By Paul Kavanaugh
Keith Yonker arrived in the Tri Cities several years ago as the Corporate Executive Chef at Eastman. Born and raised in Chicago, he has been interested in food and the restaurant business since childhood. As he was leaving Eastman, he decided to acquire a food truck and serve his Italian favorites out of it.
Then fate intervened, and the location that formerly housed Little Italy became available. After reassuring Roland’s family that he would not try to duplicate Little Italy, he was able to acquire the premises at 16 Sixth Street and began to create his own place, based not on New York style pizza but on the Chicago varieties he grew up with.
When I got a chance to sit down with Keith for a few minutes, it was obvious that he is an easy guy to talk to and is quite knowledgeable about the Italian cuisine that emanates from Chicago. For instance, deep dish is NOT the original Chicago pizza. Dating back to 1942 and a place called Vito and Nick’s, the original style has a very thin, crisp crust and is typically cut into squares “tavern style”. This is Keith’s favorite style of pizza, but after a gentleman named Ike Sewal invented the deep dish style in Chicago, it caught on with the public. Keith’s version uses a thin, crisp crust on the bottom (“it’s not a casserole”) and a thicker crust up the sides – necessary to hold in a pound of mozzarella plus the sauce and toppings. Call ahead to order as it takes a full 45 minutes to cook these babies. The thin crust pizzas only take 15 – 20 minutes.
So yes, the pizza is top notch at The Angry Italian, but they feature a full Italian restaurant menu of salads, sandwiches and entrees. There is enough variety to keep you experimenting for months! Keith sources all his ingredients from either the Chicagoland area or Toledo. He will not settle for “ordinary” – he knows what makes the best quality food.
I recommend that you stop by and have a bite. You can get a beer to enjoy with your pizza and can also bring your own wine for a modest corkage charge. Take a look at the authentic pizza ovens and the overall décor. Then remember that you are in Bristol – not Chicago!
Welcome to Downtown Bristol Angry Italian!