When a pizza place opens in Fairfield County, people usually have this exchange: Person #1: “Did you see a new pizza place is opening up?” Person #2: “Another one?”
It is true, this area is littered with some really extraordinary spots to grab a slice so when “another one” opens, we expect it to be stellar. Bring on the restaurant chain Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza that opened in Darien earlier this month in the space that was Centro and Harper’s after that. While the Food Dudes love the mom & pop pizza joints, we gave Anthony’s a real chance and were glad we did.
With Damion in tow, we arrived at Anthony’s on the night after their opening and the place was packed tight. Families, couples, and tables of friends all wanted to give the new kid a shot. A busy, bustling restaurant is a wonderful scene that never gets old and Anthony’s coal oven and pizza making area gave all customers something to watch and marvel about. With a 45 minute wait we just stood around and watched pizzas get put in and get served up blistering hot out of that 800 degree coal oven. Many customers waited at the bar where Anthony’s features craft beer like Blue Point, Southern Tier, Magic Hat, and more with mixed drinks available as well.
As our appetites grew and we got to our table, it was time to wreck some pizza. We ordered a large with half pepperoni, half sausage (pork toppings rule), and a small specialty pie with meatballs and ricotta. We shoveled in slice after slice deciding what we liked best about Anthony’s pizza. First, it was thin, crispy but chewy, and that charred pattern rocks. The toppings were not scarce either. The pepperoni was stacked up and the sausage was flavorful. The meatball pie was not to be outdone with the mini meatballs scattered all over with dollops of ricotta cheese.
We also sampled a classic Italian salad which we found to be underwhelming and basic with just iceberg lettuce, olives, tomatoes, egg, onions, and vinaigrette. We quickly forgot about the salad when the kitchen sent over a free sample of their wonderful coal oven roasted wings. The wings came out with caramelized onions on top of them and the wings themselves were moist with blistered skin and oh so good. Next time forget the free sample, I plan on ordering a 10 piece and not sharing.
The menu at Anthony’s is compact but features other items like a coal oven roast beef sandwich, calzones, pork ribs with vinegar peppers, meatballs with ricotta cheese, eggplant Marino (named after partner and former Dolphin’s QB Dan Marino perhaps?), and broccoli rabe & sausage. Prices are reasonable but pizza will cost you a bit if you’re a toppings fiend. A small starts at $12.25, a large at $15.25, and when paying $2.75 for the first topping and $1.50 for each additional topping, it can add up.
The Food Dudes liked Anthony’s and do plan on going back. Was it the best pizza in the area? No. But one thing is certain…the Norwalk area around Exit 14 and Darien needed a good, thin crust pizza place that was family friendly, and Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza filled that void.