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Burb's Eye View: Sandwiching at two Tony's and an Otto's

May 08, 2012|By Bryan Mahoney

This is the epic conclusion to Bryan's two-part sandwich tour of Burbank. Read part one here.

I've heard a meat sandwich described as a lot of things. Until recently, though, never “buttery.”

We sat on hard benches at McCambridge Park, barely taking time from bites of pastrami to offer our customary assessments of the food. It was late in the day, and Jack Swiker, of the Danger Sandwich blog (thedanger
sandwich.blogspot.com), and yours truly had already tried several of Burbank's delis.

We found Tony's Market by accident, and if you're asking “which Tony's,” I don't blame you. There are five different Tony's delis, plus Tony's Darts Away, if you're looking for sausages to pair with beer. But there can only be one Tony's Market.

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Lining the walls are dozens, if not hundreds, of photos of customers, dignitaries, you name it. Behind the counter is Dom Manente, a guy you'd swear was shipped out that morning from a legendary deli in New York and dropped on North Glenoaks.

He makes several suggestions for the shop's “best” sandwich, but when your store has been around since 1948, it's hard to name just one. We pass up the meatball and assorted subs for the sandwich that proceeded to change my outlook on cured meats.

“Buttery” was indeed the best way to describe Tony's pastrami sub. For $8, you get a meal and an experience wrapped in a pillowy, light bread. The tender meat was mild, yet could still master the mustard. Danger Sandwich and I said little after returning to the car, words failing us while our tastebuds cheered.

Tony, I assumed, was some mythical sandwich king from the land of Lunch, where people traverse canals of Italian dressing in their subroll boats. How else could one sandwich-slinger maintain so much dominance over the deli scene in Burbank?

The Tony's Italian Deli at the corner of Magnolia and Shelton was, at one time, part of a chain. Today it serves traditional fare for about the same price as most delis in Burbank — this time, $7.25 got Danger Sandwich and me a large “Assorted” containing five deli meats and sliced mozzarella.

As we picked up our order, my companion's eyes grew wide.

“A double decker!” he whispered in awe.

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