Monday, June 23, 2014

Restaurant Review: Aurelio's Is Pizza (Marietta, Ga.)

Looking for quality deep-dish, Chicago-style pizza in the metro Atlanta area? Here's a fairly hidden haunt well worth paying a visit to. 


Considering all of the food-related entries on this blog, I suppose it's not all that surprising that people periodically ask me what my absolute favorite meal is. Although there are plenty of top notch candidates -- ranging from White Trash Veggie Chili Dogs to Quinoa-Stuffed Jack O'Lantern Bell Peppers to Spa-Chili to homemade marshmallow treats comprised of the big three General Mills Monster Cereals -- if I had to pick just one food to list as my bona-fide favorite, I'd probably have to go with Chicago-style pizza.

Oh, sauce-drenched, deep dish pizza; I could pretty much eat the shit morning, noon and night for the next 12 years and never get tired of it. As a matter of fact, if my life was a 16-bit platformer video game, all of the power ups would probably be thick crust slices. With maybe a bottle of Mountain Dew Code Red serving as hyper-speed item. 

The problem is, I don't live in a mecca like New York or Chicago, where such delicious deep dish offerings are widely available. Instead, I live in Atlanta, where most of the pizzas are thin crust joints operated by northern transplants who, despite being able to whip up some damn delicious white pizzas, really aren't what I would call stuffed pizza experts

Strangely enough, there was a national franchise that popped up just feet away from my place, which did have astonishingly decent deep dish pies. Yet late last fall -- around the same time a whole shit load of other Gen Y baiting beer halls  in the area mysteriously vanished -- my go-to Chicago-style pizza hook-up closed shop, leaving behind an ominous red and yellow house of sauce stained sorrows

Really, really hankering for some extra saucy pizza lately, I decided to embark upon a mini-mission of late to find the best damn deep dish pie in the Atlanta region. Considering Atlanta is home to one of the ten largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas in the nation, you would think that finding pizza shops that cater to deep dish aficionados would be fairly easy. As far as restaurants that specifically hail their own deep dish pies, however, I counted up a paltry handful in the ENTIRE metro-Atlanta area. Keep in mind, this is a geographic area of more than FIVE MILLION people -- you'd think that more than ten of those motherfuckers would know how to make a deep dish, but you sir, would be wrong as hell. 

After some Internet sleuthing, I found this one place out in Marietta (an Atlanta suburb that we here at THE INTERNET IS IN AMERICA have covered before) called Aurelio's is Pizza. As one of the few Google-indexed pizzerias that chart a top spot for "Atlanta deep dish" searches, I immediately took a liking to this here establishment: if not for their logo (which looks just like a British footy club emblem), for the restaurant's namesake: I mean, anything that harks back to a 15-year-old Chris Jericho catachphrase is A-OK with me, after all. 


The restaurant is saddled in a strip mall parking lot, where it's nestled snug between a tapas bar and a bird watching supply store. (Aside: Just how much damned equipment does one need to watch birds, anyway?) I went on a Saturday night, which you would EXPECT to be the happeningest night of the week, but much to my surprise, the eatery was virtually vacant. The lonesome ambiance was pretty neat, thought, as it gave the entire restaurant sort of a gloomy, quasi-romantic New York vibe. If you're looking for an atmospheric, yet reserved pizzeria -- and perhaps a place to watch Oklahoma City Thunder playoff games in solitude -- Aurelio's seems to be right up your alley. 


I really dug the in-house posters. There are a lot a photos of the establishment founder, who looks just like the kind of guy you'd expect to have shot a whole lot of people during Prohibition. I had a particular fondness for this one, though, which laid out the pizza pie sizes like they were planets in ascending order from Mercury to Jupiter. As you can see, the Aurelio's pies range from four slice personal pizzas all the way to gargantuan 36-slice monstrosities which I am assuming have to be baked in a volcanic lair or something. You KNOW the establishment has huge-assed pizzas when the waiter tells you what you just ordered was too big and asks you to pick something else. 


As far as the menu goes, it looked to have quite a bit of awesome-sounding entrees, but tonight, I had just one thing on my mind: a damned deep dish pizza, and soon. Electing to skip over the more eclectic toppings (your pineapple and banana pepper chunks, namely), I instead vouched for a fairly traditional black olive and mushroom-stuffed pizza. Admittedly, the crew took their sweet time rolling out the final item, but trust me...this shit was definitely worth waiting for.


LOOK AT THAT SAUCE! Even as medium-sized pie, this thing was ridiculously huge. It was more than enough for two people, even when one of those two people is an amateur competitive eater like me.


The cheese was freaking outstanding, and the crust was really something else. As we all know, it doesn't matter how good your pizza is, as long as you have crummy dough, you're going to end up with disappointment. Well, the guys at Aurelio's really know how to dream up a delicious crust, and it was really among the best pizza bases I've ever tasted. And on top of that (literally) the sauce was a nearly perfect balance of zesty and tangy. Yeah, my wanting of a true deep dish pie for so long probably made me a bit biased here, but there's no denying this stuff is, in every sense of the word, fucking incredible.


The slices, it should probably be noted, are also comically oversized. Most pizza slices are usually hand-sized, but I'm pretty sure this one was equivalent to the length of my head, from crown to chin. I'm a dude who can eat a LOT of food in one sitting, but I was no match for this colossal serving. I actually went home with THREE extra slices, and that was with help from a second muncher!


Without question, "Aurelio's is Pizza" is freaking fantastic, and everybody in the world should go eat there. Even people who are lactose intolerant; I assure you, the extreme diarrhea is worth the trip. And as any truly great pizza would, it definitely passes the "breakfast test" -- as an early morning warm-over, the pie was every bit as good as it was fresh out of the kiln. 

So, long story short? "Aurelio's" is a damn great pizza joint, and if you live within 500 miles of it, you probably need to stop by at least once. And also, the management needs to give me free pizza for life.

I mean, shit, could you possibly imagine a better public endorsement than this review? It's the absolute least they could do for me...


2 comments:

  1. I don't know how anyone who knows what true Chicago style pizza tastes like could ever NOT like Aurelios pizza and pasta!!!! We lived in the Chicago area for 33 years and now here in the Atlanta area for 35 years. We were customers of several Aurelios in northern Indiana and Chicago area. But after moving here in 1980 all we could locate were New York style pizza and though some of those were decent none were what I would call AWESOME. We go there at least once a week. We'd go more often but we live in Acworth so that makes it a 30 minute drive in good traffic. But it's worth the drive. Also the service has been the best since we found it 2-3 years ago except for one time. And once out of 100 is great for me.

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  2. I don't know how anyone who knows what true Chicago style pizza tastes like could ever NOT like Aurelios pizza and pasta!!!! We lived in the Chicago area for 33 years and now here in the Atlanta area for 35 years. We were customers of several Aurelios in northern Indiana and Chicago area. But after moving here in 1980 all we could locate were New York style pizza and though some of those were decent none were what I would call AWESOME. We go there at least once a week. We'd go more often but we live in Acworth so that makes it a 30 minute drive in good traffic. But it's worth the drive. Also the service has been the best since we found it 2-3 years ago except for one time. And once out of 100 is great for me.

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