Illustration by Matt Lehman
Situated adjacent to Tony’s, Anthony’s Bar is the offspring of Vince Bommarito’s venerable restaurant, but it’s not to be confused with Anthony’s, the French restaurant that was once Tony’s sibling. Vince owned Tony’s, and Tony owned Anthony’s.
Opened in 1972 and closed in 1991, in that same downtown building at Broadway and Market, Anthony’s was in no way a clichéd French restaurant. Omnipresent, Tony Bommarito was as soft and subtle as the restaurant itself. Its sophisticated, modern interior was elegant and restrained. Each table seemed to be an island in a dark sea, with lighting that gave each space a feeling of privacy. And the service—well, this was a Bommarito restaurant, so it was as velvety as the lighting.
The restaurant’s modern approach was a big draw. Anthony’s was a place where you’d see such scenes as Ozzie Smith signing his first big contract with the Cardinals, ad execs who seemed straight out of Mad Men, or even the Rolling Stones during a tour stop.
The menu brought new attention to vegetables. Suddenly St. Louisans were talking about fresh ingredients such as wild mushrooms. The menu got lighter over the years. Snails were served in a fennel-tomato sauce, for instance, rather than garlic butter. We miss it—both that garlic butter and Anthony’s.