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Max’s Coal Oven Pizzeria

July 5, 2017

If you’ve been reading my blog, then you know that I try to put out a blog post at least once a week.  However, my posts have been absent for the past month or more.  Unfortunately, life happens.  I will continue to try to put up new posts as frequently as possible – and I have lots of posts to get too – but the rate of posting will probably slow down.  Thank you for following my blog, and I hope to continue this food journey for as long as possible.

In the fall of 2016, my husband and I took a quick 48-hour, weekend getaway to Atlanta.  While neither of us had ever been before, we made the trip specifically for one purpose, and that was to visit Zoo Atlanta, specifically to see the pandas.  Luckily, we had time to do more than just visit the zoo, including a trip to Georgia Aquarium, Centennial Park, and World of Coca-Cola.  During this whirlwind trip to Atlanta, we chose to stay at a hotel right in downtown, and without renting a car, we were semi-limited to where we could go out and dine.  Fortunately for us, within walking distance to the hotel, there were quite a few good food options that we discovered.

My husband discovered Max’s Coal Over Pizzeria right in the heart of downtown Atlanta.  Max’s claim to fame is to be the only coal-oven pizzeria in the entire state of George.  This pizza joint specializes in New York-style thin and crispy pizzas that they’ve been serving up since 2009.  With indoor and outdoor seating, the atmosphere is electric, fun and relaxed.  This is the perfect neighborhood pizza joint to stroll into for a good pie topped with Max’s own secret recipe red sauce.  There’s also built-in entertainment with an open kitchen as you can watch pizza dough being thrown until its paper thin, your pizza being made to order, and the awesome power of the coal-oven pizza as it bakes your pizza pie to perfection.

Before starting with a pizza, we decided to order an appetizer of garlic knots served with marinara sauce to get our evening going.  Exactly as described, these were garlic knots!  Bread dough literally tied into a knot, or a bow, then brushed with garlic butter and parmesan cheese, baked to a perfect golden brown, topped with more garlic butter and sprinkled with chopped parsley and served with a dipping bowl of marinara sauce, these knots were delicious and hearty.  The knots had a garlic flavor to them, but without being so overpowering.  It was a good combination of garlic and butter to add a hint of sweetness and make it so that the bread was flavorful and not dry.  The dough was perfect, crispy and crunchy on the outside and airy and light on the inside so that it wasn’t dense.  Five garlic knots to one order of garlic knots was just perfect as an appetizer for the two of us to split.

When it came to pizza, Max’s is very clear that they only make one size of pizza, no matter what the toppings you want.  Their pizza’s come in 12″ round, which is then cut into 6 slices per pizza, no deviations whatsoever.  Surprisingly, my husband suggested ordering a pizza that I had my eye on, but wasn’t sure he’d want.  He later admitted that since we’d be splitting one pizza, it was easier to order something I would enjoy rather than trying to make me conform to something he’d like more.  So we ordered a non-traditional arugula & proscuitto pizza.  Hey, after all, I am a fancy California girl, and arugula is something you commonly find on pizzas here in California.  Made with a blend of ricotta and mozzarella cheese, the pizza is then topped with parmesan and proscuitto and dressed with a lemon pepper vinaigrette arugula salad.  One bite into the pizza and you discover a couple of things.  First, the coal fired dough is fabulous.  The dough is chewy around the crust, but with a crispy burnt coal-fire flavor on the bottom of the pizza, which my husband and I love.  The sauce for the pizza is subtle and delicious, not at all overwhelming or too acidic from the tomatoes.  The prosciutto gives the pizza the light salty flavor it needs to balance out the other strong flavors.  The combination of the mozzerella and the ricotta is terrific, both very light and mild cheeses, the ricotta gives the pizza a slightly different texture then your average pizza which generally would only feature mozzarella.  And the flavor of the arugula salad with its lemon pepper vinaigrette is vibrant and bright and explodes on your tongue.  It’s the combination of salty prosciutto the crunch of the arugula salad, the char of the coal fire crust and the mildness of the cheeses that makes a beautiful pizza.  My husband and I just ate it up.  It was exactly what I was looking for, and I’m glad my husband indulged me and allowed me to order the kind of pizza I wanted.

 

We decided to finish off our meal at Max’s with some cannoli.  After all, when we got to any sort of an Italian restaurant, and they feature cannoli, we almost can’t resist.  How could you ever go wrong with a cannoli?  Crispy cannoli shell filled with delicious ricotta cheese filling, with chocolate chips then the whole thing is topped with chocolate sauce and powered sugar.  These were so delicious, and with three of them to an order, the biggest question was, who got the third cannoli?  Since we both wanted it, we did the fair thing and shared the third cannoli so we each got an equal amount of dessert.  Cannolis done the right way are just so delicious and delectable that they are irresistible.

My husband did good with his selection of Max’s Coal Oven Pizzeria.  As Georgia’s only coal oven pizzeria, they truly produce some terrific pizza.  The atmosphere in the restaurant was fun and casual and really revolved around the food.  This is the type of place you might see a baseball team come in to celebrate after winning a game, or a couple out on a date night looking for an old-fashioned pizza joint.  Our garlic knots were terrific and well cooked, the pizza was full of vibrant flavor and tastes, and the cannolis were the perfect way to round out our meal.  This may not be traditional Georgian food when you think of Atlanta cuisine, but this hit the spot for what we were looking for after a long night of travel and a day spent at the zoo with the animals.

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