Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza – Robinson Township
My wife and I were wandering around Robinson Mall recently and had no set plans for dinner. When she headed into Victoria’s Secret, I took the opportunity to plop* my butt down on the nearest chair to peruse Urbanspoon for dining ideas. The options in the area aren’t exactly paragons of haute cuisine, but I was hoping that I could find something different than our usual destinations of PF Chang’s or Red Robin. I came upon Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza, and since I’d recently heard good things about it from some friends, I figured it was worth investigating further. The reviews on Urbanspoon were a mixed bag, but by this point in the day I was starving and near delirious from watching my wife rifle through the underwear bins** for what felt like an eternity. My mind was quickly turning to mush and since Anthony’s was on the way home and specialized in my wife’s favorite dish***, I figured it was a perfect opportunity to try the place out.
We drove to Settler’s Ridge shopping center and eventually found a spot in the poorly designed parking lot that was almost as far away from the restaurant as the mall we just left. Eventually we completed the journey across the large expanse and found Anthony’s to be quite full with around a dozen people waiting to be seated. We stalked a spot at the bar and as soon as two seats opened up, we dashed in and sat down in front of a huge television broadcasting college football. The bar appeared to be well stocked and multiple wine racks played the duel roles of style elements and booze stands. The surrounding restaurant décor traded verisimilitude for cliché and reminded me of Applebee’s. Along with the routine Italian-themed photos was a section displaying Dan Marino memorabilia. He is an investor in the Florida-originated chain and was behind bringing this location to the Pittsburgh area. I’m not sure how staring at a Dolphin’s jersey with his signature will make the wait for a table any more enjoyable, but this is probably just due to my personal sports idol preferences****.
The restaurant had an open layout and no real demarcation between the bar and main dining area, so we decided we wouldn’t miss out on any ambiance by staying and eating where we were. The ebullient bartender informed us that it was dollar-fifty Peroni (ABV 5.1% - Euro Pale Lager) draft night so I went with one of those to start. It was a straightforward, good-tasting light lager and well worth the discounted price. Though Anthony’s only had a limited selection of beers on tap, from my vantage point it appeared that the mini-fridge had enough imports and micro-beers to satisfy all but the most jaded of beer snobs.
We usually pair a large salad with our pizza and pretend that it makes the meal healthier. In reality it actually makes it much worse since we always choose a decadent dressing and then compound that by using our crusts to mop up every bit of it. Anthony’s Classic Italian Salad was unfortunately not worth the calories. The greens weren’t particularly crisp and the dressing was much too vinegary. It was also a little expensive (>$10) so I un-recommend getting it in the future. The pizza was fortunately not a disappointment, as it had a great taste and the as-advertised perfect char on the bottom. The sauce leaned towards the sweeter end of the spectrum, which is my preference, and both the cheese and pepperoni were quite delicious. The only negative feature of the pie was that it was really greasy, and this was most likely an unfortunate side effect from the abundance of pepperoni stacked upon it.
Final Call: Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza is an appropriate neighbor to Red Robin since it also serves up a staple of the unhealthy American diet in a casual, family-friendly atmosphere. The overall experience was a little uneven, but the positives (pizza, service) outweighed the negatives (salad, interior). If you’re near Robinson Township and in the mood to eat thin crust New York style pizza while reminiscing about the 1982 Sugar Bowl, then this place should be perfect for you.
* I wish people used “plop” more in everyday conversation. It’s impossible to hear it or speak it without smiling.
** Can you imagine rummaging through a big bin of men’s underwear? Even if they were clean it would still be somewhat of a sickening experience.
*** My wife’s three favorite things in the world are me, our cats and pizza. The order of these fluctuates depending on the current circumstances. I slip down the list if I insinuate that she doesn’t go to LA Fitness enough to warrant paying for a monthly gym membership. The cats fall out of favor if one of them pees outside the litter box or tries to bite my wife’s calf. I have yet to see her get mad at pizza, so its place near the top is easily the most secure.
**** I’m not a huge Marino fan, but I’m sure I could gaze upon a signed Michael Jordan Bulls jersey for hours.