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Newcomer Tony Sacco’s has pizza lovers fired up


182 Randhurst Village Dr., Mount Prospect;
(847) 253-4000;

Hours: Open for lunch and dinner at 11 a.m. daily.

Prices: Appetizers and salads, $4-$9; sandwiches, $7-$8; traditional pizza, $10.50-$14.50; specialty pizza, $15.95-$18.95.

Try: Tony’s Insalata di Casa, Marco Polo specialty pizza and Sacco’s shortcake.

Tips: No reservations accepted, so arriving early on weekends could preclude long waits to be seated. Kids’ menu. Carryout. Lunch specials.

In a bite: Whether you’re in the area shopping at Randhurst, looking for a post-theater bite or just in the mood for a memorable pizza, Tony Sacco’s Coal Oven has you covered.

Updated: November 16, 2011 1:57AM

Tony Sacco’s Coal Oven Pizza, which opened its first Chicago area outlet in late June in Mount Prospect, already is turning heads and heating up the local pizza scene.

Pizza fans will like the fresh taste and light, crispy crust of the product turned out by the Florida-based chain. And Erin Morgan, who runs the sleek, freestanding pizzeria in the Randhurst Village shopping complex, already is scouting potential sites for other locations. He has rights to develop eight additional Tony Sacco’s units.

The restaurant says its ovens, fired by pure anthracite coal, reach an internal temperature of up to 1,000 degrees F. As a result, the custom-made pizzas typically bake within four minutes.

An added bonus: The restaurant uses a homemade plum tomato-based sauce with fresh basil and garlic.

Traditional pizzas come with mozzarella and Romano cheese in small (12-inch diameter), large (16 inch) and kid sizes. Extra toppings include caramelized onions, roasted mushrooms, Italian sausage, anchovies and bacon, among others.

Marco Polo, the specialty pizza we tried, impressed with chicken, sun-dried tomatoes and artichokes along with tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil. It brought back memories of a similar pizza eaten years earlier on a piazza in Rome. Depending on the size of your party and appetite, order the small ($15.95) or the 16-inch large ($18.95).

Some other pizza possibilities were the traditional Margherita and Pepperoni Classico, as well as Napoli (with meatballs, ricotta and provolone) and barbecue chicken and vegetarian versions.

A handful of antipasti, including sausage and peppers, caprese salad and oven-roasted chicken wings were available. The dinner-size house salad ($8) was excellent but overwhelming for two diners; it came with romaine lettuce, roma tomatoes, red onion, garbanzo beans, kalamata olives and hard-boiled egg with Italian dressing on the side and crostini.

Tony Sacco’s also offers a selection of oven-baked flatbread sandwiches.

The place dispenses filtered water and its bar has a selection of wines, draft and bottled beer, and soft drinks.

Only one dessert was on the menu, but it was a winner: a shareable shortcake filled with luscious vanilla mousse, topped with whipped cream and surrounded by fresh berries.

Thomas Witom is a local free-lance writer.

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