Italian Restaurant Nina & Rafi Opens on Atlanta’s Beltline
Nina & Rafi, the Old Fourth Ward Italian restaurant and bar from restaurateur and bar aficionado Billy Streck of Hampton + Hudson and Anthony Spina of O4W Pizza, soft opened in December along the Atlanta BeltLine’s Eastside trail. Today, the duo announces its opening, including the full menu, hours, and lunch service.
Located in the new phase of Studioplex called “SPX Alley” (661 Auburn Avenue NE, Atlanta, GA, 30312), the restaurant’s menu features Italian-American comfort food, including famed pizzas from Spina’s nationally renowned O4W Pizza, Italian snacks to start, salads, parmesan heroes, and Italian specialties—lasagna, chicken parmesan, and eggplant parmesan—available after 5 p.m. Homestyle pizzas are handcrafted to order and take an average of 30 minutes; the menu offers plenty of drinks and apps in the meantime! Vegan and gluten-free options are also available, and pizzas can be ordered for pick-up.
Curated by Beverage Director Corey Phillips, the bar offers craft and Italian beers on draft and in cans and bottles, as well as a selection of Italian wines – red, white, sparkling, orange, and rosé. A tight cocktail list rotates regularly, and the full bar features a very large selection of Amara and Italian spirits.
The restaurant’s design is a collaboration among Billy and Jenn Streck, Anthony Spina, and local Atlanta firm Smith Hanes Studio. Offering a casual yet elegant ambience, design features include vintage lighting, banquette seating, wood and tile floors, and exposed brick. The open kitchen allows visitors to see chefs in action alongside four PizzaMaster ovens—some of the only in the nation. The restaurant faces the Atlanta BeltLine’s Eastside Trail, and guests can watch passersby through expansive steel-frame garage doors that open up to patio seating.
Nina & Rafi is a tribute to Streck’s and Spina’s grandmothers—Nina and Rafi—and their upbringings in New Jersey and New York. Both grew up eating grandma-style pies in their family pizzerias. Spina learned to make Jersey-style pizza side-by-side with his uncle in Red Bank, New Jersey. He cooked in his home state for two decades before moving to Atlanta and opening O4W Pizza on Atlanta’s Irwin Street in January 2015. He moved the concept to downtown Duluth in September 2016. O4W Pizza has become recognized as one of the best pizzerias in the country. Zagat named O4W Pizza among the “15 Must-Try Pizza Joints Across the U.S.” It’s on Eater’s list of “Essential Atlanta Restaurants,” The Daily Meal’s “Best Pizzas in America for 2017” and FirstWeFeast’s “Best Pizza From Each of the 50 States.”
A New York native and self-described Southerner at heart, Billy Streck also grew up hanging out in his grandfather’s and dad’s pizzeria. He remembers eating “grandma-style” pizza throughout his childhood and has long looked for the right partner to open a pizza joint with. He’s been a friend of Spina’s for years. Streck has over 20 years’ experience in the restaurant industry and 10 years under his belt as a bar and restaurant owner. He and his wife Jenn own community bar and restaurant Hampton + Hudson in Inman Park, and he is co-owner of the Atlanta classic Cypress Street Pint & Plate.
For parking, guests can opt to park on the street on Auburn Avenue or pay to park in the parking deck at SPX Alley or in the corner lot on Krog St. and Irwin St. Street parking is also available on Edgewood Avenue—to access the restaurant below, guests can walk down the steps to the BeltLine.