Try lunch — or dinner — at Tony’s

Tony’s Market is the perfect place for fresh deli sandwiches and an ice-cold beer.

The space. — Chris Silva

If you’ve spent any amount of time on-Island, you probably know about Tony’s Market in Oak Bluffs. Not only do they have a large selection of grocery items, great pastries and snacks, and a really good wine and cold beer department, they also do a huge take-out lunch service as well as prepared meals and salads to go.

Set just outside the recently coined “Arts District” in OB, Tony’s Market has been in business since 1877. No, that’s not a typo — 1877! There’s quite a storied history there and if you find yourself wanting more details just check out the “history wall” across from the frozen ice cream case along the far aisle. It shows the lineage of owners, pictures of special events over the years, and a photo of the current owners, Dave and Ellen Richardson.

Dave and Ellen took the reigns back in 1992, so they’ve been at it now for over 26 years. Kelly Hill, the adroit manager they’ve had in charge since 1995, says one of their main goals when they took over was to create a real authentic deli using fresh homemade ingredients available every day. Just a quick glance at the signage above the counter tells the story, with all the different sandwiches and food items listed in an easily grasped, clear and concise fashion.

Kelly mentioned the Steak and Cheese Bomb and the California Wrap as their most popular hot and cold items. They choose a hot and cold special each day that comes with coleslaw and french fries or their amazing homemade potato chips. There’s also plenty of fried items if that’s your fancy, or if you’re looking for healthier choices, Tony’s carries a bunch of freshly made salads in addition to serving breakfast all day until 3 pm — the off-season closing time for the deli. According to Kelly, during the summer, it’s pretty much gangbusters all the time.

Grilled Chicken Pesto Panini with homemade chips. — Chris Silva

When I went over last week for lunch I found the selection plenty varied and enticing, if not just a little overwhelming. I decided on the Grilled Chicken Pesto Panini ($9.49). It was served piping hot with plenty of melted mozzarella as well as a generous amount of delicious pesto — one of my all-time favorite tastes! And, of course, I just had to try the homemade potato chips for a couple bucks more, which belied all expectations. I was very pleased with my decision.

Right now it’s early evening at the office and, having been off-Island for the weekend, I have nothing in the fridge to make for dinner. So, this is the perfect night to head over to Tony’s to pick up a hearty chef-made prepared meal and a beer or two, and that’s exactly what I’m gonna do. Thank heaven for Tony’s.