A sign at 360 Dorset Street may still say Lee’s Chinese Restaurant, but for almost three weeks, Uncle Tony’s Pizza has also been baking New York-style pies behind the South Burlington Chinese restaurant's location.
The four owners expected to be lifers at local Domino’s Pizza franchises — until last year, when they decided to strike out on their own. “Last October was 25 years,” says Dean Goss of his tenure at the chain. “It was a long marriage that started to sour a bit. Now Domino’s has declared war on us.”
Goss, along with his partners Ashley Lacey, Alan Golding and Curtis Cootware, had grown dissatisfied not only with the work conditions at their Domino’s, but also with the quality of the food. “The amount of really good pizza in the area is, frankly, unacceptable,” says Goss.
He and his friends wanted to make everything from scratch and use local ingredients whenever possible. That means that, for now, the basil in Tony’s pizza sauce is local and organic, but they’re using California tomatoes.
Made-to-order cannoli have already become a signature item. The filling, says Goss, is composed of only four ingredients, including Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery mascarpone. One end is dipped in pistachios for saltiness, while dark- chocolate chips add complex bitterness on the other.
The pizzas themselves, available for delivery or takeout, are cooked in a 600-degree oven for a thin, crunchy crust. Goss says the standard pies are relatively classic, but diners have found one secret ingredient addictive. He assures potential customers, “There’s no nicotine and no heroin.”
Specialty pizzas include both sauced and white options. Tony’s has plenty of classics, such as barbecue chicken (with homemade barbecue sauce) and Hawaiian pies, but also less familiar toppings such as frutti di mare, clams casino and shrimp scampi. A roasted-chicken, garlic, jalapeño and bacon pie is called “the Flaming Chicken.”
Hot and cold sandwiches, pastas, and salads are also on the menu, all with homemade sauces and dressings. However, Goss says he’s particular proud of the wide range of desserts. Besides the cannoli, there are cinnamon-caramel monkey bread and a trio of cakes — a far cry from Cinna Stix, indeed.