It seems the stars know where to eat when they come to East Boston.
Last Wednesday Johnny Depp, who is in Boston to begin filming Black Mass that will star Depp as Irish Mob boss James ‘Whitey’ Bulger, stopped into Roy’s Cold Cuts on Marion Street to grab some food.
Owner Roy Antonuccio said the critically acclaimed Hollywood star hung out for close to an hour talking music and food with the Antonuccio and the staff.
“He was great,” said Antonuccio. “He saw all the music memorabilia and was amazed.”
Depp, a musician in his spare time when he’s off set and who has jammed with some of Antonuccio’s rock heroes like Paul McCartney, ordered one of Roy’s signature subs.
“He had the Godfather,” said Roy. The sub includes chicken cutlets, fresh mozzarella, roasted peppers, prosciutto and tomatoes.
“His driver called us later and said Johnny (Depp) called it the best sub he’s had,” said Antonuccio. “His words not ours.”
Antonuccio said Depp promised to come back and even extended an invitation to Antonuccio to tour the set of Black Mass once he begins filming.
“He was showing us all pictures of him in full makeup as Whitey (Bulger),” said Antonuccio. “It was amazing how much he was transformed, he looked just like him.”
Since the 1960s very little has changed inside Roy’s. The counters and deli slicer are in the same spot, the Beatles and other 1960s memorabilia that adorn the walls are the same and, of course, the subs are still as solid as they ever were.
“It’s like our own little Mayberry,” said Antonuccio, whose parents, Roy Sr. and Cecelia, started the sub shop down the street from the current location in 1960. “There’s a lot to see in here and our customers like to come in, take a look around, hang out and talk before they get their food.”
For 52 years, Roy’s has had a captive audience on Eagle Hill and serves up quality hot and cold subs, salads, appetizers and other specialty items like homemade stuffed peppers and fried ravioli. And although the neighborhood that was once predominately Italian has changed it hasn’t affected Roy’s one bit.
“People talk about new comers but I’m on my third generation of loyal customers that began coming here in the 1980s,” said Antonuccio. “It started to catch on among the immigrant community when kids started bringing their parents in here for candy and next thing you know the parents were coming in for subs.”
Antonuccio said now those customers that were once kids are coming in with their own kids to get the food that has made Roy’s a neighborhood institution.
“It’s always been a real neighborhood place and it continues to be that way,” said Antonuccio. “We have old friends that come back from as far as Saugus and Peabody but we’ve made a lot of new friends along the way. It’s nice to see people grow up on your food.”
And at Roy’s the food speaks for itself. From subs like the Mutant a combination of shaved steak, fried eggplant, cheese and a drizzle of gravy to the homemade meatball subs filled with perfectly seasoned cotton soft meatballs, marinara and melted provolone cheese, the food at Roy’s has always been consistently good.
“The recipes haven’t changed much since my parents ran the business,” said Antonuccio. “We’ve created some new and exciting subs so I guess we are always evolving.”
Many of the subs listed on Roy’s menu have been assigned whimsical names that are right in line with Antonuccio’s laid back jovial personality.
“The sub comes first and then we think of a name,” said Antonuccio. “Sometimes we came up with some comical ones.”
Like the ‘Which Came First?’–a chicken cutlet topped with an over easy egg and melted cheese or the ‘Angry Leprechaun’–a corned beef sandwich with melted jalapeño cheese and Dijon mustard.