Pizza really is just an open-faced hot sandwich on flatbread, and sandwiches can be loaded with anything. International city that it is, Atlanta is home to pizza topped with Indian chicken 65, Mexican birria and Korean marinated steak. Here are some treatments that’ll make tried-and-true pepperoni seem like a plain Jane.
Rice N’ Pie
The husband-and-wife team of Gopala and Sirisha Kurra bakes pies that are the equivalent of a visit to an Indian spice market. That said, the Kurras are nothing if not cosmopolitan — at their restaurant, you’ll find jerk-chicken pizza with prickly scotch bonnets, Thai pizza with green chiles and cilantro, and Korean barbecue chicken, along with tikka, masala, green chile and butter (as in butter chicken) toppings.
As a fan of fiery chicken 65, I had to try it on pizza, and I’m so glad I did. I chose fresh jalapeño and cilantro as my two additional complimentary toppings, and loved how the oven blast gave the chicken just a bit more char. The Kurras describe their pizzas as Detroit-style; indeed, the rectangular pies are thick, chewy, cheesy and just a little fricoed at the edge.
Also quite good was the chatpata chat pie. A unique creation that riffs on the savory Indian street snack known as chat, it’s topped with potato, bell pepper, onion, green chutney, tamarind chutney, fresh cilantro and the crunchy, ramen-like dry noodles known as sev. It’s all dusted, of course, with chat masala.
3980 Peachtree Industrial Blvd., Berkeley Lake. 770-302-0320, ricenpie.com
Pizza in Atlanta
The Spring Dining Guide from The Atlanta Journal Constitution is devoted to the best pizza pies, pizza places and pizza makers in metro Atlanta.
Birria, the traditional Mexican stew of goat, and sometimes beef, is a noticeable taco trend. At this casual spot, you can get a brick-oven pizza with beef birria meat and a cup of consommé for dipping. A medium pie, large enough to feed three people, is $26.
Pizza Chelas also serves pizza topped with asada, al pastor, pollo and chorizo. It’s the kind of easygoing spot where friends gather over beer, micheladas and pizza for Saturday afternoons that seem to go on for days.
3907 Burns Road NW, Lilburn. 678-696-9817, instagram.com/pizzachelas
Joy Pizza N Joy Chicken
Think of it as a Korean fried chicken and beer shop, with pizza. Along with the usual Hawaiian, pepperoni, cheese and so forth, there are pies with decidedly Korean twists — Korean beef, potato and sweet potato with mousse in the crust. If potato pizza sounds a little lackluster, know that it’s also topped with green pepper, corn, ham and pineapple.
Another one that caught our eye was snowing shrimp pizza, adorned with cooked shrimp, flaky crabmeat, sliced smoked ham, pineapple, onion, black olive and Parmesan. Puffed up with brown chewy edges, it was tasty, loads of fun, and certainly made me want to try more Korean-style pies.
While you can get fried chicken and pizza combos, what’s not on the menu is pizza topped with Korean fried chicken, and I think a pie with popcorn chicken would be the best of both worlds. But, who cares what I think? The server laughed when I asked about such a possibility.
10820 Abbotts Bridge Road, Johns Creek. 770-813-8882, talech.com/biz/ordering/889126/JOY-PIZZA-N-JOY-CHICKEN-JOHNS-CREEK-GA#/menu
Also keep in mind:
Tandoori Pizza & Wing Co.
A spinoff of Archna Becker’s Bhojanic, the casual Colony Square restaurant offers 10-inch naan-bread pizzas with such toppings as chicken tikka and turkey sausage kabobs.
1197 Peachtree Road NE, Atlanta. 404-228-7941, bhojanic.com
Green tomato, bacon jam, fried Vidalia petals: A national chain it may be, but Emmy has taken care to customize some of its white, Detroit-style pies with Southern flair. There’s also a cheeseburger pie and Korean chicken with buttermilk blue and radishes.
475 Bill Kennedy Way SE, Atlanta. 470-610-0100; and 1009 Marietta St. NW, Atlanta. 470-617-1160, emmysquaredpizza.com
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