Good Afternoon Anthony! Thank you so much for talking with Battered and Brewed!
Growing up in Philadelphia, and coming from a family of Italian cooks, what were meals typically like for you growing up?
A story that probably best illustrates what meals and food were like in my family…. While all the other kids in elementary school were either buying school cafeteria food or eating peanut butter and jelly, I was eating homemade meatball subs on seeded Italian bread from Sarcone’s bakery at the Italian market. My dad packed my lunches and he didn’t mess around! Needless to say, I had a lot of classmates trying to trade for my lunch.
Can you remember cooking with your family at an early age?
Absolutely. My Mom-mom (which is a term regional to Philly for grandmother) used to sit me up on the kitchen counter when I was about 3 years old while she made “Sunday gravy” (tomato sauce). She would treat it like a game. She called it a “demonstration” and she would pretend like she was the host of a cooking show and show me all the ingredients and how she made the gravy.
Was there ever music playing in the kitchen growing up?
I actually don’t remember there being music in the kitchen when we made meals.
Do you have a music playlist you listen to now when cooking?
Yes, it usually revolves around the Italian American crooners- Sinatra and Dean Martin being my favorites.
Do you cook as much as you can when off the road or do you prefer eating out?
I try to cook at home most nights. It’s usually cheaper and definitely healthier to make stuff yourself.
What’s your favorite ingredient to cook with?
I love fresh cilantro. I also love anything truffle flavored- salts and oils.
What food is your food vice? You know, one you sneak in a little extra of when no one is looking.
Does ice cream count? If so, that’s it!
Tell us about one memorable meal you’ve had during your travels. What did it involve?
I travel to Italy about every 2-3 years to visit my family over there. My wife and I were in Florence just wandering around and taking in the sights when we decided to eat in this restaurant that was actually below street level. It was very rustic and the smells coming out of the kitchen were incredible. I had a gnocchi done in a truffle cream sauce. To this day, probably one of the best meals I’ve ever had.
Is there anywhere you have wanted to travel or a restaurant you have always wanted to dine in that you have not yet? Or somewhere you can not wait to get back to?
I can’t think of a specific restaurant I want to go to that I haven’t, but I’m always excited to get back to any of my favorite food cities and countries- Italy, New Orleans, Vegas, Chicago.
How do you maintain a balance of eating healthy while on the road? Anything you avoid or try to avoid so you can keep fit?
Whenever possible, I try to avoid fast food. Recently, I’ve gotten into packing a cooler of healthy snacks.
Do you ever find yourself cooking with beer or wine?
I use wine pretty often, especially when i’m making Italian dishes. The best part of course being pouring a glass to sip on while making the meal.
For fun, can you give an example of a “typical day” of eating for you, whether you are going out with friends or cooking at home.
Well my typical day is probably pretty boring. I usually have Greek yogurt with some granola and fresh fruit for breakfast. I’ll have some type of fruit for a morning snack. Lunch, I usually have a turkey and cheese sandwich or tuna. For dinner on a typical day, I usually have some type of chicken dish. I try to eat healthy most days.
What’s your go-to drink when out with friends?
If it’s a dinner setting, I love Brunello, although that can be hard to find unless it’s a higher end restaurant. A good Cabernet is always great. I also enjoy craft beer if I’m out to eat. If it’s party time- Jack Daniels!
Now that you have been in Nashville awhile, if you designed your own food tour, which restaurants/bars would be on your list of places to visit?
I really like Rose Pepper in East Nashville. They make a great house margarita. O Sole Mio downtown is owned by people from Calabria so the Italian there is legit. Jack’s barbecue on Broadway is still my favorite barbecue place and a must.
Aside from your passion for food and music, what’s the one thing that really keeps you ticking?
I love sports. I’m an absolute sports junky, especially football.
You have toured heavy and put out some teasers of new songs this year, what can we expect from you coming up this next year?
I have a brand new EP coming out in early 2017. I’m completely pumped for it because my band and I recorded it “old school” with all of us in a room just playing the songs. I have wanted to make a record like this for years but always got talked out of it. My new producer finally had the guts to try it!
Finally for Battered and Brewed, If you could have a drink with anyone, who would it be and what would you drink?
Honestly, there’s nothing like having a cold beer with my dad or some vino with my grandfather.
ABOUT ANTHONY ORIO:
Known not only for his electrifying performances and ability to connect with the crowds, Anthony has had success as a songwriter with cuts by Grammy award-winning country comedy legend Ray Stevens as well as former RCA recording artist Andy Griggs, and Curb Records newcomer Tim Dugger. Anthony Orio has come a long way since bursting onto the Nashville music scene as an up and coming singer/songwriter featured by ASCAP’s “Hot On The Row Series.” Orio’s self-released sophomore album, Between Home & The Bright Lights was named as one of the “Top 40 Albums of 2012” by Roughstock in addition to landing in the #2 slot of their fan voted “Best Albums of 2012.” He has had the privilege to perform alongside some of the industry greats like Kris Kristofferson, Randy Houser, Lee Brice, Justin Moore, Jamey Johnson, and many more. His unique blend of country mixes the traditional qualities of the genre with progressive contemporary vocals and production, creating a fresh new sound.
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