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Bob Keyes

Bob Keyes has written about the arts in Maine since 2002. He’s never been much an artist himself, other than singing in junior high school chorus and acting in a few musicals. But he’s attended museums, theaters, clubs and concert halls all his life, and cites Bob Dylan as most influential artist of any kind since Picasso. He lives in Berwick.

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Posted: November 19, 2018

Anthony’s Food Shop is York’s go-to sandwich stop

Written by: Bob Keyes

The deli counter at Anthony’s Food Shop in York.
Photo by Bob Keyes

As I unwrapped the sandwiches on the conference room table at my wife’s office, a co-worker wandered by, took one look and said, “You went to Anthony’s.”

Indeed, we did. Vicki and I ordered sandwiches to go from one of York County’s best-known deli’s, Anthony’s Food Shop on Route 1 in York. The deli is famous for its pizza and ginormous deli sandwiches, both made with premier meats and ingredients, and there’s also a cafe and bakery and a small store that sells beer and wine. But the quick and reasonably-priced sandwiches have made this place a well-known gem for locals and a welcome respite for turnpike travelers for more than two decades.

The Roman veggie panini from Anthony’s Food Shop in York.

We ordered the Roman veggie ($8) and the classic Reuben ($8.50), and we also asked for an order of chicken tenders with fries to reheat for dinner later for the boy at home ($8.50). I had hoped to meet there and grab a table in the small dining area, but it was pouring out and traffic was choked throughout town. I called in the order on the phone and agreed to meet Vicki at her office just down the road for a quick lunch.

The Reuben sandwich on dark rye.

The parking lot was full, and Anthony’s was overrun with two lines of people at the counter registers waiting to order and throngs of others waiting for orders they had already placed. Because of the traffic, I arrived a few minutes later than planned. The lines moved quickly, and my order was waiting for me when I made it to the register. Bag of food in hand, I hustled my way to the plastic utensils, grabbed a fistful of napkins and scooted out the door, glad to be in the fresh air and rain.

Ten minutes later, I was at the office, shaking off the rain and unwrapping a heavy bag of food. We both liked our sandwiches, but they were messy and difficult to eat even with a plastic fork. The tomatoes, red peppers and olives spilled from the sides of the panini, and the cheese focaccia was quickly saturated. Ditto with my Reuben. I could not remove the sandwich from the wrapper without the bottom piece of dark rye bread falling away from the corned beef.

Both seemed just a bit greasy.

That aside, or perhaps because of it, both also had great flavor. Vicki loved the basil-mayo mix on the panini and was pleased with the freshness of the vegetables. My corned beef was tender, salty and layered thick, and I appreciated the modest portion of both sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing, though it still drenched the bread. To be fair, it should be noted the top piece of rye was not saturated and had a nice crunch.

Reheated six hours later, the tenders and seasoned fries might have been the best meal of the three. The chicken was still moist and crunchy, and we crisped the fries in the oven. Luke, who is 9, pronounced his chicken “wicked awesome.” People have been saying that about Anthony’s for a generation.

ANTHONY’S FOOD SHOP

WHERE: 679 Route 1, York; (207) 363-2322 or anthonysfoodshop.com
HOURS: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily
WAIT: By calling ahead, it took just a few minutes to move through the line. Otherwise, plan to wait about 10 minutes for a deli sandwich during busy times.
PARKING: Lot
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes

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