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Any really good roast beef sandwich joint in Cam/Som/Med.

Ever since the demise of Giant Roast Beef in Teele Sq. (sometime in the early 90's) I've been in need of a very good local roast beef shop. I've been to Kelly's many times and while I like them in general they are not as good as Giant used to be. Perhaps I'm just being nostalgic?

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  1. I can't really think of any. Most of the good roast beef joints are further north of Boston (every town from Woburn, Stoneham, and Wakefield on have "roast beef and seafood" joints wherever you look).

    The All Star Sandwich Bar has beef on weck, but this might not be what you're looking for. Other than that, it's Kelly's in Medford and a few local sub shops in the area that have mostly average roast beef sanwiches.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hiddenboston

      y'know, I tried this last week... and the juicy beef leaked through the "weck" pretty quickly, leaving me with a pretty soggy sandwich, that I ended up finishing with a knife and fork...

      not really that great of an experience.

    2. If you are willing to make the trek to Salem, MA, check out King's roast beef on North street - excellent roast beef sandwiches with the proper ratio of sauce and a fabulous roll.

      1 Reply
      1. re: amamba

        Billy's rocks. A true underrated gem. Their carmelized onion topped rolls put their beefs over the top.

      2. I'd rather go to Billy's Roast Beef on Main Street in Wakefield rather than Kelly's Roast Beef. Billy's roast beef sandwich is bigger, tastier and cheaper than Kelly's. Liberty Bell on Main Street in Melrose also makes a good roast beef sandwich. In my opinion Kelly's roast beef sandwich is okay but nothing special.

        10 Replies
        1. re: buffet king

          Thanks for the rec on Liberty Bell. I'll be in the area tonight so I'll try to talk my SO into giving it a whirl.

          1. re: Sal Monella

            There is also a Liberty Bell on Main Street in Stoneham. It's near Stoneham Ford and Walgreen's. Liberty Bell also has some good onion rings.

            1. re: buffet king

              is there any relation to the liberty bell diner in southie? i love their roast beef on a onion roll with just the sauce and cheese. though, the last time i ordered from there the beef was a bit dry. hopefully just an off night.

              1. re: buffet king

                If you go to the website for the Stoneham location (mylibertybell.com), there are some coupons available to print. Looks like the offer is for the SToneham location only.

                1. re: buffet king

                  I checked out the Stoneham Liberty Bell on Sat. and it was okay but not great. Nice counter guy and certainly a good amount of food for a good price, but not so flavorful. Went with the big beef plate which included fries, rings and cole slaw ($7.50). Onion rings were nicely done but weren't hot enough, same for the fries. Cole slaw was more than a thimble full and not full of mayo, but not a ton of flavor. And while the sandwich was huge and the beef was rare, meat had no taste it seemed. I got the horseradish sauce on it which obviously gave it a kick but I like Mike's in Everett better.

                2. re: Sal Monella

                  I like Liberty Bell but think Billy's is better. I like them both better than Kelly's.

                3. re: buffet king

                  Hey B.K. Gave Liberty Bell in Melrose a try last night. It hit the spot. Very good roast beef (Big beef with sauce and mustard) and a side of onion rings. Liked all of it. My wife had the roast beef plate (she had the beef well done). Very clean restaurant, ample free parking, huge menu and very good service. It also appeared that a lot of locals enjoy going there as well. We will put this place down as a good option anytime we're in the area or if I'm dying for a roast beef sandwich. Thanks for the advice and the tip.

                  1. re: Sal Monella

                    Sal, I'm glad you liked the roast beef at Liberty Bell. I usually get a super roast beef with sauce and cheese. Give Billy's in Wakefield a try too. Billy's is on the same street about 10 minutes from Liberty Bell.

                    1. re: buffet king

                      Thanks BK. I'll give them a try too at some point. And I'll try the super beef too.

                  2. re: buffet king

                    I prefer billy's to Kelly's as well.

                  3. I find Mike's Roast Beef on Rt 99 in Everett (2 minutes outside of Sullivan Sq) to be a bit inconsistent, but it does hit the spot and is open late.

                    You could also give Skampa in East Cambridge a try. Its a bit different than the seafood & roast beef model, but is pretty good overall and I think a bit fresher than Mike's.

                    13 Replies
                    1. re: itaunas

                      I like Mike's too, esp. the toasted bun.

                      1. re: itaunas

                        I like Mike's too - and aside from the roat beef, their fish sandwich is great.

                        1. re: itaunas

                          I was a huge fan of Giant Roast Beef. Skampa does a good job without having to travel too far.

                          1. re: hondo883

                            Is Skampa the one on Cambridge St? Near Lechmere?

