This is the neighborhood pizza joint we long for. There's a rotating beer selection, glorious ice cream and a friendly environment to go with our slice. Wait, let's make that a whole pie.Ah, the ol' neighborhood pizza joint. It's where we head after long days at the pool, frustrating days at work and, well, pretty much any day we can find an excuse. And Empire State Pizza + Hot Dogs is the epitome of that idyllic neighborhood pizza spot. When we stopped in on a sunny Friday afternoon, the cozy place was hoppin' with regulars who come often enough that owner Todd knows each of them by name. Speaking of names, "Empire State" has a special significance for Todd, as it's one of his first memories of moving to Georgia. As a child, he did a report on our fair state, and learned that it had been dubbed, "Empire State of the South." And the rest, they say, is pizza.
Pizza which, by the way, is nothing like that cheese-and-toppings-sliding-off stuff found at fast food joints. That's because Empire State is focused on quality, from the pizzas to the salads to the rotating beer selection. As Todd says, "I like to think you can feel the love in our food." We can, Todd. And it tastes great. He's in the shop early every day, making dough and sauce from scratch, crafting crowd favorites like the San Gerrano Pizza (with artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, sundried tomatoes, tomatoes, black olives and feta), which somehow taste even better than they sound. As one regular explained, "The pizza's great, and we're treated like family. Not to mention, we know that the beer will always be good, and always be cold." Can't ask for much more than that, now can ya?
Large Hell's Kitchen Salad, $9
Fried Chicken Wings, 10 for $8.25
Coney Island Dog, $2.50
San Genarro Pizza, $15.94 (12") / $17.94 (16") / $21.94 (20")
Brooklyn Baked Ziti, $9.99
Monday, noon to 9 p.m.
Tuesday - Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday noon. to 10 p.m.