Anthony’s Food Shop

Anthony’s Food Shop

You can buy pizza, gas, fireworks and more at Anthony’s Food Shop in York, Maine

PMQ Pizza Magazine publisher Steve Green rarely passes on an invitation to discover regional pizza. So when he was invited earlier this year to the Boston area, a region heavily dominated by Greeks and Italians, it was an offer he couldn’t refuse. “Ed Noe, this great, burly man from Colony Foods, tracked me down at NAPICS (the North America Pizza & Ice Cream Show) and spoke with contagious enthusiasm about the quality and variety of pizza coming out of New England,” Green recalls. Noe, the vice president of purchasing and marketing for Colony Foods, believed PMQ had a lot to discover in the Boston area, which is dominated by mom-and-pop pizzerias. “New England is the maturest pizza market in the U.S.,” Green adds. “It is the region with the most independent stores and the most pizza eaten per capita. PMQ wanted to know what these independent stores were doing to compete—that’s the kind of information that would be beneficial for pizzerias everywhere.”

A few months later, as New England thawed into summer, Green and his son, Chris, packed up the Pizzamobile and headed north to meet with Noe and Colony Foods marketing specialist Linda Balles. Like PMQ itself and many of its readers, Colony Foods is a family-owned business. As a wholesale distributor, Colony helps independent pizzerias with minimal resources stay a step ahead of the chains. That means Noe and Balles have inside information on New England’s most dedicated and unique operators. Along the way, the Green father-and-son duo met a host of pizzacentric characters and, of course, ate their weight in pizza. This story is the first of a series that follows their journey into the pizza world of New England. Their first stop: Anthony’s Food Shop in York, Maine.

A Sprawling Operation

Anthony’s began as a simple café and convenience store run by a father and son, then painstakingly expanded over the course of two decades to incorporate an artisan pizzeria, sandwich shop, gas station, full-scale bakery, catering services and a gourmet coffee shop, all run by about 40 employees, including extended family members. Owner Mark Graziano, the son of the shop’s namesake, Anthony Graziano, presides over the sprawling, multifaceted operation.

“This isn’t the kind of gas station where you just stop in for gas or water,” Balles notes. “Anthony’s is a restaurant that just happens to have a gas station. You’re grabbed
immediately by his displays—how they set their counter, the smell, the freshness, the cleanliness.” The pizzeria combines the distinctive coziness of a mom-and-pop with the striking attention to detail that one ordinarily finds in a chain restaurant. Green was taken aback by the ambience when he first stepped into the store. “Is this a franchise or a mom-and-pop?” he wondered aloud.

“It’s a mom-and-pop,” Graziano replied.

“It looks like a mom-and-pop,” Green admitted.

“Yeah, well, that’s because it is a mom-and-pop,”
Graziano retorted, with typical New England bluntness.

The store opens at 6 a.m. every day, as Anthony’s welcomes a huge crowd with breakfast sandwiches and pizzas. Like most pizzerias, Friday and Saturday nights are the shop’s busiest nights for pizza. The store has evolved dramatically, if gradually, over the years, adding new features to draw in more customers: an ATM, attractive signage, an air pump, a wide variety of newspapers, Nathan’s hot dogs, outdoor seating, even fireworks.

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