Baked Over the Coals

Gas, wood, and now…coal-fired pizza? The Ninja keeps up with a hot trend at Anthony’s.

Hello pizza fanatics and welcome to the November 2018 Thanksgiving edition of the East Falls Pizza Review. Will this month’s pizza be leave the Ninja stuffed like a turkey? Read on to find out.

For this month, the Ninja tried pizza from a shop that recently opened up over the river in Wynnewood but has already built up a fan base with multiple locations nationally, from Rhode Island down to Florida.

Generally you can find your pizza baked in one of two ways. The traditional neighborhood shop gas oven, or the new school hipster pizza of the moment, wood fired. This place offers a third option so to speak, a riff on the wood fired called ‘coal fired’. Located in the Wynnewood Shopping Center at 50 Wynnewood Rd next to the Giant grocer is “Anthony’s ‘Coal Fired’ Pizza.” (MAP LINK)

The website for Anthony’s goes quite into depth how they achieve the taste and appearance of their product.

From an 800 degree custom oven to the story of how this all got started — a NY transplant finds his way in Florida, can’t find any good pizza, and decides to start creating his own. The results, quite possibly the only good thing to ever come out of Florida. A fascinating read for any pizza fan.

The Ordering Experience (4 out of 5)

Wynnewood is a quick drive from East Falls but out of the delivery area for basically any restaurant in that area, so for this one, you’re limited to ordering via the UberEats app, which at this time is the only food delivery app that Anthony’s is located on.

To add another wrinkle to the order process, due to the farther location and delivery route, UberEats assesses a flat $6.99 delivery fee due to distance. Add this to the $16.99 cost of a large pie and you’re looking at a near $25 cost before taxes and tip.

The Ninja placed his order at 8:45PM via UberEats. The app quoted a delivery time of 35 minutes, and the pie was mostly on time at 9:26PM, although it could have been a bit earlier, the UberEats driver continued to get lost and had to call for directions.

$7 delivery fee AND a longer delivery time due to distance? Was it worth it? Let’s see

The Pizza Experience:

Presentation (5 out of 5)

Wow, look at this beautiful box. Might be the Ninja’s favorite box so far. It has the weight and feel of a neighborhood box with out coming across as a mass produced chain box like a Domino’s or Papajohns. I would never guess this is a chain restaurant, sort of like when beer drinkers are fooled into thinking Goose Island is a local craft beer.

What’s this? A QR code? Are we in the matrix? High tech pizza? The Ninja didn’t bother to see where the QR code led to, he was ready to eat. Also of note, the box included a sticker on the front that was good for one free drink redeemed in their restaurant. Bonus !!

OK this is interesting. The pizza construction itself exists somewhere between a traditional pie, and a boardwalk style pie like the previously reviewed Franzones. Yet instead of a uniform application of either cheese on top or sauce on top, what we have here is sort of a random assortment.

Anthony’s website isn’t kidding when they claim “Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza has become a household name, delivering the signature ‘well done’ taste,” the crust certainly looks well done to perfection.

Let’s take a taste:

Cheese (4.75 out of 5)

The Ninja loves this cheese. It’s delicious and not greasy or heavy at all, yet it’s still rich and creamy.  Of note, the areas where there is cheese, there is no sauce underneath. Conversely, on the sauced areas, it’s just crust.  So while you’re eating this, you’re alternating between bites of sauce/crust or cheese/crust, or a combo of the two. At times it’s like 3 pizzas in one, a traditional, a tomato pie, and a white pizza.

Sauce (4.75 out of 5)

Very clean and fresh tasting sauce. Not sweet at all, just simply tastes like fresh crushed tomatoes.

Crust (5 out of 5)

I’d argue that Anthony’s pizza must be known for the crust. It’s sort of their whole selling point. So how is the coal fired crust? It may not be for everyone, but if you are a fan of “well done pizza,” well then in the Ninja’s opinion this is a 10 out of 10. But we rate on a scale of 5 here. So use your maths.

While the cheese is not greasy, the crust is very buttery. It results in an amazing buttery crust/cheese combo.

It’s thin, it’s crisp, and when you make your way to the end of the slice and only have the crust left, it’s almost hard like a cracker or a very well done toast.

Conclusion (4.5 out of 5)

This pizza left the Ninja feeling more satisfied than that 3rd helping of Thanksgiving dinner. One of the Ninja’s favorite reviewed pies so far. Worth the price and the wait.

And now your Pizza Moment of Zen:

Born in Chicago, arguably the capitol of world class pizza options, the Pizza Ninja consumes pizza an average of 3 to 4 nights a week. From local options to frozen pizza, no crust is left behind. He has been eating pizza for 34 years and currently resides in East Falls along with his wife, daughter and two dogs. On occasion, he will graciously share a slice of his pizza with them.

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