Friday, July 17, 2009

Grazing: First look at Max's Coal Oven Pizzeria

Posted By on Fri, Jul 17, 2009 at 1:00 PM

click to enlarge ANOTHER DAY ANOTHER PIZZA: The margherita at Max's Coal Oven Pizzeria
  • ANOTHER DAY ANOTHER PIZZA: The margherita at Max's Coal Oven Pizzeria

As soon as we walked through the door at Max’s Coal Oven Pizzeria (300 Marietta St., 404-974-2941), several staff members shouted “Hi, guys! Welcome!”

I’m not sure if it was my response — looking around to see who they were yelling at — or their own discomfort with apparently being trained to impersonate Moe’s employees, but the bubbly enthusiasm quickly diminished. I was relieved. Contrived effervescence makes me hostile.

Max’s is yet another project of the gigantic Concentrics Restaurants group. In fact, it’s located next to Stats, the company’s sports bar. Wayne, being a statistical analyst, prefers to call it “the flagship of Atlanta’s burgeoning statistics community.” It's located in a turn-of-the-last-century building with lots of brick and warehouse ambiance. It was doing quite a brisk business when we visited on a Sunday night, especially with large family groups.

Our server, John H., let us know that the restaurant features Georgia’s first coal-burning pizza oven. This actually is kind of a big deal. Coal ovens are popular in New York City where many regard them as essential since they reach a temperature of 1,000 degrees. John explained that the super-hot oven produces the blistery, charred crust that pizza aficionados crave. Or perhaps not everyone craves that. “I like to warn people that the crust is going to be kind of black,” John said.

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(Photo by James Camp)

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