Antoine's Hasn't Changed Much.

Antoine's Foods
4234 Harry Hines Boulevard
Oak Lawn

Ambiance: 2 out of 4 Po-Boys.
Food: 2 out of 4 Po-Boys.
Service:3 out of 4 Po-Boys.

Antoine's Foods has been serving lunch for over 50 years now.

So what does that get you? Well, nothing fancy, really. And not necessarily what you'd expect, either: They advertise on the windows that this establishment serves Po-Boys, but what you get wasn't much like any Po-Boy I am familiar with.

We were recommended to check out Antoine's by someone who told us that it was an institution, that it had been there forever.

Usually, as far as restaurants go, longevity is a good sign. You're guaranteed a generally positive experience because, if it was awful, as logic goes, it wouldn't exist anymore.

Here's the thing: Antoine's Foods is certainly not awful. But I would definitely not go so far as to call it great, either.

Mostly, Antoine's is really cheap. For around five bucks you get a pretty big sandwich, a bag of chips and a can of soda. That's hard to beat, especially since five bucks might get you a really sloppily made sandwich from Subway made from stuff that was engineered in a food factory.

At Antoine's, you walk up and take a pre-made sandwich from a cooler. If your sandwich isn't available, you tell them what you want and they make it for you then and there.

On our most recent trip, the minced ham sandwich was on special and, because it sounded really weird, we ordered one. None were in the cases, so they made it for us on command — a freshly made ham salad sandwich on some bread with cheese and pickles. We certainly weren't prepared for the amount of salt in one sandwich, though. Seriously, it was a lot of salt. After managing to shove down half of it, the rest was consigned to the garbage.

The pastrami sandwich, on the other hand, was passable, with some pretty solid meat sitting in there between the bread. But, in general, it was pretty underwhelming as a sandwich.

Antoine's does stock Dr. Brown's soda, though, and, as any deli aficionado will tell you, that's a pretty awesome soda brand to drink with a sandwich.

But, beyond that, Antoine's doesn't do anything fancy. The decor inside makes that plainly clear. It's just cheap food, served up with a smile.

They've been around for a long time and I imagine they'll be around a lot longer still.

Nostalgia, after all, is a funny thing. And, certainly, in the case of Antoine's, that much is more important than the quality of the food.

Nonetheless, in a city that ends up being the butt of a lot of jokes about being yuppified or too fancy, maybe it's just refreshing that a lunch place like this can exist without valet parking or leather seating.

Maybe.



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