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Thursday, April 8, 2004

Mideast conflict

Posted on Thu, Apr 8, 2004 at 4:00 AM

There are freshly painted peach-colored murals on the walls at Tony's Deli, with new printed menus to match. And that's good news to customers of the Middle Eastern stronghold on Mills Avenue that dates back to 1977. There are many faithful followers, as proved by Tony's multiple wins in Orlando Weekly's annual Best of Orlando awards.

At the beginning of this year, owner Ziad Harou, of Lebanese descent, was tragically injured in an incident at his store, but the strength of his labors was reflected in how his friends have helped with the revamping as he recuperates.

There are tables inside for sit-down meals, but Tony's is designed for easy takeout -- perfect for lunch and handy for a cheap, healthy dinner. All of the day's usuals and specials fill the window case and counters behind them, looking and smelling homemade. What's not offered here is a better question than what is.

Easily packaged into containers ($2.50 for 8 ounces, $5 for 16 ounces, $10 for 32 ounces) are baba ghanoush, hummus, tabouli, fatoush, beet roots, giant lima beans, spinach salad, squash salad, eggplant salad, lentils and rice.

Then there's kiebeh ($1.65 each), falafel ($6/dozen), stuffed cabbage ($7/pound) and stuffed grape leaves ($8/pound with meat, $7/pound without). And the sandwiches are made to order, from the gyros ($4.25) to the lamb or chicken shawarmas ($5.50 and $4.99, respectively). But the pies ($1.15) are always my favorite, with different fillings available from day to day, including meat, cheese, spinach, tomato, mushroom and combinations thereof.

And don't forget sweet baklava or burma for dessert.


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