Fans of Italian food made “for locals, by locals” have a new option for dining on Amelia Island – Coastal Pizza, which made the move last month from Yulee to 1916 S. 14th St. in the Villages of Amelia shopping center.
Owner Tom DeMario said the business moved from where it had been for five years because it simply outgrew that space. Sitting in his restaurant where a new sign was being installed and vendors were dropping by with orders, he said the restaurant is doing well since moving Aug. 13.
“We are blessed. The island has welcomed us,” DeMario said. “About half of our customers are on the island, so they’re happy. I’ve seen a very large amount of our customers from Yulee follow us. They get it.”
What do they get? That Coastal Pizza fills a niche, marketing toward those who want a good pizza at a good price. DeMario says that is what sets his pizza restaurant apart from other local pizzerias.
“Townies delivers better than anywhere on the island. We don’t deliver,” he said. “Moon River does a great thick crust pizza. They’ve been there forever and they’re cooler than us. Those guys are who they are and they do what they do better than anybody else. Our whole concept is to give people the best quality product at a fair price. We set our prices for locals.”
Coastal Pizza hosts a full bar and TV sets for viewing sports. It is open on the weekend, so those who want to watch a game can do so, but there is more to the place than TV sets and drinks.
“Instead of being a bar with sports and a restaurant, we are a restaurant with sports and a bar,” DeMario said. “When you come in here, it doesn’t scream that we have a full bar, it screams restaurant. We wanted to give you a nice enough restaurant that, if you don’t like football but your friend does, on Sunday you want to come to the restaurant and have a couple of glasses of wine with them while you talk and watch the game.”
DeMario has been working in and around kitchens for 39 years, since he was 15 years old, “everything from fast food to white tablecloths,” and said he knows what he wants to provide – quality food at a fair price.
“If you look at our menu, the most expensive thing is a veal parmesan dinner at $17.99, but that same veal would be $30-something downtown,” he said. “We are trying to give you a high-quality experience and an excellently cooked meal, and at the same time be fair. I get sick of going out and paying
$10 for a glass of wine. We want this to be a place you can come out two or three times a week, get a really well-priced, well-cooked meal, have a drink if you choose, watch a sporting game if you choose. Eating out shouldn’t be a luxury.”
Coastal Pizza is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday; the restaurant is closed Monday. To view the menu, visit gocoastalpizza.com, or call (904) 491-9998 to place an order.