Cheesesteaks reign at the beach

June 23, 2022

Looks like I hit a nerve (or two … or three…) last week when I wrote about steaks. You know, big chunks of tenderloin, rib or short loin, seared and served with a baked potato the size of a Yorkie, with sour cream and a side of Lipitor. Though I waxed rhapsodic about porterhouses and strips, some emails centered on an elongated roll in the style of Philly’s Amoroso Baking Company, filled with chopped beef grilled with onions and topped with cheese. You know … steaks! (If you’re from Philly, that is.)

Cheesesteaks are known to congregate around oceans, state fairs and city marketplaces. (This also applies to French fries, which is an entirely different column.) So even if you’re not from Philadelphia and have no idea who the heck Amoroso is, read on. You’re at the beach. This is information you’re going to need.

We’ll start at the water and work our way west.  I believe the cheesesteak is one of the stars at Gus & Gus’ Place on the Boardwalk. It’s stuffed to bursting with frizzled beef and couldn’t be any fresher if it had been made right in front of you - which it is. A block north and about 75 feet west, the Gouvas brothers at Louie’s build Grinders. Don’t panic - the New England term refers to the fact that the sandwich is crisped under a broiler. Extensive studies have shown that both Gus’ and Louie’s creations survive the trip down to your blanket and umbrella.

I crow about the Italian sub at Casapulla’s Sub Shop. And it is indeed delicious. But Mike and Paula LaPenta’s sandwich & meatball emporium near Giant Food also builds a delicious cheesesteak. I get onions, pickles and cherry pepper spread. Moving north, though fresh turkey is the specialty at Capriotti’s in Lewes, the Wilmington-born chain also makes a good cheesesteak. The largest size will feed the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Speaking of Wilmington-born, Petru Cornescu at Pete’s Steak Shop in Market Place Shopping center whomps up a fine steak with either ribeye or chicken. And, lo and behold, the orange spray-can cheese – a Philly must-have for purists – is available. Another sleeper in the Lewes area is Pat’s Pizzeria. It’s not just about pizza there in Mariner Plaza – Pat’s puts together a very nice cheesesteak on a properly warm, soft roll.

Though a turkey cheesesteak might smack of heresy, Gary’s Dewey Beach Grill skillfully elevates the humble gobbler to cheesesteak status. Nestled in an actual Amoroso roll, it comes with all the standard accoutrements – and a few unusual topping choices if you’re feeling frisky.

Three other spots in Dewey Beach deserve mention: New kid on the block Fat Vinny dishes up made-to-order steaks ‘til 3am in season. Next door, The Starboard (party central) also does a fine job in that department. And though Woody’s Dewey Beach Grill is The Place for Crabcakes, try Jimmy’s cheesesteak. It’s fully packed and well-constructed – not unlike The Rehoboth Foodie.

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