Sal Anthony’s, The City Gardener

October 2, 2008 Updated: February 2, 2009

Customers are served up delicious and nutritious, organic, raw food at Sal Anthony's City Gardener.  (Courtesy of Sal Anthony's )
Customers are served up delicious and nutritious, organic, raw food at Sal Anthony's City Gardener. (Courtesy of Sal Anthony's )
Much like how Central Park is a breath of fresh air and nature in the middle of the concrete jungle that is New York; Sal Anthony’s City Gardener on 17th Street near Irving Place gives off a similar feeling of refreshment on a smaller, more exotic scale. It is a feeling of being outdoors in a garden somewhere near the Mediterranean, surrounded by trees with open doors and little benches welcoming you as you pass by. The aroma of fresh fruits emanates from the juice bar as they are smoothed and mixed to wet your thirst and satisfy your hunger.

This place used to be “The City Gardener” and Anthony decided to keep the ambiance with the addition of a nice menu of healthy, organic raw food prepared by the famous Italian Chef, Anthony of Sal Anthony’s, Lanza, and S.P.Q.R.

Yes, Anthony decided to go Raw. After 41 years of cooking Italian and owning and managing three famous Italian restaurants: Sal Anthony’s at Irving Place which he had to close three years ago due to a massive increase in rent, from $12,000 to $60,000 a month.

The second is the intimate and popular Lanza, an old-fashioned restaurant with original walls and doors purchased from the Lanza family who opened it in 1904.

S.P.Q.R. was the last restaurant to close upon the expiration of its lease. Besides his talent in cooking and creating wonderful food, Anthony has trained in martial arts for 30 years. As a result, Anthony studied the phenomena of movement as an art form. He took the knowledge gained from his studies and integrated different methods of movement from Pilates, Yoga and martial arts to develop his own system of movement known as Occidental Yoga also known as AIM Yoga. This higher awareness of movement enables one to be literate with one’s own body. Anthony believes that movement is born from ingestion: air, water, food and substance and that movement and nutrition need each other. Raw (live sprout), said Anthony, brings your body into balance. He also said: “live food to do live movements for living people, only raw, because you do not want to kill food with temperature.”

Cooking is an art form and eating is an art. It is a culinary art, said Anthony. At Sal Anthony’s City Gardener, you will find various delicious varieties of uncooked food. All ingredients are organic and very accessible. While it is very challenging to cook this way in every respect, Anthony does create delicious, wholesome food, which is a reflection of this country-style cafe.

The menu is not that extensive but quality outshines quantity in this case, not to mention it is reasonably priced. For only $4 you can have a Pizzeta, round live flat bread topped with fresh tomatoes and olive oil with a Himalayan Heaven smoothie ($7.50) (Goji berry, figs, and other natural ingredients) or raw homemade granola with nut milk ($4) and for dessert orange carob or chocolate mulberry truffles ($2 each). No matter what you choose to eat, it will give you a boost. You will feel both pleasant and invigorated.

When you eat this kind of food, you will experience miraculous weight loss, freedom from sickness and disease and will achieve optimal health, said Anthony. The urge for that caffeine or alcohol will disappear.

“Anybody can cook,” said Anthony. “If you cook mechanically it will be good, but you need AIM to make it great.”

Sal Anthony’s City Gardener is open 7 days, 9 a.m.–10:00 p.m. They deliver.

 119 E. 17th Street (between Irving and Park Ave. S.), (212) 674-6677