On a cold and hungry night recently, I found myself craving pizza (ok, I crave pizza on pretty much any night… ) and Brandon suggested Antico Pizza, this somewhat quirky place that serves Pizza Napoletana in Atlanta’s Westside. This place regularly appears on “best pizza in the country” lists of all sorts and definitely lives up to the hype — you walk in to a small-ish place blasting old mob hits and place an order at the counter, and then take a seat at a table (most of them communal). It’s BYOB and has an open kitchen, so you can watch your pizza as it moves through the birth process, from squishy ball of dough to basically a pizza Adonis in all of its cheesy chewy glory.
Wait… now I’m thinking about pizza… ok ok back to why I’m writing about this on The Modern Socialist.
Being a food nerd, I did some research when we got home about who owned the place, how long it had been open, etc., and in the course of my searching I found this. Not only was the owner in trouble with the Department of Labor, but he also allegedly intimidated and fired people for speaking out. Serious grievances. And as Brandon pointed out in an earlier post, we have some experience with this happening at another place in Atlanta. I would have chosen a different restaurant that night had I known this in advance.
So what to do? It would be great if restaurants had to list their Labor grade right alongside their Health grade, framed on the wall, but they don’t. The best we can do as consumers is to do a little research, and follow up on that, write an email to the address listed on the website for Antico’s groups of restaurants, outlining the issues with their practices. It seems like it may be the case that the owner, from Italy, was breaking our labor laws unintentionally (and Italian labor laws are really different from ours, I just listened to this podcast and was quite surprised) but we as consumers have to push back, educate, and vote with our dollars. I don’t want to see the business go under, but I do want the workers to be treated fairly. Among other things, this makes my pizza taste better. And as I’ve said, I really love pizza.