With the future of Anthony’s Restaurant uncertain as plans for development in its area of downtown Falls Church continue, a surge of support for the restaurant has come forth from hundreds of citizens and patrons who want to preserve the local establishment’s 40-year legacy and see it thrive. A visit to Anthony’s makes it easy to see why so many have such strong feelings for this restaurant.
The dated diner look of the restaurant is simply charming, with its distinct blocked-letter signage and big (often decorated) front windows. Inside, the wrap-around counter and dessert display are classic. One might see Anthony Yiannarakis himself behind the till, the Greek immigrant who opened the family owned and operated business in 1972 and gave it his name.
The dining space is expansive, and divided into a few different rooms of green and pink booths and tables all connected by doorways and half-windows with flower-etched glass and big hanging plants. Most walls have a few framed paintings, usually scenes of the Mediterranean. At this time of year, a Christmas tree takes up a quiet corner of the restaurant and gives a greater impression that this place is an extension of home. The atmosphere is comfortable and friendly. Patrons laugh, tell stories, and, in this season of giving, share gifts across the table. They eat, and from a menu like the one at Anthony’s, with its ample portions and affordable prices, they won’t go home hungry.
The pages-long menu, in classic diner tradition, serves just about everything under the sun but focuses on Greek and Italian fare. Appetizers like the Spinach and Feta Cheese Turnover ($3.95) and Stuffed Grape Leaves ($6.95) can start the meal, and set the palate for other Mediterranean eats ahead. The turnover is flaky at the fork and the fingers, filled with warm spinach and cheese. The grape leaves are stuffed with meat and rice and served all in a row, warm and coated in a savory sauce.
Subs, sandwiches, pastas and more can be ordered for entrees, not to mention a revolving cast of weekday dinner specials. A few plates are highlighted as specialties. The Chicken Suvlaki Platter ($15.95) among them serves chunks of tender seasoned chicken covered in feta cheese crumbles atop shredded lettuce and pita bread, all to be combined and interspersed with bites of crinkle-cut French fries. A salad and a basket of warm, crusty bread come with the dinner orders, as if the big platters aren’t enough.
Anthony’s homemade pizzas should not go overlooked on the daunting menu. Pizzas are exclusively build-it-yourself, and are priced according to toppings and size. It’s hard to go wrong with a small pepperoni pizza, and with the order comes a nine-inch pie on a slightly chewy, yeasty base, glistening with grease, dotted with pepperoni, and stacked with enough cheese to make each slice downright ooey-gooey.
For dessert, a piece of homemade Baklava ($3.95) can close the meal with spiced sweetness and a nutty crunch between flaky pastry layers.
The servers – and even some of the diners – wear T-shirts boasting the 40-year anniversary of the restaurant, celebrated this year. It would be hard to count the number of meals shared between these walls or measure the fond memories its many patrons have of stopping by for a bite to eat. But beyond these warm feelings, at its root Anthony’s is a great diner: A nice, casual place to get something to eat and not pay too much. That’s enough to turn first-time customers into longtime supporters.
Anthony’s Restaurant is located at 309 W. Broad St., Falls Church. For more information, call 703-532-0100 or visit anthonysrestaurantva.com. Restaurant hours are Sunday: 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Monday – Friday: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.; and Saturday: 8 a.m. – 11 p.m.