Dish of the Week: Antonio’s Pesto Tortellini Pizza


Daily Illini File Photo

Antonio’s Pizza on Green Street features its pesto tortellini pizza.

By Stephanie Kim

After closing in 2011, Antonio’s Pizza by the Slice made a triumphant return to its former Green Street location in October. Students can now enjoy the restaurant’s variety of dishes, specifically the pesto tortellini pizza.

The store closed two years ago because it experienced management issues when they were opening restaurants at different locations in other cities, said Yazhi Fehri, store manager of Green Street’s Antonio’s Pizza. But since its return, the pesto tortellini pizza has been a customer favorite. 

The popular dish is a unique pizza concoction made with pesto sauce, mozzarella cheese and multi-colored tortellini. 

The mozzarella cheese marries well with the rich pesto sauce, while the tortellini adds a nice chewy surprise and colorful arrangement for the eyes — a recipe that James Krist, senior in Engineering, calls “perfect.”

“The texture of the crunchy crust with the soft noodle and the warm, melty cheese is like no other food I have ever had before,” Krist said. “I remember having it as a freshman, and so when I visited Antonio’s for the first time since their reopening, that was the first slice I ordered. As I bit into the pizza … I knew I was back at Antonio’s.”

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Pesto tortellini is just one of more than 50 menu items and various daily specials that feature fresh ingredients, home-made dough, various sauces and “not your every day toppings,” said Johnathon Ryder, Antonio’s employee.

“Everywhere you go, all (the surrounding pizzerias) have red sauce — just standard pizzas,” Ryder said. “We have quesadilla pizza, and I don’t know any (other) store that has (that).”

Ryder said that Antonio’s has a wide variety of dishes, which is appealing to customers. 

“As long as you have options, people will always want to come,” he said.

This was true for Agustin Rodriguez, senior in LAS and second-time customer to Antonio’s.

“I’m coming back,” Rodriguez said. “I’ve already recommended this place to people. It’s a nice spot to come and grab a bite to eat before you get to your next class … or (when you) have window gaps of time.”

Because Antonio’s sells its pizza by the slice, customers have the option of taking their pizza to-go or staying at the restaurant to dine. This also allows customers to choose slices of different toppings within the five menu sections (daily specials, classics, pesto, chicken and veggie slices). 

The cost per slice is around $3. While costs vary in each section, a medium pizza (12-inch) costs about $11 and a large (16-inch) is about $16.

“Almost every day (customers) say they’re so happy we’re open and that it’s better than before,” Fehri said. “So Antonio’s is a familiar restaurant. Anyone is welcome, anytime.”

Antonio’s is open from 11 a.m. to midnight Monday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, and 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Thursday to Saturday.

Stephanie can be reached at [email protected].