When you step into Roy’s Cold Cuts and Pizzeria in East Boston it’s like stepping back in time.
Inside the Antonuccio Family-owned sub shop at 198 Marion St. very little has changed. 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 ever.
At the end of November Roy’s Cold Cuts, founded by Roy Antonuccio Sr. and his wife Cecelia in 1960, celebrated its Diamond Anniversary and after six decades in the neighborhood not even COVID has slowed the popular sub shop down.
“Sixty years ago my mother and father, along with three year old me, started with nothing and became a tradition that’s still going strong 60 years later,” said Roy Antonuccio Jr. who still runs Roy’s with his family. “We have a lot of customers that have been with us since the beginning and lots of new customers everyday who already feel like family. We are grateful for your loyalty and we’ll continue to give you the best experience and prepare the best quality food for you and for your family everyday. We feel the love and hope you feel it too. Thank you for 60 years. We’re looking forward to seeing you for 60 more. Long live Roy’s Cold Cuts and long live Rock and Roll.”
For 60 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.
Over the years Antonuccio said he and his family have watched customers that were once kids now bring their own kids to Roy’s to get the food that has made the sub shop a neighborhood staple.
“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.”
From subs like the “Mad Cow”–shaved steak, bacon, nacho cheese, and jalapenos to the homemade meatball subs filled with perfectly seasoned cotton soft meatballs, marinara and melted provolone cheese, the food at Roy’s has been consistently good for six decades.
The recipes haven’t changed much since his parents ran the business but Antonuccio Jr. created some new and exciting subs as the business has evolved.
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.
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 jalapeno cheese and Dijon mustard.
Over the years, Roy’s lore in the neighborhood caught the attention of food shows as well as celebrities like Johnny Depp who frequented Roy’s when he was filming Black Mass in Boston.
Some come in for a quick bite while others spend some time deciding on which signature sub to order or to check out Antonuccio’s extensive collection of Beatles and Rock and Roll memorabilia.
“I love this place,” said Maria Vivas. “This was my childhood store. After getting out of school we would stop by and get pizza. We used to get it on a napkin and all the cheese would get stuck on it but to us it was the best pizza ever. Twenty years later I went back and spoke to (the Antonuccio — Roy, Jr.) who recognized me and still remembered me. Not many places are still around in East Boston like this so I’m glad they are still going strong.”
Jacqueline Bowe DiMichele called Roy’s “the best” and an Eastie staple.
“Roy’s was a wonderful part of my childhood and is a wonderful part of my adult years,” she said.