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Comings & Goings: Anthony’s Coal Fire Pizza opens in south suburbs

A new kind of pizzeria that burns coal opened this week in the Orland Park Crossing shopping center.

Florida-based Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza opened its first Illinois location on Monday at 14205 S. LaGrange Road. Two other locations are set to open next year in Lombard and Kildeer.

“We use anthracite coal that is mined for us in Pennsylvania,” said Phil Mastroianni, vice president of operations during a press preview last week. “Coal is cleaner burning and hotter. That allows our oven to get to 800 or 900 degrees because of that, which gives our pizzas a completely different flavor and texture to the dough. We’re old world artisans.”

The oven burns about 300-400 pounds of coal daily. “They start the fire in the morning and it will burn all day,” said Mastroianni.

Everything at Anthony’s with the exception of salads, desserts and its Italian tuna salad is cooked in the oven.

The menu is not extravagant but includes pizzas, chicken wings, ribs, homemade meatballs and sandwiches and what Anthony’s calls Eggplant Marino, which was named in honor of business partner and former Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino.

“It’s a simple menu that is meant to appeal to everybody,” said Mastroianni. “Our goal is good food, friendly staff and a fun experience.”

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The sausage is special made for Anthony’s and the tomatoes are grown in Italy specifically for Anthony’s, said Mastroianni. “Everything is handmade from scratch daily.”

Anthony’s was founded in 2002 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., by Anthony Bruno using his family recipes. His vision was to create coal oven pizza with a crisp, well-done taste that he enjoyed while growing up in New York.

One of his first customers was Marino, who lived in a nearby community. As the story goes, Bruno and Marino became friends and Bruno added a small room for Marino to enjoy his meals without being disturbed by other diners. Marino suggested Bruno open a location in his town so he wouldn’t have to drive to the Fort Lauderdale location. Bruno said Marino should put up some of the cash and the rest is history.

“Marino and Bruno have been partners ever since that second location,” said Brett Damato, regional manager. The Orland location is the company’s 65th site in eight states.

“We are actively looking for more locations in the Chicago area,” said Mastroianni.

“We think we can have 12 to 15 sites in Chicago,” said Damato, who oversees the Chicago and Pittsburgh markets for Anthony’s.

“My main focus has always been to create pizza that’s simultaneously unique and classic, and Chicago hasn’t seen pizza like ours yet,” said Bruno in a release. “We’re excited to integrate ourselves in Chicago’s reputation as an epicenter for quality pizza, and to introduce Midwesterners to a new pizza experience that’s simply different than what they’re used to. One of the reasons we set our sights on Chicago was because many Chicagoans travel to Florida and enjoy our coal fired specialties and now I’m excited to bring the ‘well done’ experience to them.”

Anthony’s is community-minded and holds three to four community events each month, said Mastroianni. “We give 20 percent of the proceeds back to the group,” he said. “So far, Anthony’s has donated $500,000 back to the communities we serve.”

The Orland location has full bar with wine, liquor and at least 12 craft beers available.

“We carry most of the local craft brewers,” said Damato.

Anthony’s has seating for 60-80 depending on whether outdoor seating is available. “We have a garage door that opens right onto the patio, weather permitting,” said Damato.

Hours at Anthony’s are from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

At present, there is only dine-in and carryout service.

“We’ll be adding a third-party delivery service in the future,” said Mastroianni.

For information, call 708-873-7900 or visit acfp.com or Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza on Facebook.

ALDI reopens northwest Indiana stores

ALDI, which has been remodeling stores across the south suburbs as part of the company’s $1.6 billion plan to freshen stores across the country, reopened its store last week at 7925 Indianapolis Blvd. in Hammond in northwest Indiana.

The Hammond store was one of 130 in the Chicago area the company will remodel by 2020. It reopened Oct. 26.

The new ALDI store offers modern and convenient shopping experience with a focus on fresh items, including more robust produce, dairy and bakery sections, and more room for customers’ favorite products. Remodeled stores will also feature a modern design, open ceilings, natural lighting and environmentally-friendly building materials – such as recycled materials, energy-saving refrigeration and LED lighting.

Two other stores in northwest Indiana will be reopening on Thursday, Nov. 16.

The store at 1720 E. Commercial Ave. in Lowell will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 8:25 a.m. Following the ceremony, the first 100 shoppers will receive a golden ticket, each containing ALDI gift cards of various amounts.

The store at 5761 U.S. Highway 6 in Portage will also host a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 8:25 a.m. on Nov. 16. Following the ceremony, the first 100 shoppers will receive a golden ticket, each containing ALDI gift cards of various amounts.

In addition, the company is building a new ALDI store at Harlem and Archer avenues in Chicago’s Garfield Ridge community and another in the former Eurofresh building in Tinley Park.

Thorntons opens in South Holland

Louisville-based Thorntons opened a South Holland location at 1141 E. 162nd St. on Sept. 22.

The station and convenience store welcomes residents and passers-by as they enter and leave the village from the Bishop Ford Freeway.

Besides auto needs, the South Holland location serves hot, made to order food items for breakfast and lunch. 

If you see a new business in town or wonder what happened to an old favorite, drop me a line at [email protected].

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