Ok, so hear us out. We’ve never been fans of chain restaurants for a few reasons. Usually, you’re served up sodium and preservative laden frozen meals that are so blah that you feel robbed of your calorie allowance for the day. But we pushed these thoughts aside for Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza because a bunch of people recommended it, including Froggy on the Z100 morning show who said he was in love with their pizza. Plus, Anthony’s twitter manager had been twalking us (Twitter stalking duh) to get us to try out their pies, so we had to oblige!
When we got to this new Darien spot, owned by Anthony Bruno and Dan Marino of the Miami Dolphin’s, we were sooooo hungry. So needless to say we were a little bummed when we were told there was a 40 minute wait, but then totally happy again when the wait only turned out to be 20 minutes. Love when that happens! Plus, it was just enough time for us to pick out what we were going to eat. Yeah, if you’re a serious eater, that’s the strategy: get the menu while you wait. So here’s the play by play…
Game plan: some roasted chicken wings, Anthony’s Classic Italian Salad, and the Paul & Young Ron pizza. Oh and craft beers, duh.
As we sat down, our very friendly server Tara told us about Anthony’s, in short: always fresh, never frozen and “pizza well done.” More on the well done part in a sec. Lucky for us, from 4-7 you can get $1 off draft beers, so you best believe we partook in some hoppiness. Hoppiness, is a cold beer after all (get it?). I asked for a Hooker, a Blonde one in fact, and yes I giggled when I ordered it. Danny went with Blue Point Brewery from Long Island — the Hoptical Illusion and the Toasted Lager.
Touchdown: Oven Roasted Chicken Wings
These wings are great, but they’re not your typical chicken wing at all. Before they even roast them in their 800 degree coal oven, they marinate them overnight in salt, pepper, and rosemary. The results? The outside of the wings are crispy, a bit charred, and are full of flavor, especially with hints of rosemary. The inside of the wings were nice and juicy, too. Yeah, so the wings were great, but then they add on about 30 lbs. of beautifully caramelized onions. Awww yeah my favorite. For a different taste, put some of the onions on the wings, then chomp down. Also, try the same thing with the focaccia bread. We will definitely order these again.
20 Yard Gain: Anthony’s Classic Italian Salad with mozzarella
On the menu it says, “Enough for Two,” but we have to disagree. It’s probably enough for four. :) The salad was piled on with lettuce, eggs, chickpeas, olives, red onion, tomato, celery, and some mozzarella. They serve it up with a nice golden Italian dressing that has just the right balance of flavors. Overall a much bigger, heartier salad than what most pizza joints serve up.
Field Goal: Paul & Young Ron Pizza
So, back to their slogan: ”Pizza Well Done.” Basically, they just cook the pie until the crust becomes thick and not floppy, which, in a coal oven, usually means the outside is cooked well done, with a bit of char. If you don’t like pizza cooked this way, you won’t like Anthony’s. But if you do, you’ll like how crispy and thick this crust is. It’s definitely not the kind of crust you’ve seen from places like Pepe’s or Colony Grill. We’d say it’s a medium thickness, putting it somewhere between Chicago style and thin crust style. It was a bit on the dry side, but not too bad.
Now, onto the toppings: meatballs, sausage, hot peppers, and ricotta. Their toppings are super big and chunky. Yeah, not the kind of place where you get a lame amount of toppings and come out disappointed. Danny said his stingers were spicy, but the peppers I had weren’t really. The sauce was zesty but didn’t overpower all the other ingredients. The meatballs were big, plump, and kept their juiciness even through the baking in the coal oven. This is definitely a hearty, hearty pie, so you’re going to fill up faster than at other pizza spots. But, that’s okay; That just means you’ve got more leftovers the next morning. In fact, Danny woke up the next day, dove right into the leftovers and declared it was really great cold, especially with the creamy ricotta. Heating it up again, the pizza was still just as good and crispy which is always nice.
The Final Score
Yeah, we dug Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza for the most part. My dad is a huge fan of pizza that’s well done, so he has already put it on his list of places for us to take him when he’s visiting. We’d come back to get those wings, get some beers, try out some of the other pizzas and definitely try the ribs which we hear are delish. If we’re ever in Darien for lunch, we’ll be sure to check out their lunch size pizzas and meals. So, this is a good place to try out, especially if you’re one of those crazy Connecticuters who like thicker crust pizza.
Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza
Address: 319 Boston Post Road, Darien, CT 06920
Phone: (203) 655 – 2625