Prickly Pear owners throw down a pizza gauntlet

Certain battle strategies are timeless: conceal your plans, move only when you see an advantage, and never challenge a flip-happy Snooki on the dance floor, unless you too have a really good thong-blurring technician on hand. Leveraging overwhelming size and mercenary expertise to charge into ATL's "Pizza Wars", Pie 950 Pizza Tavern.

Opening tomorrow, Pie's the newest entrant onto the crusty battlefield already populated by joints from Varasano's to Vesuvius: a 140-seat bi-level pie palace with a 25-year NYC slice vet running the kitchen, featuring a mezzanine balcony accessed by an ornate cast-iron staircase, six 50" flatscreens devoted to international soccer games, and two working 1960s Vespa scooters, which're fun to ride until Pie's owners find out, and call the cops. Pizzas're crafted with finely ground Italian "00" flour and San Marzano tomatoes, then wood-fire baked at 750 degrees for a charred crust; creations include the Bianca (olive oil, garlic, mozzarella, smoked provolone, feta, sun-dried tomato), the brunchy Bacon & Egg, the chorizo/Manchego/red bell pepper/garlic Matador, and the shrimp-topped Gulf Stream -- what top Citibank officials would order if Tim Geithner wasn't keeping them all poor. Chomp-ables outside the giant circle category include antipastis (zucchini fries, hand-rolled meatballs...), calzones like the Italia (mozzarella, ricotta, spicy Italian sausage, salami), paninis (chicken club, meatball, Caprese...), and gourmet salads like the red wine vinaigrette Tavern Chopped, with salami, chicken, Pepperoncini, garbanzos & organic "mesculin", like that stuff you tried last summer in Arizona, only with 17 fewer sagacious lizards.

The full bar's got gourmet milkshakes (Hazelnut, Key Lime Pie), Italian, Argentinean & Spanish wines, cheap drafts ($2 PBR, $4 Peroni & Abita Jockamo IPA), and 20+ craft bottles like Terrapin Sun Ray Wheat and Moretti La Rossa, brewed with aromatic hops that give it a slightly bitter aftertaste -- what Snooki was left with when the last guy she challenged proved he could flip her for real.