With the right mix of ingredients, Anthony Bruno, founder and CEO of Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza, has created great recipes, a unique concept and an expanding restaurant business. Growing up on Long Island in a traditional Italian family, Anthony's passion for great food started at a very young age.
His father, Anthony Sr., worked in restaurants throughout his life and was inspired by his wife and mother, both excellent cooks, to open a restaurant. That dream became a reality when the family moved to South Florida in 1982 and father and son debuted Anthony's Runway 84, a full-service Italian restaurant and lounge near the Fort Lauderdale airport featuring a broad menu of classic home-style favorites. It soon became a South Florida landmark, attracting a loyal following of customers, celebrities and tourists. More than three decades later, Anthony's Runway 84 remains one of the area's most celebrated and popular restaurants.
In 2002, Anthony unveiled a new concept that introduced the taste of coal-fired pizza to South Floridians. He believed there was a great opportunity to create pizza that rivaled the ones he enjoyed growing up in New York.
Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza now has locations throughout Florida, Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania – all company owned. Anthony attributes the success to a combination of top-quality ingredients, a simple, consistent menu, authentic, coal-burning ovens and a staff that treats guests like "family."
"We cook our pizzas in an 800-degree oven that provides a 'well-done' flavor that has become our trademark," Anthony says.
The popularity of this unique pizza, which takes only four minutes to cook, and the restaurants' classic, casual ambiance has helped Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza build an almost cult-like following. Today, customers also enjoy coal-oven-roasted chicken wings topped with caramelized onions, Anthony's signature salad and a variety of "Italian Soul Food" items, including Eggplant Marino (named for Dan Marino, an Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza partner).
Anthony has always stressed quality. As additional restaurants open, he closely monitors their products and service to ensure consistency. Anthony often compares the restaurant industry to sports, pointing out an athlete could be cheered by the fans one game, then booed the next. His motto: "I'm only as good as my last pizza."
Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza was voted Best Pizzeria, Best Wings and Best Local Chain in the 2013 Sun Sentinel/Southflorida.com Best of South Florida readers' poll, and has been chosen Best Pizza by the Miami Herald, Miami.com, Palm Beach Post and WFLA's iHeart Tampa Bay. The Brand was recently featured in the New York Times and has received rave reviews from Newsday. Anthony's food and service continually are ranked "very good to excellent" by Zagat Survey, the distinguished dining and entertainment ratings guide, and is a "Most Popular Restaurant" in Zagat's 2013 Miami/South Florida edition.