Sadly homophobia still exists even in the liberal service industry. We recently approached a notable restaurant about hosting our LGBT professional networking group and they refused.

We then anonymously asked if they would host a “straight” retirement party — same date, size and price point — and they accepted.  Why would you not want to host a group of professional LGBTs who are bar friendly?

But luckily, that wasn’t the case at Double Zero Napoletana on Roswell Road. Their response to hosting the Atlanta Executive Network and Atlanta Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce last month was not chilly and elusive but extremely excited.

Perfect 10s for Double Zero

The event was a complete success. They provided light appetizers which you can order when you go. The base was their artisanal hearth-baked ciabatta bread – crusty on the outside with a soft, airy, almost sourdough interior. When you order the pizza you will enjoy the same hearth-baked bread.

How is the food? This is elevated Italian and Double Zero is sublime perfection in every way. We sampled crab stuffed sautéed calamari, vegetarian pasta tossed with a sherry mushroom cream and rich polenta baked in a cast iron skillet.

Double Zero also offers simple tomato basil and fresh mozzarella pizza which we paired with a fresh watermelon salad tossed with many other ingredients including carrots, turnips, candied pistachio nuts and porcini “dirt.” We split both and had a stellar meal for under $20.

Also noteworthy were seared scallops accompanied by a fennel and orange salad and my new favorite Lobster Pappardelle pasta — wide ribbons of scratch made pasta tossed with luxurious butter poached Main lobster, fresh corn, basil and a lobster wine sauce.

Double Z serves up a perfect juxtaposition between “down home” Southern Italian and chef-driven sophistication.

Double Zero Napoletana
5825 Roswell Road
Sandy Springs, GA 30328

— Rob Andrews

5 Napkin’s ‘butcher shop chic’

Located at the very gay corner of 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue, 5 Napkin Burger opened for dinner service on Monday, Aug. 15, and will add lunch and brunch services soon.

The extensive renovation of what was Nickiemoto’s has resulted in what 5 Napkin calls “butcher shop chic.” While some of the location’s old sushi regulars might recognize elements of the floor plan, the space is truly revamped and felt very cosmopolitan. According to the company, the restaurant will seat 100 inside and 40 outside.

Despite the heavy crowd for the preview dinner we attended, our reservation was filled promptly after a brief stop at the bar. Limited to specialty drinks and draft beer on opening night, we tried the frozen strawberry mojito, thyme lemonade and spicy watermelon drinks. Each was unique with fresh ingredients.

Looking over the appetizer menu, the three of us were quick to find several items that suited our tastes: hot spinach and artichoke dip with endives and french bread crostini, cornmeal crusted onion rings and a combo platter of sushi. Of the three apps, we’d recommend the dip as our favorite.

Each of the three of us ordered burgers: one “Original 5 Napkin Burger,” a bacon and cheddar burger and, for a twist, an ahi tuna burger. Prices ranged from $13.95 to $15.95.

The beef was rich and the toppings well-seasoned. The best of the three by far was the bacon and cheddar burger. Gourmet flavor? Absolutely. Best burger ever? We’ll let you decide.

We also tried three desserts — the cheesecake, the expresso brownie sundae and the chocolate milkshake — with the cheesecake rating at the top of our list.

5 Napkin Burger
990 Piedmont Ave.
Atlanta, GA 30309

— Bo Shell