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The Orland Park Prairie 110917

20 | November 9, 2017 |

20 | November 9, 2017 | The orland park prairie Dining Out The Dish Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza comes to Orland Park Franchise made famous by Florida focuses on Italian, New York traditions Bill Jones, Editor Chicago-area folks can be particular about their pizza. We like sausage and green peppers, on everything. Pepperoni is allowed. But start talking about shrimp or pineapple and you better have a solid exit strategy. We give props reluctantly to the Windy City’s elite counterpart in New York, but the very notion that other places in the nation may have figured out how to replicate the culinary wonders of the pie is like telling us a Loch Ness Monster really was spotted in the latest blurry photograph. “Yeah, OK.” And when it comes to pizza from the lower half of either of the coasts, no one in their right mind should even try to start that conversation. With that, I present to you Orland Park’s latest: an Italian-inspired pie by way of Brooklyn’s coal-fired ovens from a company started in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza opened its doors Oct. 30 at Orland Park Crossing, its walls lined with both New York icons and Miami Dolphins Hall-of-Famer Dan Marino, who is involved with the business and sees his name appear alongside two eggplant dishes on the menu. Its slogan, a simple pun: Pizza well done. While the company started in Florida, Brett Damato, a regional manager for Anthony’s and a Long Island native, said what it offers is “authentic to Italian roots” modified by the Brooklyn style of coal ovens that Large meatballs with ricotta cheese, bathing in a tomato sauce, are served in orders of two, four or a bucket of 13 on the Anthony’s Originals portion of the menu. founder Anthony Bruno grew to love in New York. “We’re bringing our roots here,” Damato said of the chain. And Anthony’s is sticking to what made it famous on the East Coast. Patrons will not find a cheap imitation of Chicago deep dish inside of its walls. “It’s not what we do,” General Manager Annie Schwartz said. “Thin crust. Well done.” The method is key. Anthony’s uses an oven that burns coal — nothing more, nothing less. And its cooks constantly move the pizzas to create a deeply dark crust. “It’s got such a color underneath,” Schwartz said. Anthony’s flies in its tomatoes from Italy for its sauce, after Bruno finds a farm he likes and buys it out for the entire year. It uses only Grande mozzarella, buys only the full wheels of pecorino Romano and Filippo Berio olive oil. Meatballs are always hand-rolled. And those ingredients are applied with balance, rather than quantity, in mind. The Anthony’s Originals portion of the menu offers just two franchise staples: coal oven-roasted chicken wings, served with caramelized onions and focaccia bread, and meatballs with ricotta cheese, slowly cooked in a tomato sauce. “The wings, I think they’re life-changing,” Schwartz said, noting they are marinated for 24 hours and baked, rather than fried. Anthony’s Classic Italian Salad comes in two sizes, with an option of cheese, but only a house dressing. The Italian Soul Food features three items, and diners also have three sandwich options, but only one choice for dessert: New York-style cheesecake (obviously). “We have a very simple menu,” Schwartz said. “There’s not pastas or any of that. Simplicity is how we do it. ... Less is more here. “This menu is Anthony’s culture. These meatballs are The meatballs and ricotta pizza is one of the specialty pies offered at Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza in Orland Park. Photos by Bill Jones/22nd Century Media Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza 14205 S. LaGrange Road in Orland Park Hours • 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday • 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday For more information ... Web: Phone: (708) 873-7900 Anthony’s mother’s.” Anthony’s is proud of its Floridian roots, and Marino lends his name to both the eggplant Marino as well as a specialty pizza made with the same thinly sliced eggplant, layered with tomato sauce and grated Romano cheese. The catering packages even play on Marino’s jersey number, with a package priced at $13 per person. And a bucket of 13 meatballs at Anthony’s is fondly referred to as a “Dan Marino dozen.” “He’s actually been with us since we opened the second The cooking space at Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza reaches 800 degrees. Anthony’s,” Schwartz said, noting Marino was a regular of Bruno’s Runway 84 restaurant before that. “A lot of the menu items stem from there.” Schwartz started with the company eight-and-a-half years ago, while in college, in Florida, and said research led to the 65th store in the franchise opening Orland Park, making it the first of at least three spots planned for Illinois. “I think they needed something like this out here,” Schwartz said of the concept. “It’s nice to be in another end of the world.” The Orland Park spot has a bar and roughly 20 tables in its 3,000-square-foot space, allowing it to feel cozy, “like home,” according to Schwartz. And Damato said he hopes that is what Orland Park becomes for Anthony’s and its roughly 50 employees. “We felt like Orland was a great town to be in,” he said. If Orland Park is wise, it might just want to swallow its Chicago pizza pride along with a slice at Anthony’s. Local Living the orland park prairie | November 9, 2017 | 21