                            1. re: Sal Monella

                              Yes -- its on Cambridge St probably at the corner of 5th st, across from Ciampa Apothecary. Their "super beef" is pretty large, on a onion bun, quite rare. Sauce is a bit sweet, but not overly, little bite (vaguely recall a bit of horseradish). Usually they toast the bun, but I have had it untoasted. Fries are pretty forgettable and their haddock sub looks tasty, but with Courthouse a block away I have never tried. I do like their pastrami, but its not a complete replacement for Maria's. Overall its pretty solid, but not my favorite for the area.

                            2. re: hondo883

                              If you were a fan of Giant then Mike's is the place to go. They were in the same family.

                            3. re: itaunas

                              Mike's jumbo roast beef, with sauce and cheese on a toasted onion roll, a giant coke, and the spicy waffle cut fries with the nuclear orange cheese sauce. If I am ever a condemned woman, this would be my last meal.

                              1. re: Notorious EMDB

                                I keep forgetting to try those fries you recommend - thanks for reminding me! We hit Mike's today to pick up our usual - two large roast beefs with extra sauce, mayo and lettuce with a side of fried shrimp. Great as always. Love that place. Just wish I had remembered to order those waffle fries ;)

                                1. re: Rubee

                                  I always try to arrange it so I visit my Dad in Everett AFTER lunch-- and that I leave the house with a good paperback so I can stand at the counter (or sit in my car) with my book, my sandwich, and my fries. However, it's not the same now that you can't polish the whole thing off with one of Mike's Donut's excellent powdered-sugar covered jelly filled crullers. They had the best donuts, ever. : (

                                  1. re: Rubee

                                    I swear the steak and cheese rolls are the same exact ones served at Davio's for about 1/4 of the price.

                                    1. re: phatchris

                                      Davio's has those trademarked nationally, now. They also sell them to other restaurants through a distributor.

                                      1. re: almansa

                                        Well they sure taste similiar and for 1.50 a roll.

                              2. I liked Nick's in Davis Sqyare a lot, but have not been there in a long time. I heard that it had changed ownership.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: Gabatta

                                  I used to eat there a lot while I was in grad school as it was on my way home from the subway and was open late at night. It was really good for awhile then I thought it went a little downhill. I drove by there the other day and it looked like a more general kind of place had replaced it.

                                  1. re: bee

                                    There have been a few posts recently about the "new" Nicks in Davis. They used to have great steak and cheese, but no longer. Sounds like they are trying to do fancy sandwiches instead, but I've not tried them lately.

                                    1. re: yumyum

                                      Yes, they are now known as Deli-licious. There's a thread on them from today.

                                  2. re: Gabatta

                                    For a moment I thought you meant Nick's Beef & Beer in Cambridge. Anyone remember that place?

                                    1. re: jajjguy

                                      I do. Although their sign lights were dodgy so it was always "ick's eef and Beer Ho " to me. Ah, youth.

                                  3. At any of these places being mentioned, if I wanted to indulge totally and eat a roast beast with mayo, bbq sauce And cheese on a toasted bun (like I used to every now and then in Gloucester) could I do that?

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: bee

                                      Sure. All the extras. At Mike's I always get mine with lettuce, mayo, and extra sauce. Gotta have the toasted bun too. Drat, I'm hungry AGAIN.

                                    2. I've always liked Alamo on Salem Street in Medford Square. Great onion rings, too. The fried clams are hit or miss, but when they're a hit, they're really quite excellent. (It's officially "Alamo Roast Beef & Seafood.")

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: dannie26

                                        There is another Alamo at the corner of Broadway and Hancock Street in Everett, for those intersted in an on-the-spot comparison with Mike's. It's not as good as Mikes, but it sure was a bit more convenient for those of us on lunch break at Everett High, next door.

                                      2. A friend surprised me with a take-out lunch yesterday. He brought me a roast beef sandwich dressed in a way I never would have ordered myself. It was from Liberty Bell in Southie, and came with lettuce, tomato, bbq sauce AND mayo on a toasted bun. Totally delicious.

                                        1. Billy's Roast Beef on Main Street Wakefield (near the Melrose line), is in my opinion the best. It really deserves a try - if you're in the area. I have friends from NY and every time they are in Boston, they drive the 7 miles north for a beef.

                                          1. I'll add Royal Roast Beef and Seafood in Eastie to this list. I wish the bun were less fluffy (ordering it toasted helps a bit), but otherwise they do the Kelly's model one better: generous portions, zero atmosphere (unless you love Formica and styrofoam plates), very good frying on the seafood, nice prices.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                                              There is also one on Main Street in Stoneham across from The Dairy Dome and I like Billy's on Main Street in Wakefield.

