Everybody's Pizza, coffee house closing in Emory Village

By Kimber Williams | Emory Report | March 8, 2013

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The pizza restaurant that has served the campus community for 41 years and adjacent Steady Hand Pour House will shut their doors on March 19. Photo by Kimber Williams.

UPDATE (3/13): During the transition of tenants, Steady Hand Pour House co-owner Dale Donchey reports that the community coffee shop anticipates staying open "until mid-April, if not longer."

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A longstanding anchor of the Emory Village landscape will disappear later this month, when Everybody's Pizza closes its doors after 41 years of service to make way for a new restaurant/pub venture.

Everybody's Pizza, located at the east end of Emory Village at the intersection of North Decatur and Oxford roads, stood as an iconic and enduring presence in the business district since opening in 1971.

The closure will also impact the Steady Hand Pour House, the adjacent community coffee house that was being sublet through the restaurant. Both businesses are scheduled to close March 19.

In a press release, Everybody's Pizza owner Andy Kurlansky announced simply that he was retiring from the restaurant business: "We are proud to have served some 3 million pizzas to multiple generations of Atlantans … Here's to all who had their first dates at Everybody's, met their spouse at Everybody's, or celebrated other of life's joyous events with us.

"But most of all, we thank all of the wonderful folks who have worked with us throughout these 41 years, for they are the true heart and soul of the place."

New tenant: The Slice & Pint

Crawford Moran, a partner with 5 Seasons Brewing Company, a locally owned brewery with three Atlanta locations, confirms that he was "approached about taking over a space where the current tenant wanted to retire."

He has announced plans to use the location to open The Slice & Pint, a casual eatery that combines "the warm, welcoming spirit of a pub" with "the neighborhood charm of a pizzeria."

The Slice & Pint (also known as S & P) will offer hand-crafted pizza and beers, continuing "the tradition of making great pizza in that location," Moran says.

"We'll be making our own mozzarella cheese from scratch, using lots of local produce and meats, and of course brewing our own beer," he says. "There is a reason every culture on Earth historically has created both pizza and beer in some fashion … it's a universal constant."

The news that Emory Village is losing one of its most enduring tenants came as a shock to patrons and employees alike.

Dale Donchey, a co-owner of the Steady Hand Pour House, says the news trickled to them through an employee at Everybody's Pizza who'd been warned of pending layoffs, which will affect 35-45 employees between both establishments.

The owner-operated coffee house had just celebrated its two-year anniversary, Donchey says. "We'd built quite a good following based upon quality coffee and education," he says.

"We were looking for a place with a clientele eager to learn about quality and sustainability and a culinary experience that wasn't just a plate of food," Donchey says. "We showcased that by brewing everything to order, and felt the neighborhood, the businesses and the students (here) offered the perfect place to do that. I felt like (we were) living the dream."

Losing a landmark

On a sunny Friday afternoon, steady crowds streamed to both the restaurant and neighboring coffee shop to indulge one last time in specialty pizza or pour-over coffee.

"We couldn't believe it, this is a landmark," says Lynn Ganim, an Emory alumna who recalls frequenting Everybody's when she was pursuing her doctorate in English back in the early ‘70s.

"For years, it really was the heart of this area," adds Ganim.

From a large group of women who work in Emory's Registrar's Office — "I've been coming here for nearly 25 years," one confessed — to area businessmen and Emory newcomers who had just discovered the eatery, the news that Everybody's Pizza would be leaving was met with surprise and sadness.

"It's going to be weird — Everybody's Pizza is kind of a staple in the Village," says Emily Lanz, an Emory freshman in political science. "It was always a good place to bring a lot of people."

Patrons stopped by the Pour House throughout the day Friday to offer hugs, handshakes and condolences. "I really do consider this to be my coffeehouse," says Brent Lineberry, who works at Goizueta Business School. "I think they make the best coffee in Atlanta, hands down."

Though immediate plans are uncertain, Donchey says he and co-owner Jordan Chambers are considering plans to relocate and reopen their business.

The closures are part of a series of recent changes in Emory Village, which has seen a number of tenants turn over in the past year. Within the past two years, a handful of new eateries have opened, including Romeo's New York Pizza, Bad Dog Taqueria, Tin Drum Asia Cafe, Chipotle Mexican Grill and the Purple Corkscrew Wine Bar. The newest, Zoe's Kitchen, opened earlier this month.

In addition, the business district features a new traffic roundabout, designed to smooth traffic flow, and a new Emory Village Park, a pedestrian pocket park complete with a sculptural fountain, which is adjacent to the roundabout.