Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza is a chain that started in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, in 2002. They opened a number of restaurants in Florida, then in Las Vegas, as the first outside Florida. Ten days ago they opened their 2nd outside Florida--in Delaware about a half mile south of the PA line on US 202. We went for dinner tonight, and I spoke to a few of the staff re coal. The waitresses, obviously, had no interest whatsoever in the coal part of it but, to their credit, did
know that they cook with anthracite. They had no idea whether they used bagged or bulk coal (even asking them the question drew embarrassed expressions from my family
). Afterwards I spoke to the host who said they used bagged, but didn't know the brand. They load the oven in AM (restaurant opens at 11:30) and again at 3 PM. Close at 10 PM.
They serve a thin crust, NY style pizza. Great, simple sauce that is not overcooked/overspiced, and quality cheese. They do a lot more in their two ovens than pizza. One oven, for pizza, is higher temp than the second, which is used for sandwiches, calzone, and very good chicken wings (yes, baked not fried, with onions and peppers). Also, we had a very good eggplant marinara side dish with flat bread baked in the pizza oven.
I took a few iPhone pictures (low light, limited quality). I like their saying at the bottom of the receipt which refers to the availability of gift certificates: "Give the Gift of Coal". The second pic, of the pizza oven, is shot from a distance and it may be hard to see that they pile the coal on the right side of the oven--I'm guessing about 80-100 pounds--and slide the pizzas in the center or left side of the oven. I saw them rotating the pizza during the baking process, presumably to prevent one side from being more burnt than the other. The outer edges (not the bottom) of the crust tends to be very dark if not burnt--but the body of the pie is cooked perfectly.
I like the little bit of education about coal that the operation does. The website ( http://www.anthonyscoalfiredpizza.com/index.html
) touches on environmental issues and tries to dispel popular myths about the clean-ness of (anthracite) coal. After all the crap that gets spewed about coal, I think it's helpful for the public to be (and even eat) in a clean environment where coal is utilized in production.
For anyone who might want to try it, it's about 15 minutes north of Rt 95 (in Wilmington) on US 202, and about 2 hours from anthracite country. Certainly worth going a bit outside your route if you're anywhere close.
(Richard: Sorry if posted on wrong forum)