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Mar 13, 2009 08:30 AM

Tony C's Coal Fired Pizza

I was very excited to see that we were getting a coal oven pizzeria close to the house. I've been looking forward to Tony C's opening for months. Back home I lived within walking distance to Lombardi's, John's and Arturo's pizzerias so I think I'm qualified to judge the quality of a good coal oven pizza. Well, I finally made my way over there last week and was very impressed. As soon as my wife brought the pie into the car I could smell the parmesan cheese on our Marinara pie (standard pie, sauce and cheese). It smelled just like a pie from Lombardi's (minus the fresh basil).

When I got home I tore the box open and started eating the slice on my way to the cabinet to grab myself a plate. I was in a pizza trance and my wife was mad because I didn’t get her a plate too. The crust had that perfect crunch that only a coal oven can deliver. The sauce was not too sweet and nice and chunky. A good pie overall and I would recommend this place to anyone that loves thin crust pizza (and especially anyone that loves coal oven pizza).

The hallmark of any good pizzeria in my opinion is consistency. I delayed this post until I tried Tony C’s a second time. Ordered another Marinara and an order of garlic knots (yay, garlic knots!). The garlic knots were a little pricey @ $5 for a ½ dozen, but they were pretty good (nice crunch again and doughy within) and served with a side of marinara sauce. The pie was really good again but there was a little less sauce on it this time which detracted from the quality slightly. When I order a pizza I don’t like to make special requests (extra sauce, well done, etc.). I like to think the pizza maker has all of this down.

Next time we will try the Margarita and one of the heroes.

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  1. We went Monday night and really liked the pizza. Our only complaint was that there was hardly any sauce on it at all. It could have used more. Oh, and we won't spend the $4 for the meatball topping again. They were bland, unseasoned, and tasted only of ground beef. However, we liked the other components of the pizza well enough to go back and order differently. Another note, our server was nice enough, but it felt very much like "schmoozing for a tip" and not very sincere. The suggestive selling got a little uncomfortable as well.

    1. Just returned from Tony C's and I can corroborate reports that this is the real thing. My wife and I used to live in Brooklyn, and frequented Grimaldi's. This is the first pizza I've had in Austin that is even in the same food group. We ordered the Margherita, which just has tomatoes, basil, and fresh (and excellent) mozzarella on it. We added kalamata olives. The crust is the type you can only get with a coal oven. I won't claim it was as good as Grimaldi's, but it was really really good. The crust could have been a little more charred, but we were told that they've been trying to hold back on that after getting complaints from people about "burnt" pizza. I hope they don't get too discouraged. I think the crust could also be slightly chewier. But really, I'm nitpicking here. If you share my taste in pizza, it's definitely worth the half hour drive from downtown Austin.

      I can't comment on the amount of sauce, since we ordered a white pie,. But I generally don't like too much sauce on my pizza, so I'd probably consider that a feature, not a bug.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Brian Lindauer

        Brian and nypb, do they at least use fresh basil on the margherita? Or is it dried? If it's fresh, do they bake it (which basically makes it dried basil)? Or do they throw fresh basil on the pizza only after it comes out of the hot oven? I know this is a really specific question, but getting baked basil on a margherita pizza is a pet peeve of mine.

        And what about the crust? Is it made with cornmeal?


        P. S. Next week I’m planning to try Dough, which is a pizzeria in San Antonio that claims to make Neapolitan-style pizzas. If I do, I'll post about it on the Texas board.

        1. re: MPH

          I actually don't remember the basil. I think it was probably originally fresh, but baked, since I probably would have noticed really fresh pieces scattered over the top.

          I'll look for your post about Dough. The chain Grimaldi's (some other branch of the same family which has places in Dallas and AZ) has been threatening to open a shop in S.A.

          1. re: Brian Lindauer

            I made it back to Tony C's last weekend and it wasn't as good as my first visit. We ordered the marinara, but with fresh mozarella and basil, and we asked for it well done. The good news is that the basil is, indeed, added after the pizza is removed from the oven. But the crust did not hold up well under extra baking. It got more crunchy than crisp/chewy and lacked in flavor. I think that the olive oil on the margherita helped in that department. I'm guessing the flour doesn't have enough gluten to give it that extra chew. My wife thought the marinara sauce was too sweet, but I didn't have a problem with it. I still thought it was better than other pizzas you can get around here, but maybe they have consistency problems. Or maybe the margherita is the thing to stick to.

          2. re: MPH

            You're not getting off that easy.

            5+ months roll by and you come back in the ring pondering a pizza joint out highway 71?

            It's good to see you're out of the pen and back in town.I know you were the bull of your block.

            NAB leaves town and MPH returns.I'm looking forward to more of your essays on eating East Austin.

            A friends who has functioning tastebuds ate at Tony C's and said he was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the food.I'm planning a trip out there soon.

            Off topic but recent visits to La Monita have found them at the peak of their powers.