THE PLACE: Anthony’s Dandelion Deli & Cafe is the one spot people always suggest to me because they know I’m committed to healthful eating. The cafe, which has been around for almost 17 years, is known for its vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free dishes.
Anthony’s is located in a strip mall on Wells Avenue, so parking is hit or miss, but you have to give kudos to an independent restaurant that survives in a chain restaurant world. I’ll take tough parking for originality. The website says the restaurant recycles, so I’m glad my meal won’t be leaving an urban footprint on my world, just my stomach.
THE LOOK: This is a casual spot, nothing fancy, with plenty of tables and chairs for a quick lunch. You order from the counter and seat yourself. Big refrigerators on the back wall house a variety of healthful drinks. Don’t expect to find free Coke refills here. Water is self-serve.
THE MEAL: The cafe has daily specials and a menu that includes vegetarian, vegan or meat sandwiches, homemade soups, salads and vegetarian chili. The pastries look yummy but definitely aren’t on my eating plan.
The best thing is that nothing on the menu costs more than $10, and portions are substantial.
I have the vegetarian lasagna, and my companion goes for the gluten-free risotto. Both dishes come to $18.29, with side salads. My dish is flavorful, but my friend finds hers to be bland but filling. The side salads are large, each a nice complement to the meal. I try to talk myself into a pastry but I resist.
KUDOS: The food is good, but I’m sure it’s also Anthony’s graciousness that keeps people coming back for more. It’s nice to see an owner working his business. The restaurant is also trying to branch out by offering monthly dinners with two seatings. The next one is May 19.
QUIBBLES: The cafe needs a serious remodel. It seems cluttered. The decor made me feel like I was dining in 1987. Because gluten-free is so trendy, I think the place would get the hip dining crowd with a facelift. Also, my dining companion would eat here again if the restaurant served Diet Coke.
RETURN TRIP?: I’ve heard the housemade gluten-free bread is good, so I’m thinking about grabbing a slice the next time I’m on Wells Avenue.