Pizza Jeans, the neighborhood pizza spot in Ponce City Market, Tuesday announced it will move to the first floor of the mixed-use’s Central Food Hall later this summer and will remain open on the second floor until the move.
In tandem with the relocation, Billy Streck, the Atlanta restaurateur behind Hampton + Hudson, Nina & Rafi, Lyla Lila, and Pielands, and forthcoming Standard Service in Gainesville, and his childhood friend, Jeremy Gatto, will join Pizza Jeans’ Founder Chris Wilkins as operating partners. Pizza Jeans relocation plans arrive after Wilkins earlier this year closed sister eatery Root Baking Co. and hinted at changes coming soon for the pizzeria.
“Staying true to its roots and the partners’ New York state upbringings, Pizza Jeans will continue to be a neighborhood pizza spot offering whole pies, giant-sized ‘mall slices,’ a couple of great heroes and more using thoughtfully sourced, local and seasonal ingredients,” according to the release. Guests will be able to order at a counter before enjoying their meal on the go or at a bar seat or table in the Central Food Hall. Takeout and delivery will also continue.
The beverage selection will include a Frozen Jack & Coke, Spicy Paloma, and Pickleback shot with housemade pickle juice and Dickel Whiskey. They’ll also serve draft beer and wine, with an eye towards wines from woman-owned or -operated vineyards and those that employ sustainable farming practices to produce biodynamic, organic, vegan, and unfiltered wines.
“The best kind of partnerships are when skill sets complement each other,” Wilkins said. “Billy and Jeremy get the vibe of Pizza Jeans and the quality of the ingredients we’re committed to, and I’m thrilled it will live on as a neighborhood pizza spot with our community of regulars. While I’m passing the baton on the day-to-day, I’ll be a partner to help Pizza Jeans stay true to its original identity.”
Chris, Billy, and Jeremy came together as partners after a mutual friend connected them as fellow restaurant owners, around the time Pizza Jeans was founded. While Chris will continue to be involved behind the scenes, Billy and Jeremy will handle the business’s day-to-day operations. All three were born and raised in New York and are excited to join together to bring a slice of the New York pizza life to Atlanta.
“I’ve been a fan of Pizza Jeans for a long time,” Streck said. “To me, it’s like Atlanta’s CBGB’s — a lot of sass and punk rock. We’re going to keep the feel it’s known for, but offer some fun additions to the original concept.”
A New York native, family man, and self-described Southerner at heart, Billy grew up hanging out in his grandfather’s and dad’s pizzeria in New York and has fond memories of eating pizza throughout his childhood. Today, he is the owner of Hampton + Hudson with his wife Jenn Streck, nationally acclaimed pizza spot Nina & Rafi, James Beard 2022 nominee Lyla Lila with Chef Craig Richards, and the recently opened pizza, sub and slice joint Pielands. He also just announced Standard Service Restaurant & Taproom, a new concept he’s opening in late spring 2022 in Gainesville, Georgia with Ramon Ballester and Jon Kim of Pour Taproom. The restaurant that will offer 60 self-serve beers on tap plus simple, good food.
With over 30 years of experience in the restaurant industry, Jeremy will serve as Director of Operations and Partner at Pizza Jeans. He’s also the Director of Operations at Hampton + Hudson, Nina & Rafi and Pielands. A childhood friend of Billy’s, Jeremy has spent most of his restaurant career in New York. Most recently, he was with the Laurent Tourondel restaurant group and served as Director of Front of House Operations for L’Amico and The Vine in NYC, Scusi Trattoria in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, and two upcoming concepts for the group. He also spent time managing restaurants for Mario Batali and Jean Georges, and was the general manager at NYC’s famed Grand Central Oyster Bar. He has a career in food because his father once told him “people are always going to eat.” At the age of 14, he started working in the kitchen with his dad and worked in the back of house in high school and college, before moving to the front of house.
Chris is a slow food advocate and accomplished baker with two James Beard Outstanding Baker nominations under his belt. With Nicole Lewis, he originally opened Pizza Jeans as a pop-up in late 2019. It grew into a restaurant and bar in spring 2020 and since has become a beloved destination in Ponce City Market for a chill spot to grab a drink and pizza.