When I first found out that my beloved Antone’s original sandwich shop was being thrown out into the cold by some new, hip restaurant, I was pretty bummed. This place was, after all, the original Antone’s sub shop, and was a nearly five decades long-standing staple for those in the museum district and West University areas for a mean po-boy. Then when we discovered the new, hip bully on the block was actually a concept restaurant birthed from owner of the neighbor next door, Benji’s, well, I was feeling far less Atomic-Wedgied by this presumed “bully”. I mean, how much of a meanie could this restaurant be if they were sort of right next door all along? Come opening week, my mama and I decided to just “walk by” and “check it out through the window”.
Walking up to the restaurant , which was, as I later found out, very frankly named “Local Foods”, it felt a little strange that I felt pleasantly excited to try this new café. It looked so new and industrial and open, yet rustic and charming at the same time. As you can tell if you’ve read any of my other restaurant and bar reviews, just my cup of tea. As we went to open the front door (we decided one meal couldn’t possibly hurt), something felt oddly familiar. And that’s when I noticed the Original Antone’s sign still proudly intact on the floor entrance. Now, a place that honors a previous landmark occupant by keeping the original signage rather than bulldozing right over it? That’s not a bully at all! I was sold. And I hadn’t even tried the food yet.
Walking into the high-ceilinged, bustling Local Foods, you can almost smell the freshness of all the ingredients featured in their menu items. Come to find out, they are known for their local, organic fare, featuring ingredients from the likes of such local farms as Atkinson Farms, Blue Hill Ranch, and Hatterman Egg Farm. So “Local Foods” isn’t just a catchy name, it’s dead on. Today, months and months after my first visit there, I’ve tried many things on their rotating, seasonal menu. The Banh Mi, one of their staple sandwiches, is simple, but makes all the difference when compared to a Banh Mi at a typical Vietnamese restaurant with it’s super fresh veggies and bread. The pork is seasoned well but not overly seasoned. It’s definitely a Banh Mi gone healthy and delicious. Another of my favorite dishes is the Chinese Chicken Salad. Piles of fresh lettuce, carrots, bean sprouts, peanuts, organic chicken, and crispy wontons with a very simple soy dressing. It’s light, but comes in a HUGE bowl that will fill you up. Along with their soups, salads, and sandwiches, they offer piles of healthful and hearty sides like kale, quinoa, and bean salads. The sides, as do many items on the menu, do rotate out, which is another thing that’s very now but also very smart. If you are craving something that won’t make you feel that after grease guilt I often times experience when I eat out, this is the perfect place to go to. And supporting all of our local food providers? Now they’re on to something grand.