Dorchester Road Location Using Rocket Science to Carry On Age Old NY Tradition
Jeff Walker, Restaurant Review
There are a handful of New York style pizza shops throughout the lowcountry. Some are decent, a few are good, a smaller percentage are really good, and a one or two are close to great. The all new Antonio's Pizzeria on Dorchester Road falls in the latter category, being as close to great as you can get in Charleston for NY style thin crust pizza.
Open less than two weeks the word is already out, with pizza lovers lining up out the door during lunch and dinner. Keep in mind, while would be competitors dish up a variety of pizzas, pasta, calzones, and cannolis, Antonio's has stream-lined their menu, offering up only cheese and pepperoni pizza, by the slice or by the pie.
Pizza enthusiasts know plain cheese or pepperoni is how you measure great tasting authentic NY style pizza. Partnering with Pepsico, patrons can take out a large 20" cheese pizza with a 2 Liter Pepsi product for around $19 plus tax, or a half cheese & pepperoni for $22. Easily feeds a family of four or a couple of room-mates, and if you have a few slices left over, trust me they will be awesome for breakfast whether cold or warmed in the oven, and still provide that bit of snap in the crust.
Owned and operated by Antonio Andolini and Vito Giambanco, Antonio's Pizzeria can trace its history to the often heralded Sal's Pizza in New York where Vito cut his teeth in his younger days, bringing that measure of excellence to the low country. While Antonio made his mark in the corporate world over the past several decades, he and Vito have been friends since elementary school. Antonio's Pizzeria is a labor of love for both men, focusing on serving up the best pizza they know how.
Unless they've been fully introduced to NY style pizza, it's hard for true southerners too understand how crucial this New York staple is to northerners, including those who grew up in NY, NJ, PA, and part of New England. Quite frankly, just about every neighborhood in NYC has a family owned pizzeria. In theory NY style pizza is basically dough, marinara sauce, and mozzarella cheese.
However it's the way the pizza is made, the quality of the ingredients, and the people who make it that sets NY style pizza apart. And while that is the core, those who grew up eating New York style pizza know it's the taste, the smell, the look, and the overall vibe you feel when you're eating authentic New York style pizza.
Antonio's Pizzeria didn't just bring the pizza with them, according to General Manager Vito Giambanco Jr. (Vito's son) they brought the essence of New York with them. People who hail from the northeast have long said it's the water that makes the difference when preparing the dough. No joke, this is a real thing. Of course you need an exceptional marinara (red) sauce as well as superior mozzarella cheese, but real NY style pizza begins with the water.
Here's where Antonio's Pizzeria gets a little meticulous and clever. A former rocket scientist (not kidding) in NYC determined the water at Sal's Pizza which comes from and aqua-duct system off Long Island is the perfect H20 to use for making pizza dough. Something about the right ph balance and combination of minerals among other elements that makes the tap water ideal.
While you can order all the ingredients needed to make a secret sauce, purchase the right flour, pepperoni, and cheese, it's not as easy to import NYC water. However, the same scientists have designed a unique water filtration system that duplicates near 100% of the water pouring out of Sal's back in New York. That's mind-blowing! But the proof in this case is in the pie or in the slice.
I've taken a slightly long food & beverage detour to simply say 'Antonio's Pizzeria is freakin' awesome'. Their website says it best 'The Proof is in Our Dough, The Secret is in Our Sauce'. Sink your teeth and gums into a slice and you'll be 'taking a bite of nostalgia'. Antonio's Pizzeria will take northerners back to that corner pizzeria you and your family dined at several times a week growing up, and it will familiarize native Charlestonians to authentic NY style thin crust pizza.
Quality, value, and tradition are well represented at Antonio's Pizzeria. They are unique on no less than three different fronts. First off, they serve up only cheese and pepperoni pizza, making decisions easier. Secondly they've simplified the ordering process, allowing for either by the slice specials or leaving with a whole pie including including a much needed Pepsi beverage of your choice.
Last but not least, they've adopted a scientific approach to honor and age old NY style pizza tradition when it comes to taste. Maybe all that only matters to the owners, but early reviews are in and patrons are coming from all over the low country to dine in or take out a cherished slice of life from their past.
Coming full circle or all the way around the crust, Antonio's Pizzeria is the real deal when it comes to NY style thin crust pizza. There are a select few coming close to what they offer up, but no one is going as far as duplicating the overall preparation. Simply said, they are serving up Italian American classic pizza.
My recommendation, is put the analytical methodology of how and why Antonio's Pizzeria do what they do on the back burner, and rather bask in the chemistry of the awesome pizza they make on a daily basis. As Italians say 'mangia' or we say in the south 'eat & repeat' often. Come in for lunch, or order ahead and take a slice (eight to be exact) home for dinner. Be careful because Antonio's pizza is addictive and will have you dropping in once or twice a week.
If you live or work anywhere north of the CAFB, on Cross County, Ashley Phosphate, Coosaw Creek, Wescott, Archdale or any of the communities as far up as Oakbrook of Summerville than you're less than 10 minutes from two slices of heaven. Well worth the trip even if you're coming from further away. Open 11am until 10pm, you'll find Antonio's Pizzeria at 8636 Dorchester Road about a mile up from the intersection from Ashley Phosphate or online at https://www.antoniospizzeriaclassico.com/
One final note. There's not many things that taste better than authentic NY style thin crust pizza, however random acts of kindness top the list. Antonio's Pizzeria in partnership with Pepsico has developed a 'Trust the Crust' community outreach program that in a nutshell occasionally provides free pizzas to first responders, charitable organizations such as Toys For Tots, as well as students and their families that thrive in academic excellence, i.e., making the honor roll.
Antonio's doesn't do it for a pat on the back, rather they do it quietly behind the scenes to give back to the community. It's their way to reward and thank those who go above and beyond. The program is similar to the Christian principle 'Feed a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime'. Great tasting pizza combined with greater community spirit is their way of paying if forward. That's a double dose of 'Awesome Sauce'!