We asked our readers which Livingston County restaurant no longer in business they’d bring back if they could. Hundreds of readers weighed in by choosing from a list of 10 restaurants we compiled, the results of which are below.
But we also gave readers the chance to vote for a restaurant not on our list, one that we might have overlooked. And, boy, did we overlook the one popular Howell eatery that got the most votes of any — on and off our list — by far.
We have here a reader’s pick in the truest sense. The restaurant readers want back — hands down — is Anthony’s in Howell.
The immensely popular burger-and-ice-cream shop beat every other restaurant readers nominated, including the 10 that we picked.
That says a lot about how much everyone loved enjoyed the good food, and the fun, friendly atmosphere of Anthony’s, which closed in 2004 after serving its loyal customers for 42 years. The building was sold and then demolished to expand a car dealership.
Its owners — Vic and Kathy Spaniola — started the restaurant when they were teenagers. Anthony’s became one of Howell’s most popular places through the hard work and dedication of the Spaniolas and their three children: Rose Witt, Gina Baldwin, and Nicholas Spaniola.
So beloved was Anthony’s that the closing of the restaurant was front-page news on The Livingston County Press & Argus, and the Spaniolas were honored as the grand marshals of the 2004 Fantasy of Lights Parade.
Comments on The Livingston Post’s Facebook page paid homage to Anthony’s.
“Best burgers and ice cream,” said one commenter, while another fondly remembered Anthony’s bacon cheeseburger. Even beloved retired Howell High School teacher Rod Bushey, after whom the school’s auditorium was renamed, weighed in on the restaurant he’d bring back: “Anthony’s … hands down!!”
In his weekly column on Sept. 20, 2000, Buddy Moorehouse acknowledged some of the things that made Anthony’s so popular:
Of the restaurants we nominated, Silverman’s in Howell led the way.
Here are the results, with percentage of votes each received.
1. Silverman’s, Howell — 17.27 percent
2. TW & Friends, Howell — 15.45 percent
3. The Canopy, Brighton — 13.64 percent
4. — TIE — Honeydew Restaurant, Howell — 10.91 percent
4. — TIE — Cardona’s Pizza, Brighton — 10.91 percent
5. Oasis Truck Stop, Hartland — 10 percent
6. The Midget, Howell — 8.18 percent
7. Pinckney Inn — 6.36 percent
8. Rocky’s, Brighton — 5.45 percent
9. Nickerson Farms, Fowlerville — 1.82 percent
Here is a video of Anthony’s last day.