Written by Karen Gellender Friday, 12 August 2011 00:00
“We do it old school; very high quality. We have a very focused menu – we don’t have 100 items on our menu, so that we might lose sight of the pizza. We just concentrate on the pizza,” said Bruno at the restaurant’s Monday, Aug. 8 grand opening. The Woodbury location represents the chain’s 28th location, and its third in New York State. A Carle Place location opened within the past year at the Country Glen Shopping Center on Old Country Road.
Though originally from Franklin Square, Bruno got started in the restaurant business decades ago in South Florida with Runway 84, a full-service Italian restaurant in Fort Lauderdale. Wanting to bring the taste of the New York-style pizza he grew up with to the area, in 2002 he opened the first Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza location just around the corner from his first restaurant. The different style of pizza caught on, and before long Bruno was offering his personal blend of “Italian Soul Food” at venues all over the East Coast.
Anthony’s is known for cooking pizza “well-done” in anthracite coal-burning ovens that can reach 800 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s also known for signature menu items, like the “Eggplant Marino,” an eggplant and basil-topped pizza named after retired Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino, a friend of Bruno’s and a partner in the restaurant chain.
Marino, who was on hand for Monday’s invitation-only grand opening celebration, said that he always used to order eggplant on his pizza when he visited a Florida Anthony’s location with his children, and one day, Bruno asked him if they could name the dish after him. Why not? “We just went with it,” said Bruno. Marino went on to comment with a smile that his children are now much bigger than the days when the “Eggplant Marino” was a brand-new menu item. The NFL Hall-of-Fame player signed autographs for football fans and chatted with guests about the upcoming season.
Other signature dishes include Roasted Cauliflower Pizza for vegetarians (roasted cauliflower with olive oil and garlic, romano and mozzarella cheese, topped off with breadcrumbs), Broccoli Rabe and Sausage, and Coal Oven Roasted Chicken Wings, served with caramelized onions and focaccia bread. The recipe for the chicken wings is said to originate with Grandma Bruno.
According to Bruno, there are plans in the works to host fundraisers for local organizations at the restaurant, but it was too early to give any specifics. “We always get involved in the community,” said the founder. Naturally, the venue will also host parties and offer catering.
However for right now, Bruno said he was happy to be back home on Long Island. “It’s great to be back in New York.” For more information, or to see a menu, visit www.anthonyscoalfiredpizza.com.