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A new Italian restaurant and pizzeria has made its way onto the outskirts of Downtown DeLand, moving into the former Village Subs and Grill at 827 S. Woodland Blvd.  

A rich family history and heritage follow this restaurant brand. The family started in Kosovo, then migrated to Italy, and finally to New York City in 1976, where Anthony Marku, the founder of the business, started honing his culinary skills and opened his first location.

In 1987, Marku opened the first Florida location in Orlando; since then, he has expanded to more than 16 locations.  

The DeLand Original Anthony’s is owned and operated by Christopher Marku, Anthony’s son, and Mike Paulli, who has more than 15 years’ experience in the business.

They took over the DeLand location July 17. 

“We like to say it’s Grandma’s recipes, and I learned them from my dad,” Christopher Marku said.

{{tncms-inline alignment=”right” content=”&lt;p class=&quot;p1&quot;&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Location: &lt;/strong&gt;827 S. Woodland Blvd., DeLand&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class=&quot;p3&quot;&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Cuisine: &lt;/strong&gt;Italian pizzeria&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class=&quot;p3&quot;&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Hours: &lt;/strong&gt;11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Open Sundays starting Aug. 5.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class=&quot;p3&quot;&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Signature dish: &lt;/strong&gt;New York-style pizza&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class=&quot;p3&quot;&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Price: &lt;/strong&gt;Menu items generally range from $1 to $20.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class=&quot;p3&quot;&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Kid-friendly: &lt;/strong&gt;Yes&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class=&quot;p3&quot;&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Pet-friendly: &lt;/strong&gt;Service dogs only&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class=&quot;p3&quot;&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Limited diets: &lt;/strong&gt;Vegetarian options are available.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class=&quot;p3&quot;&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Alcohol: &lt;/strong&gt;Bottled beer and wine&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class=&quot;p3&quot;&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Handicap-accessible: &lt;/strong&gt;Yes&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class=&quot;p3&quot;&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Our cost for five people for two appetizers, one small specialty pizza, one small calzone, one large antipasto salad and one tiramisu: &lt;/strong&gt;$55.85, plus an $11 tip&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class=&quot;p3&quot;&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Contact: &lt;/strong&gt;386-279-7306&lt;/p&gt;” id=”8eac3205-5fba-48fc-ba91-68f0bc9d7192″ style-type=”info” title=”THE ORIGINAL ANTHONY’S PIZZERIA AND ITALIAN RESTAURANT” type=”relcontent” width=”half”}}

“Our quality ingredients, made-from-scratch-daily sauces, and bread are showcased in our food,” Paulli added.  

Anthony’s proudly stands behind its trademark “love at first slice.” They truly believe once you try a slice, you’ll fall in love.

I invited my family to dine with me at the new restaurant. We pulled up to find the colors of the Italian flag showcased on the sign and exterior.

Paulli and Marku have been fully renovating the building. Pictures of the Empire State Building, Times Square and the Brooklyn Bridge hang on the walls alongside flat-screen televisions.  

Traditional red and white checked tablecloths lie over the tables with red chairs and booths as you look over the Italian-rich menu.

An extensive menu of appetizers offers Italian favorites such as bruschetta, caprese, and garlic knots. There are 11 specialty New York-style pizzas with 26 fresh toppings. Build your own from scratch, or add ingredients to any specialty pizza.  

“We feature Grande cheese, which is the top-quality Italian cheeses that money can buy,” Paulli said.

The Original Anthony’s features calzones, strombolis, chicken and eggplant Parmigiana, lasagna, ravioli, fettuccine Alfredo, ziti, 10 different subs, Italian desserts, and 10 lunch specials served all day every day.

Directing my family on how I do a foodie file, I tried to make sure we ordered a little bit of everything. The highlights included the bruschetta, with house-made bread, toasted perfectly, fresh diced tomatoes, thick-cut mozzarella, garlic, olive oil, balsamic, and shredded lettuce.  

Portions are very large; a small supreme calzone took up more than half of a pizza pan. This was stuffed with ricotta cheese, sausage, pepperoni, meatballs, mushrooms, onions and green peppers. It was fresh, overflowing with rich cheese, and flavor poured out of every bite.

Lise Crossman, my aunt, ordered the bianca pizza, a pie with no tomato sauce, topped with mozzarella and ricotta cheese, fresh garlic and olive oil. She added mushrooms, spinach and sausage too. 

She took one bite.

“Oh my goodness, this is the best pizza I have ever had,” Aunt Lise said, as the whole table laughed out loud.

The large antipasto salad was a work of art, decorated with ham rolled in provolone cheese, fresh greens, salami, tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, onions, black olives and roasted red peppers. Again, the portion was generous.

The Original Anthony’s offers dine-in, takeout and delivery.  

This is a successful pizza company that really cares about the authenticity of the food they create. It’s definitely worth a shot. See if you fall in love at first slice, too.

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