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2532 N McMullen Booth Road  -  Clearwater, FL 33761   -  (727) 797-0929

It was Friday night and Anthony’s is located in North Clearwater on McMullen-Booth Rd, between Enterprise and Eastland created with the thought of one area with something for everyone as far as food goes.  Last time I saw something like that was at a Food Truck Roundup.

If you are hungry, thats the location to start at.  Its mecca for restaurants.  Just about every food creation from Starbucks, Pappas, The Pickles Plus, Bonefish, the Broken Egg Cafe, The Caramel Kitchen, The Ocean Blue,  Jimmy Johns, Greek, Sushi, Jersey Mikes Appleby’s and within one half mile another ten brands and all the big and little names taking up just about every spare space.

CORPORATE HISTORY   By Anthony’s  —  "What started out as a single-restaurant concept back in 2002, has grown,   Anthony Bruno, who grew up on Long Island in a traditional Italian family, could not find a good, authentic pizza when he moved to Florida, so he made his own”.  Now, he’ll tell you the “ Best pizza in New York comes from Florida.”

With a focus on fresh ingredients and authentic recipes, Anthony’s signature menu includes traditional and specialty pizzas with dough made daily and stretched to order; fresh coal oven roasted chicken wings; large homemade meatballs made from a recipe passed down from Anthony’s grandmother; a classic Italian salad and Eggplant Marino (a favorite of NFL Hall of Fame legend and restaurant partner Dan Marino).

Growing up on Long Island in a traditional Italian family, Anthony’s passion for great food started at a very young age. His father, Anthony Sr., having worked in restaurants throughout his life, had a dream to open his own restaurant. That dream became a reality when the family moved to South Florida in 1982 and father and son debuted Anthony’s Runway 84, a full-service Italian restaurant and lounge near the Fort Lauderdale airport.   More than three decades later, Anthony’s Runway 84 remains one of the area’s most celebrated and popular restaurants.

Anthony’s vision was to create coal oven pizza delivering a crisp, well done taste, that rivaled the ones he enjoyed while growing up in New York. Armed with authentic recipes that had been passed down through generations, Anthony launched his first location in Fort Lauderdale.  It does taste different from the commercial stuff, feels more Italian --

  I love corporate stories written by people paid to make things sound good always stunningly positive and unique… in most cases it’s what I term corpo-guano. Well, not in this case… because the story is true, I check corporate findings, holdings, partners and statements.  The food is different here. 

Everything on the menu is unique and in some cases different, not what you are used to from some of the Cardboard Pizza Connoisseurs ( CPC Joints)  Its good food, quality ingredients, and totally different in the world of pizza.  To most consumers,  who don’t know, Pizza started its life as a cheap food made from leftovers in Italy.  

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DIFFERENT —  ANTHONY’S  theory on Pizza Correctness works differently.  The dough is merely a pallet that gets painted on.  Not just covered up as in conventional pizza.   Regular pizza has a thicker base, it’s only flour water oil and yeast, a minimum of sauce and then cheese and the kitchen sink dropped on top composed of various ingredients of you’re choosing.

Their thin hard  “pallet”  is a thin crust and the ingredients piled on top cover the pallet.  You can taste the ingredients since they are not buried in the cheese, and stay in their natural state.  The dough is not a distraction.   The ingredients are the stars in this show, not the dough, nor the cheese.  

I love the commercials for Pizza that declare they have more cheese and more pepperoni for six dollars.  It took a Zantac and two TUMS for that excursion.  Inexpensive cheese and Pepperoni sliced super thin so it covers.

Tremendous heat from the oven.   More like a blast furnace.  Topping it off is the (guessing very high temperature) coal fired oven which creates a unique flavor almost a “ Bark” or well done crust.  Bark is a term used a lot in barbecue for the outer layer.   The edge becomes well done and crisp.

THEIR VERSION OF WINGS    Their wings which we had to try were unique.  I’m doing a thing here called “ Wing wars in the Bay”.   These are not wings you have had before.  Most wings are merely the end result of nine minutes in a deep fryer, at 350-375 drip dried and a bottle of spicy hot sauce in varying degrees dumped and shook till fully covered in volcano juice and then off to your table.

ANTHONY’S ORIGINAL COAL OVEN ROASTED CHICKEN WINGS are served with Caramelized Onions & Focaccia and nothing like you have had before.  They are deep baked till fully cooked on the coal fire to finish them off.  Amazing but ninety percent of their flavor came from the wings lightly seasoned, not some version of Franks Hot Sauce…or the other thousand concoctions people put on their wings. These are high temp baked wings and they are with the carmelized onions and Focaccia plate lickingly good.

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THE DIFFERENCE MAKES A DIFFERENCE  —  If you think Pizza that comes from the commercial tank track rolling ovens where your pie is made with commercial dough, globs of cheese and paper thin pepperoni, barely any sauce of any kind, is OK after being put through an assembly line oven is a big deal, you will find a Coal Fired, Anthony’s Pizza more to what you might find in Italy.

Pizza started as an American Dish, in Italy it was simply the leftovers from a meal thrown on bread , reheated and saved for lunch or a snack.  When I eat at my favorite American pizza place which is not a chain company, the pizza there is exceptional, I can never finish the whole pie and thats tomorrows lunch but the own is real picky about ingredients.

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Coal fired Pizza is different, it's thin, not a big crust dark edges, and the good parts are on the top. We had the BRAND NEW Mediterranean Large, which is about 14 inches and eight slices. It was covered in fresh dripping small tomatoes, onions, lots of olive, and artichoke hearts, lots of cheese and sauce AND NO LEFTOVERS, the first bite was a fresh as the last.

It was our first time there and the waiter explained how their philosophy is based on the quality of the add-ons, not how thick the sauce-less sauce and lesser cheese and the pie is a carrier for the treats. Again the first bite was as good as the last, almost the last bite had a lot of black olives. My partner thought it was great, she loved it , what a change from same old, same old.

Takeout, they do take reservations, but we were there on Sat night and in the entire food complex of ten restaurants, they were the only ones jammed.  Seating, Waitstaff was great serving, and the only downer was the rift over the Kentucky Derby.   Plenty of TV or eat outside, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Table Service in and out.

It was on a par with our regular Italian House Of Worship for Italian night which is once a week, either I cook or we go out, but this place has reenergized me to getting the grill going again and doing it their way.  Regular pizza from any of the chains is 6.00 for a medium cardboard pie, semi tasteless and boring.

A little pricey about 10% higher than the good chains but different enough to be worth it.  This was not a low level Pizza factory like Little Caesar.

May 26, 2019, 4:36 PM

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