An Arthur Avenue Love Story
Walking down Arthur Avenue, one can’t seem to feel anything but a sense of history. The “Little Italy” of the Bronx is chock full of dining establishments (and just to note, not all of the best are Italian), but for this evening there is one destination, Ann & Tony’s.
Upon our arrival at Ann & Tony’s, an establishment taking pride in business for five generations, I seem to take a step back in time as a peculiar sense of the restaurant’s Italian heyday comes over me. For 6:30 on a Saturday night, Ann & Tony’s is already bustling with servers and patrons speaking to one another and amongst themselves at the table…all with a distinct New York accent. I love it.
Ralph Jr. (brother #1), seats my dining companions and I as he lets us know that, Chef Anthony (brother #2), is in the kitchen alongside his culinary staff ready and eager to prepare many dinners for that of “family.” Ralph gives us a rundown of the specials posted on the board on the wall. His ability to passionately describe each special item with one’s mouth salivating in front of him, I would say he is not only a great salesman but a humbled restaurant owner.
Though none of the specials were ordered (I did however consider the Linguini a la Seafood—shrimp, mussels, calamari, pure heaven) we did order some of our favorite Italian dishes (Penne a la Vodka, Pasta Carbonarra, Clams Casino, and Stuffed Artichoke Hearts). I went with one of Ann & Tony’s signature dishes, Shrimp Ann & Tony (battered shrimp, procsuitto, and mushrooms).
The three signature meals at Ann & Tony’s (Chicken Ann & Tony’s, Veal Ann & Tony’s, and Shrimp Ann & Tony’s) tell a real love story between just these two…Ann & Tony of course
REWIND: great-grandfather, Eugene Napolitano, originated the restaurant. He passed it along to Ann and Tony, who have since passed it along to their son and daughter-in-law, Ralph and Vera.
Where was I? Oh yes. Having cooked these main courses amongst many other dishes on the evening of their wedding, Ann traditionally continued to prepare these family classics for each anniversary. What an honor it must be for Chef Anthony (who hold’s both of his grandparent’s legacy within his name) to cook these meals spot-on every night.
Moving along to the dessert course, a tray or maybe I should say, a platter of desserts came to the table. It was filled with many Italian favorites and a killer looking red velvet cake. It was a must on the “to order” list. The table’s favorite of the desserts was the Italian Ricotta Cheesecake. This is recipe is also one of Ann’s. Perfectly dense with the back of the slice being the preferred bite as it was ever so toasted.
We were ever so full as we made our way to the car. Bellies full and smiles on our faces, this was a nice meal. It’s always a pleasure to be in good company, especially in the home of those who are eager to serve while paying homage to those before them.