I took my first date to Famous Anthony’s. I was 16, and I won’t date myself by mentioning what year this was, but women’s jackets had big shoulder pads, you could wear a Cosby sweater without getting beat up, and nobody had heard of grunge music.
So when I pushed open the front door of Famous Anthony’s on Williamson one recent Thursday and heard Culture Club’s “Karma Chameleon” on the sound system, I took it as a good omen.
As my wife and I studied the menu, it looked to me like the prices hadn’t changed too much since those days in the ‘80s. There’s not a single item that will run you 10 bucks (the closest one being the Anthony’s Famous Surf & Turf Platter, which runs to $9.99). Knowing me – then and now – this is probably why I opted for Famous A’s back then, and given the state of the economy, it’s not a bad memory to relive.
There’s plenty of basic American fare on the bill, and we enjoyed some crispy onion rings and gooey mozzarella sticks with zesty marinara while waiting for our entrees. If you like onion rings, you’ll like these onion rings. Wide-cut, crispy and that beautiful shade of golden brown that means you’re looking at something really delicious.
“I Melt With You” by Modern English came on while we were deciding, and my wife decided to go with the flow and order the Three Cheese Burger, which came topped with American, Swiss and Provolone. Firm and meaty, and with (surprise!) plenty of cheese, it suffered from having too much bun, but crispy crinkle-cut fries can bring out a lot of forgiveness. Plus, they were quite generous with the onions and pickles, and she likes onions and pickles. Just a plain old-fashioned burger. Nothing wrong with that.
I went for the Pork Chop Platter, being a fan of the other white meat. A six-ounce bone-in chop grilled and seasoned, and served with a tangy plum sauce and delicious baked apples. And the craziest thing happened just as I was digging in to my baked potato – “Private Idaho” by the B-52s came on.
For dessert, my wife chose the Reece’s Peanut Butter Pie, rich and delicious, topped with peanut butter chips. She said it was delicious, and I’ll take her word for it, but I’m standing by my decision to have the Berry White Cheesecake, topped with a tangy raspberry sauce and shot through with white chocolate chips. I wish I could say that a Barry White tune came on while I was eating it, but the radio gods weren’t that kind.
Anthony’s has grown and changed over the years – 10 locations now, and I surely don’t remember them having quesadillas on the menu. And there’s still a lot of good diner-style food, Wednesday is still all-you-can-eat spaghetti night, and a little bit of dough still stretches pretty far. Even when times are a little hard, you don’t have to stare at your own kitchen walls. Channel your inner 16-year-old, steal your girl some flowers, and go out on a date.