BY BROM RICHEY
One thing I pride myself on is a strong devotion to amazing food coupled with a desire greater than most for sharing my experiences in detail. Now in all my travels, I have definitely become accustomed to one undeniable fact of the universe: magic happens when meat is cooked on a smokinâ€™ hot griddle with onions and peppers. And if you have the resources to add some Cheese Wiz to that little pile of love, then you my friend, are already more than halfway to becoming a stage-5 Wizard. Now with that being said, you would think itâ€™s hard to mess up something as simple as a cheesesteak â€“ very simple ingredients prepared in a simple way, right? But, I can assure you that there are many counterfeits lurking around our fine city. I am here to set the record straight and provide a beacon of light for all those aimlessly wading through the sea of cheesesteak imposters.
Recently, I was given an opportunity to go down and check out the Gaglione Bros. Famous Steaks & Subs new location in the Friars Village Shopping Center. With this being their third location and just recently opened, I figured it would be the ideal spot to meet Joe, Tony and Andy Gaglione. Motivated by an unusually large grumbling in my tummy, I met with Joe early one morning for a proper introduction to an authentic cheesesteak. Greeted by tantalizing fragrances, a well crafted design, and beautiful pillows of steam ascending from the griddle, I knew right away that the Gaglione Bros. and I were going to be friends.Â If you are unfamiliar with the Gaglione Bros., let me give you some background. Originally from Northern California, the Bros. have been San Diego locals for many years now. Growing up, they were exposed to the great cheesesteak and hoagie shops of the East Coast while visiting their huge extended Italian family. The only problem was that upon their return to our fair city, there was nothing here that could fill that sandwich void. It was settled and the brothers began their journey in Joeâ€™s kitchen down at the beach. With the menu perfected, the Gaglione Bros. broke ground in 2004 with their Point Loma location, and shortly thereafter, they opened a second shop in Mission Beach.
When you walk into a Gaglione Bros. neighborhood sandwich shop, itâ€™s a lot like those you will find in Philly â€“ nothing overly branded and no employees wearing the â€œoptionalâ€ 15 pieces of flair. What you will find is a friendly, hardworking staff serving only high quality meats, cheeses, fresh produce, and of course, fresh rolls imported from Amoroso Baking Co. These rolls are quite literally the backbone and essential building block for any true East Coast style cheesesteak.
â€œThe most popular sandwich is our Mushroom Cheesesteak. Steak, onions, cheese and mushrooms will outsell everything, haha! We have eight different cheesesteaks, nine different specialty sandwiches, and a couple of â€˜build your owns;â€™ but, 90% of the sandwiches we sell are some form of a cheesesteak.â€ That was all I needed to hear before deciding that I had a date with a lovely little mushroom sammie.
I intently watched the gentleman as he placed copious amounts of super thin prime steak about the griddleâ€™s surface. That undeniable sizzle was soon to follow and it was only seconds before the natural sugars in the protein began to caramelize. â€“ Wafts of onions and peppers periodically, and then BOOM! Mushrooms, mushrooms and more mushrooms! At that point, I was already a really happy kid content and ready to systematically take down whatever was placed in front of me. Before I can â€œcheese wiz,â€ Joe Gaglione slides me over an amazing plate of garlic fries to accompany my sub. They werenâ€™t your typical boo-boo garlic-salt fries either. Serious chunks of real garlic, herbs and seasoning create a combination of flavors so delicious that you might ignore everyone around you for a solid moment. Oh, how much I have been missing while living in San Diego for the last 12 years and never having got involved with the Gagliones! The one thing that stood out to me was the portions. There was no skimping on the meat and goods in any of the subs that I could see, and more appropriately, the steak on my sandwich showed up in full force. Layer after layer of tender meat compiled with an assortment of onions, bell peppers and hot peppers, all housed within the soft buttery walls of a perfect hot rollâ€¦Iâ€™m pretty sure I had to say a couple of Hail Marys after my first few tastes.
When I asked Joe to give me his Mount Rushmore of sandwiches off of their menu, he naturally gave me a little deer in the headlights look because of the shear quantity of amazing menu options. It is kind of like asking someone, â€œWhat do you like more: money or money?â€ After a small debate between us, Joe provided the final recommendations to those of us with any trepidation of what to order:
1) Classic Cheesesteak – (duh)
2) The Turk- Tribute to their late Fatherâ€™s holiday inspired treat
3) The General – An amazing hot pastrami concoction named after Grandma
4) The Father Joe â€“ A meatball sandwich dedicated to the brotherâ€™s Catholic priest Uncle.
The one last thing that you are going to definitely want to take the time to do is fill out their survey card!Â It is that simple, and you are automatically entered into the Great Gaglione Cheesesteak Giveaway where you have a chance to win a trip for two to Philadelphia. Join the Bros. as they travel to the Mecca of Cheesesteaks, with your airfare, hotel, limo to and from Patâ€™s and Genoâ€™s all taken care of. Here is your chance to go on an epic Philly adventure with the Bros. and all you have to do is eat a delicious sandwich! Stop procrastinating and get down to any one of the Gaglione Bros. neighborhood sandwich and sub shops and get yoâ€™ CHEESESTEAK on! And check them out online at www.gaglionebros.com.
3944 West Point Loma Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92110
Friars Rd. & Mission Gorge
10450 Friars Rd.
San Diego, CA 92120