Anthony’s Italian Kitchen, 11368 Kenyon Way (at Milliken), Rancho Cucamonga
At last week’s Rancho Cucamonga council meeting, a proclamation was given to Anthony’s Italian Kitchen in honor of — wait for it — 10 years in business. Does a decade in young Rancho Cucamonga qualify you as historic?
Despite the arguably premature award, I had to admit I hadn’t eaten at Anthony’s, nor had I even heard of it. To erase my shame, I headed to the Albertsons shopping center on Milliken just below the 210 for lunch Monday to try it out. The center doesn’t appear to be thriving. Anthony’s is one of just two or three restaurants.
It’s a real hole in the wall, with just four tables. Two were occupied by sheriff’s deputies, who soon had to rush out on a call, and the other by a lone diner.
The walls are crowded with plaques from youth sports teams and testimonials from fans. A postcard from one admirer begins: “In the Last Judgment, Anthony’s Pizza will sit at the right hand. It’s that good!” The far wall (which isn’t that far) has three video games and a pinball machine with a “Demolition Man” theme, a tie-in to the 1993 Sly Stallone-Sandra Bullock movie.
More deputies came in, and a steady stream of people arrived to pick up take-out orders, including a man with an eight-ball tattooed on his neck; I hope he had better luck with his meatball sub than with the rest of his life. The lone diner told me I looked familiar and asked if I’m a writer. I replied that I write for the Daily Bulletin and my picture is in the paper. “Brewster?” he inquired. Stifling a sob, I gave him my name, and he said he likes my work, although I’m wondering if he was complimenting me or Lou Brewster.
I’ll tell you now that my gold standard is San Biagio’s New York Pizza in Upland, where I always get the single slice, salad and soda combo, for $5.12. There is no single slice-salad combo at Anthony’s, so to get a salad I got the No. 3 combo: two slices of cheese pizza, a salad and a soda, all for $6.89.
The Anthony’s salad is very similar to Biagio’s, being iceberg, shredded mozzarella, tomatoes and black olives. The pizza is similar too, thin crust with a lightly spiced sauce, but with (maybe) a bit more cheese, marginally thicker crust and a slightly wider cut.
Excellent stuff, and at first blush I’d rank Anthony’s a close second to Biagio’s for Inland Valley pizza. (If you prefer a medium or thick crust, you’ll have your own opinions.) The menu includes a dozen specialty pizzas, hot and cold subs and a range of pastas.
I thank the Rancho Cucamonga council for tipping me off to a good restaurant, and hope Anthony’s makes it another 10 years, and beyond.
* Update, February 2014: They’ve made it another seven years, to 17. I returned for two cheese slices and a soda ($6.43 with tax), and to take photos. Excellent pizza: Slices are thin crust, doughier at the edge, and measure about nine inches wide. Two made for a filling lunch. The menu has a lot of specialty pizzas, 15 subs and a few pastas. The video games are gone, but seating is still limited, with a few more seats outdoors; it’s largely takeout and delivery.