16 Nov, 2011 - [EID Feature] Tony Sacco`s Coal Oven Pizza: Reinventing the Pizza Wheel
In 2009, Slice (a subsection of Serious Eats) proclaimed coal-fired ovens the hottest new trend in pizza, also citing Florida as Ground Zero for the explosion of the trend. This is due, at least in part, to Tony Sacco’s Coal Oven Pizza.
Tony Sacco’s opened their first store in the Bonita Springs area of Florida in July 2008. By early 2009 there was a demand for franchising, and by summer of ’09 they began selling their first franchises. A franchisee opened a second Florida location in Fort Meyers; others franchisees opened stores in Illinois and Indiana with more scheduled in Ohio, North Carolina, and a slew more in greater Chicagoland (yep–Chicago will FINALLY have a decent pizza franchise). There are now a total of 18 Tony Sacco’s restaurants already open, sold or planned, and in SE Michigan we’re about to see several more open in 2012.
Owners Chuck Senatore and George Kurajian are originally from Michigan, so it was only natural that as they opened more of their own stores that they would open one here. The Novi location opened in January 2011, and brought with it what might actually be among the first of its kind in metro Detroit: a coal-fired pizza oven. (The only other local pizzeria we know of using a coal-fired oven is Tomatoes Apizza.)
The idea for Tony Sacco’s came into existence as Senatore and Kurajian were looking for a project. At the time they also had a third partner, Tony Sacco, but he left the business before they even opened their first store. “We liked the name,” Chuck says. “It’s a cool name, and we already had the fuse lit with that name so Tony let us use it and now we own the trademark so it’s our name to use.” Besides, it sounds a lot better than “George Kurajian’s Coal Oven Pizza” (sorry, George). “People call me Tony half the time but whatever,” Chuck laughs.
Read the Full Article at Eat It Detroit Blog