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Root Baking Co. to shrink at Ponce City Market to make room for Pizza Jeans

Pizza from Pizza Jeans.
Pizza from Pizza Jeans.

Root Baking Co. is baking up some big changes in Ponce City Market.

The acclaimed bakery and cafe, from husband and wife Chris Wilkins and Nicole Lewis-Wilkins, is slated to turn its weekly Pizza Jeans pop-up into a permanent restaurant and bar in the Root Baking space this spring.

Located on the second floor of Ponce City Market’s Central Food Hall, Pizza Jeans will serve up pizza by the slice and whole pies, cocktails, beer and wine.

Root’s Matthew Palmerlee will also serve as executive chef at Pizza Jeans, offering a menu of classic and specialty pies, a signature hoagie, salads and tinned fish.

Guests can add seasonal toppings sourced from local farms to the red and white pizzas of the day, made with naturally-leavened pizza dough with freshly milled flour. Pizza can be eaten in house or taken to go, and dessert options will include Italian lemon ice and sourdough doughnuts.

“To me, good pizza is simple: quality ingredients and really good bread,” Wilkins said in a prepared statement. “We’re trying to embrace the Italian ethic behind great pizza and anchor it where we are. Fundamentally, we think showcasing well-executed dough with regionally sourced ingredients and local flavor makes for a great slice.”

Chris Wilkins and his wife, Nicole, moved from Charleston, S.C., to Atlanta to open Root Baking Co. at Ponce City Market. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT/SPECIAL
Chris Wilkins and his wife, Nicole, moved from Charleston, S.C., to Atlanta to open Root Baking Co. at Ponce City Market. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT/SPECIAL

Behind the bar, beverage manager Drew Gillespie, most recently of Little Trouble, will serve a handful of custom cocktails, including a Spicy Mai Thai, a Black Manhattan, which subs amaro for sweet vermouth and a take on a Jack and Coke that’s made with housemade soda and sorghum-based whiskey from High Wire Distilling in Charleston.

The bar will also offer an extensive list of amaro, beer and wines by the glass and bottle.

The restaurant’s design will feature blue hues, dark draperies and items sourced from Atlanta thrift shops. A nine-seat bar will offer full service, with counter service available to guests dining at booths.

While Pizza Jeans will take over a majority of the existing space, Root Baking Co. will continue to offer a counter service menu in a space adjacent to the pizzeria. Breads, pastries and vegetable-driven dishes will be available for breakfast and lunch.

Pizza Jeans pop-ups will be held on Fridays until opening from noon-8 p.m. at Root Baking Co.

Once open, Pizza Jeans will be open from 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. and Root Baking Co. will be open from 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. daily.

Wilkins and Lewis-Wilkins opened Root Baking Co. in 2018 at 675 Ponce de Leon Ave. on the second floor of Ponce City Market after moving from Charleston, South Carolina. In 2019, Wilkins was a semifinalist in the James Beard Award's Outstanding Baker category, and Bon Appetit named Root Baking Co. one of the 50 nominees for America's Best New Restaurants.

Pizza Jeans will be the second spot in Ponce City Market to serve pizza; Brezza Cucina, which opened in Ponce City Market in 2015, also has several pizza options on its menu.

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