

Storm, back when her costume was just a couple of leather strips, as well as Nightcrawler and Colossus were also prominently displayed. There's probably some artistic reason as to why heavy hitters like Wolverine and Cyclops were left off the display, but I think the nod to the lesser-celebrated characters makes the work all the more pleasing. I fully expect a "Guardians of the Galaxy" themed tapestry later this fall, of course. 

The interior of the building also keeps up with the comic super hero theme, with a nice collage of old school "Spider-Man," "Silver Surfer" and "Superman" covers plastered all around the cashier's counter-top. I'm also greatly amused by the inclusion of an old-ass "Master of Kung Fu" splash page as part of the design.

Near the back of the restaurant, there's a giant poster of Supes, as well as a collector's case of 12 inch figurines, which, for some reason, include the George Clooney Batman and Ahnold's Mr. Freeze from "Batman and Robin" forever immortalized in plastic resin. And for those of you paying attention to the establishment's ceiling...

...what do you know, there are extra large dolls strung up all over the place! Wolverine, The Hulk, a couple of Ninja Turtles. Hell, there's even a Godzilla doll being lynched in the mix somewhere. It's a really neat little touch, and the prospect of having a Bart Simpson action figure fall into my eggplant parmigiana actually makes me more excited to dine there.

And for those of you that dig souvenirs, there actually are quite a few collectibles you can pick up at the establishment, including some exorbitantly priced baseball caps and a tee-shirt, featuring none other than Disney copyright protected icon Spider-Man! Uhh...maybe we shouldn't tell the Marvel legal department about that last item, though. 

There's so much pop cultural text going on, it's easy to out on miss all of the oblique references in-store -- hell, it wasn't until I looked at this picture that I even noticed the little Domino's Pizza Noid, just hanging off a stack of cardboard boxes. And in case you are wondering? Yes, they do have a limited delivery service, although a giant list next to the cash register's phone indicates that there are indeed quite a few deadbeats and shit tippers in the vicinity.

But of course, the big question is how is their pizza? The menu itself is quite diverse, and I was pretty darn close to picking up a Mediterranean pie, until I noticed this coy little advertisement on the paper napkin dispenser. A "Potato Pesto Pizza," you say? Consider me more than intrigued regarding such a prospect!

And lo and behold, this is the dish in all its pine nut-scattered glory. In addition to being smattered with green pesto and embedded with chunks of red potato, it also came with some chopped up red peppers and caramelized onions, too. I'm not necessarily the hugest fan of white sauce pizzas, but the guys at Savage Pizza did a pretty good job with the mixture. The basil and garlic seasonings were noticeable, but not too overpowering -- clearly, we are not dealing with rookies in the pizza game at all here.

So, all in all? The pizza was delicious, the eatery had a really cool vibe, the price point wasn't too bad, and there enough tantalizing options on the menu to warrant more than a few revisits. Although Atlanta really hasn't garnered a reputation for being a pizza powerhouse, the reality is there are quite a few outstanding parlors in the city. Hell, there's another super-awesome pizzeria just a couple of blocks away from Savage Pizza -- not that we're trying to kick off any kind of Bloods vs. Crips-style turf rivalry or anything. 

As for complaints? Eh, I don't have that many -- they were even able to make their Diet Coke taste pretty fresh, which is something most franchised establishments have a hard time managing. I guess you could argue about the parking (the entire Little 5 Points area, I must warn you, is a nightmare) and it would've been cool to have seen some additional attractions in the venue. Come on, you guys couldn't find an old school "Captain American and the Avengers" arcade cabinet, or even one of those Stern "Spider-Man" pinball machines? 

But even with those trifling demerits, it's hard to not dig Savage Pizza. They've got awesome aesthetics, a lot of topping options, some killer proprietary pies and you can chow down while a foot tall replica of The Thing looms overhead. Needless to say, if you are ever in the ATL, this is a place you definitely need to drop by, amigos.


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