Dan Marino Opens Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza’s 62nd Location in Cranston, RI
CRANSTON — Crowds of fans lined up to shake not just the hand of NFL Hall of Famer Dan Marino, but also that of his business partner, restaurateur Anthony Bruno at the grand opening of Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza at Garden City on Thursday.
The Florida pizzeria has moved north, meeting snow birds in their summer habitat. So while Miami Dolphins fans offered their footballs, jerseys and hats to Marino for an autograph, food lovers were hugging and kissing Bruno and talking meatballs and chicken wings.
Bruno grew up with an Italian family in Brooklyn and couldn’t find the home-cooking when he moved to Florida in the 1980s. He opened Anthony’s Runway 84 in Fort Lauderdale in 2002 and then, with his longtime friend Dan Marino as partner, launched a thousand pies with Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza in 2004.
“We love your restaurants and your family,” said Warwick attorney Joel Chase as he greeted Bruno by the bar. His uncle Anthony Marzilli goes to all the Anthony’s and the family is well familiar with the food and business. He talked about the personality of the restaurant and told Bruno, “That personality means a lot in Rhode Island.”
“Anthony is the real star of the restaurant,” Marino said. “He’s good at what he does.”
That made it easy for Marino to partner with Bruno and now the two have 62 restaurants in Florida and on the East Coast. The first one in Chicago opens this summer.
“A lot of people come to Florida and know and love Anthony’s,” Marino said. “Now that we are opening them up in New York, New Jersey and on Long Island, people recognize the brand and we see the same customers up here.”
It’s working as a business strategy, Marino said.
So, too, is having Marino as a partner and making public appearances that garner media attention, Bruno said.
They moved into New England with five restaurants in Massachusetts. Bruno said they are looking at more locations in Rhode Island. The one in Cranston was in the works for two years, which is average for the restaurants, he said.
Bruno does not like Anthony’s being called a chain.
“We don’t act like a chain. We think small,” he said, adding that they use family recipes. “It’s all about passion for Italian food.”
The restaurants use only fresh food, nothing is frozen, make everything fresh daily, including hand-rolled meatballs, and serve local beers. Foolproof Brewing, Narragansett Brewing, Grey Sail and Revival are on tap from Rhode Island.
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