                                            2. Roast beef is what I miss most about Boston* (while living in NYC). You guys are lucky to have so many options!

                                              *ok, aside from the Sox!

                                              1. Not quite the same, but there is a great prime rib sandwich at Deep Ellum in Allston. No BBQ sauce, though (which is fine with me).

                                                1. Thanks to this thread I had a roast beef sandwich from Skampa tonight. I never even realized that this placed existed, or how close it is to where I work! But wow! What a great roast beef sandwich. I had the "Large Beef" which was lots of freshly cut roast beef piled high on a challah roll (egg bun), with lettuce, tomato, mayonaise, and BBQ sauce. The roast beef was very rare and extremely flavorful, and although the sauces made for a slightly messy sandwich, they complemented the beef and the excellent bun just right. While waiting for the sandwich (it was made fresh), I noticed that the baklava in the display case looked excellent, and also bought a piece. This did not dissapoint either, and was chewy, nutty, and sweet without being overpowering. Not only that, but the staff was very plesant, even though I made it there just before closing time. Thanks Chowhounders!

                                                  1. i tried skampa this weekend and it was pretty damn good. the super beef came with the standard onion roll, sauce, mayo, cheese, and a huge pile of rare, flavorful beef. i also ordered a greek salad that was fresh and delicious. only complaint is that the bbq sauce could stand to have a little more bite. other than that, very good.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: shoofirbin

                                                      I am glad the Skampa suggestion has worked out for a couple of folks. I still prefer Mike's (which I have had to pass about 5 times in the last month when I did not have 2 minutes to spare ... grrr). A few other thoughts about Skampa. Lipoff got lucky with the baklava -- it always looks great, but I have ordered it twice and it was soggy, stale, etc. Same with one other dessert. I had some good fries over a year ago, but they have been a universal disappointment recently (whereas Courthouse seafood which always had the lousiest fries has improved). One one particularly cold day I wanted an order to warm me up and they were simply cold (I had walked a block when I tried them). The next time I went I was going to complain, but decided I didn't want fries that visit... and they comped me a fries -- I had one and it was cold, so I threw the whole bunch away. Their sicilian slices are a guilty pleasure -- a bit overly doughy and forgettable sauce, but huge and a massive amount of grande cheese all for $1.50. I wouldn't make a trip for the pizza, but its nice to have there (Royal Bakery has several flavors for $.75, cheese maybe .50, but its heavy on sweet sauce.)

                                                    2. On Broadway (which used to be Worldly Wings before Soundbites ownership took it over) makes a pretty mean roast beef. I had one from there the other day and it was great. Definitely worth a try.

                                                      1. There is a Bill & Bob's in Woburn. I think they have a few locations. I have not gone there in years. What does everyone think of their roast beef sandwich? Should I revisit?

                                                        1. A roast beef and seafood joint seems to be in the cards for union square, somerville. Opening Soon banners at the old Sunny's Deli spot next to Casa de Carnes.

                                                          1. I know this is not in the city specified- but it is well worth the additional mileage it takes to get there... Jimbo's on Main Street- not sure if its Stoneham or Reading. I think it's Reading-from the Stoneham side of Main St heading towards Walmart it will be on your left hand side. I think there is a Dunkin Donuts beside it but I am not sure...
                                                            I have made special trips there just for their roast beef sandwiches... AND you could literally eat off the floor in the place it's so clean...
                                                            Give it a try you won't be disappointed.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: MeffaBabe

                                                              Never been to Jimbo's but that name rings a bell. I think it's the name of the place opening in union square. A budding regional chain?

                                                            2. Has anyone tried Roy's Roast Beef on Main St. in Medford --it opened up last year some time & it is so close to my house but I haven't heard anything about it. It is in a spot where there is a frequent turn-over of restaurants so I'm wondering if it will last.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: saridt

                                                                Went there once. Eh. I only eat RB sandwiches (this style) once in a blue moon and I like the beef rare; this wasn't. But the business was pretty new, maybe it's improved. Take a hit for the team!

                                                              2. I bet wherever you go, it will be "Famous." What's the history, there? I grew up in parts devoid of famous roast beef and seafood joints - aka, Montreal, Toronto, San Francisco, Chicago, Western Mass and NYC. I now live right in the heart of famousland with a Liberty Bell, Billy's, Kelly's and some other one within a couple of miles from home, and while I don't eat beef unless I know who raised it, I did have some fried fish and a salad from LB, and they were much better than they needed to be.

                                                                1. helen's roast beef on boston ave makes a really good sandwich- get the super beef with everything

                                                                  1. Nick's in Davis Square is now Deli-icious on College Ave. and I STRONGLY recommend it for a truly great roast beef melt, wrap or sandwich. Try the rare - it's outstanding!