Storico Pizza Bar is aiming for a May opening in the space at 306 Buckhead Ave. at the intersection with North Fulton Drive.
The concept includes an expanded, all-seasons patio and a “mini dog menu” of treats, given the recent opening of the Fetch Dog Park across the intersection. The idea was presented by Storico co-owner Pietro Gianni at a Jan. 5 meeting of the Development Review Committee (DRC) of Special Public Interest District 9, a design-oriented zoning area.
The restaurant group began in Garden Hills in 2009 as a handmade pasta kitchen. The first restaurant, Storico Fresco Ristorante e Alimentari at 3167 Peachtree Road in Buckhead Village, debuted in 2016.
That was followed by the restaurant Forza Storico in the Westside Provisions District mixed-use complex on Howell Mill Road. Storico Vino, a wine bar, opened in March of last year at 3065 Peachtree Road — another spot within the Buckhead Village District complex.
Biltong Bar, which featured a South African menu, had occupied the 306 Buckhead Ave. space since 2018 until its closure was announced this week. The bar and landlord Jamestown did not respond to comment requests.
The Storico concept was well-received by the DRC, which makes non-binding advisory opinions to the City. City planning official Alex Deus said the expanded patio might require a zoning variation.
Gianni told the DRC about various ways the COVID-19 pandemic has affected Storico. Before the pandemic, he said, the group was looking at expansion into Brookhaven and Vinings. Now it is refocused on Buckhead. The design of the pizza bar, with more patio space and large doors that can open for airflow between indoors and outdoors, is in part due to customers’ pandemic preferences.
Gianni said Storico is successfully avoiding the staffing shortages seen by many other businesses in the current wave of the omicron mutation of COVID-19, to the point the group is now turning down employment applications. He said the restaurants designate “pods” of employees who work together. If someone tests positive for COVID, the entire pod stays home, with pay, while another pod is rotated in to work. Storico also buys COVID tests for employees, he said.
“We’ve only had 11 cases [of employees with COVID], of which I believe… none of them were serious,” Gianni said.