Since the last Tony Baloney sub shack closed nearly two years ago, readers have peppered me for copies of the recipe for the cafe's immensely popular pepper-steak sandwich. Now they can stop. After a 15-month hiatus, Anthony "Tony Baloney" Recchia has reopened his eponymous hangout at 5059 College Oak Drive, with the pepper-steak sub on the menu at $6.55 for the small, $8.75 for the big.
When Recchia closed the cafe in the fall of 2006 he gave several reasons for his decision, ranging from difficulties in finding satisfactory employees to having cashed in an online horse-racing wager that won him $170,000. What's more, he'd developed a commercial line of Tony Baloney salad dressings, which he's continued to produce in the kitchen of the College Oak Drive restaurant.
"I was going broke again," said Recchia of his decision to reopen the restaurant. "I hit some horses, but I lost some, too."
Recchia opened his first Tony Baloney along Del Paso Boulevard in 1963 and grew the business to six outlets at its peak in the 1980s. Recchia, a Massachusetts native, began to make sandwiches for colleagues at Aerojet General in Rancho Cordova when he couldn't find any East Coast-style submarines to his liking here. Pending layoffs at Aerojet then prompted Recchia, an engineer, to go into the restaurant business.
Tony Baloney is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, though he keeps the place open to 7 p.m. Fridays.