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Friday, January 16, 2015

Anthony's Italian Deli Glows on Government!

Anythony's Famous Muffoletta
Anythony's famous muffoletta

For years now I've raved about the muffoletta at Anthony’s Italian Deli. An elegant combination of olive salad, mortadella, salami, mozzarella, ham, and provolone sandwiched between round Sicilian sesame bread, the muffoletta might just be the perfect sandwich. In fact, Country Roads Magazine named it the best sandwich in Baton Rouge in their "Favorite Things" issue a few years back. But just to clarify, I was the guys who picked the five finalists.

Anthony’s take on the classic Italian-style sandwich has won over the tastebuds of Baton Rougeans for more than 30 years, cementing its place as a local staple. Aside from the famous muffoletta, Anthony’s serves up my other favorite sandwich - the life-altering meatball poboy (the large version is served on the muffoletta bread), along with a variety of other sandwiches and traditional Italian dishes.

Anythony's New, roomier storefront
New, roomier storefront

Earlier this week I checked out Anthony's new digs on Government Street in mid-city with my Chief Confusion Coordinator Blair and our new intern, Sydney. The new location is reminiscent of the old Florida Boulevard location in some ways, and worlds apart in others. Gone is the plywood sign on the side of Florida's service road painted in the colors of the Italian flag. No longer must you navigate a suspension-loathing parking lot as far to the back as possible, uncomfortably if it is your first time. But just like the old spot, the smell of olives and fresh bread overwhelm the senses, and the cozy atmosphere welcomes lunchers and shoppers alike to take part in an Italian tradition. Cannoli shells and imported olive oils line the walls. A hand-written menu lists the house specialties. Chairs and tables are packed in like canned Italian anchovies. At just before noon, the lunch line nearly snakes out the door.

Anthony's New mid-city location
New mid-city location

The most notable change in Anthony’s is the slightly larger kitchen and dining area, and the patio area that will be nice come Spring. By the look of things, the new Anthony’s will have more business than they know what to do with. On my visit, a team of people gathered in the front part of the kitchen with Maria taking orders, making pressed sandwiches, and delivering meals. Marco waved through an opening to the back kitchen where he donned a chef coat and looked as pleased as ever. After eating our sandwiches, a muffoletta and a large meatball poboy, Team Bite and Booze looked as pleased as ever too. The restaurant might be new, but the food hasn't changed, and for long-time fans like me, that's what matters most.

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