Former Miami Dolphins quarterback and Pittsburgh native Dan Marino may never have won a Super Bowl, but he has certainly won the heart of this columnist.
The other day I ran into my godmother, who could not stop raving about the pizza and wings from Anthony’s. She informed us that Marino was the owner.
Frankly, I groaned. I thought the last thing we needed in this area is another pizza and wing joint. Plus, we already have Ditka’s. How many former professional athlete restaurants with Western Pennsylvania roots do we need in one community? What’s next? The Joe Namath Pancake House?
My godmother saw my eyes rolling back into my head but cautioned me that this place is different. The pizza is New York-style and is prepared in a coal-fired oven at 800 degrees.
Well now, she had me. I adore New York-style pizza. She explained that most everything on the menu is cooked in the coal-fired ovens, including the wings, which are served with caramelized onions and focaccia bread.
Baked wings? Tell me more, my fairy godmother! They’re considered Italian-style wings, she explained, and they’re so tasty they don’t even need dipping sauce. Suddenly I knew exactly what my mother and I were having for dinner.
I strolled in about 6:30 on a Wednesday night, and the place was packed. There was a 30-minute waiting time for a table and no open seats at the bar. We took the grub to go.
We ordered a traditional pie, which came with mozzarella, plum tomatoes, Romano cheese, basil and olive oil, and a small order of the wings.
The young woman waiting on me was uncharacteristically happy for someone working at a busy restaurant. I asked her why the wings don’t come with dipping sauce.
These wings, she informed me, are marinated for a full 24 hours in olive oil and lemon, along with salt and pepper, before being cooked in the coal oven.
“You don’t need sauce for our wings,” she assured me. "Their flavor speaks for itself."
I thought to myself either this kid is easily impressed or these wings are going to be spectacular. The kid was right. Best restaurant wings ever!
They were so good the pizza actually took second place, but the pizza was also awesome.
Neither the wings nor the pizza made me feel like I was loading up on tons of calories. I don’t know if there’s such a thing as healthy pizza, but it sure seems that way at Anthony’s.
I should also comment on the ambiance. It reminded me of being in Providence, RI on Federal Hill in the Italian section of town. It was so East Coast Italian… Sinatra and Martin were playing in the background. I was in Italian-girl Heaven.
Dear reader, I’m not going to lie to you. I was very tempted never to write of Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza. I thought, if it’s already packed on a random Wednesday night then what will happen if word gets out about how amazing the food is? I’ll never get a table.
If there was a Lombardi Trophy for the best pizza and wings, Dan Marino would finally have his Super Bowl ring.