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Philly Cheesesteak in Minnesota

  • t

Are there any restaurants in Minnesota that are close in authenticity to the real Philly Cheesesteaks?

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  1. If you find one, I want to know.

    And so does buenosds:

    And so does Ramesh:

    So far, we've come up empty every time.

    1 Reply
    1. re: KTFoley

      clepro also wanted to know, and someone replied that the MN State Fair was your best bet: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/43614...


    2. What does it take to be close to the authentic Philly Cheesesteaks? Uncle Franky's makes theirs by taking the beef to the griddle and chopping it up with paddles with or without onions (that seems authentic) adding Cheez Whiz while the meat is still on the griddle (authentic again) and adding sweet or hot peppers (sound good so far?) The only issue might be that I think they use the same beef and peppers that you could get on an Italian Beef and I think a purest would say that only top round or sirloin sliced really thin could be used and that the peppers need to be Italian cherry peppers. In any case it's a pretty good sandwich.

      Uncle Franky's
      728 Broadway St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413

      13 Replies
      1. re: mnitchals

        Thank you for the tip. It's at the top of the list. I'll be sure to try it shortly.

        1. re: tda

          tda, please report back on what you think. Obviously, this is a burning question for a lot of people on this board since it's been asked four times in about a month!


          1. re: tda

            There is also another location.

            Uncle Franky's (plymouth)
            10160 6th Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55441

          2. re: mnitchals

            I was just at Uncle Franky's today (the Broadway location), and didn't see a Philly Cheese Steak on their chalkboard menu.

            I did get a Chicago Style dog to enjoy in the car on the way to the dentist (passive aggression, anyone? but yes I did brush & floss before getting in the chair...) and it was everything it should be right down to flourescent green relish.

            But people who go really should take a stool at the far end of the counter so they can watch the lunchtime cook. That guy does so much, so fast, in so little space that he is the living embodiment of a short-order samurai.

            1. re: KTFoley

              Huh. It's on their on-line menu and I've had them. Was this the Plymouth location? (Maybe they have an abridged chalkboard).

              Also, I just noticed when verifying the on-line menu, they say they have "satellite" locations at the Bloomington, Mpls and Plymouth Home Depot stores. Intriguing!

              1. re: MSPD

                Those Home Depot locations are just hot dog carts. I don't think they can even do a real Chicago style with all the "salad on a bun". But they are still Vienna Beef dogs and better than 90% of fast food options out there.

              2. re: KTFoley

                Good news and bad news.

                The bad news is they don't serve the Philly Cheesesteak at the Broadway location. I'm already planning the trip to the Plymouth location. Good news is, I had a Italian Beef with hot peppers and fries. It was outstanding. It was fun to watch the cook. A bit hard to understand what he was saying, but we got our food. Next time I would get the Italian Beef combo which is the sandwich that includes an italian sausage link. I think it was from Scala's. The sausage is awesome.

                1. re: tda

                  I've been to the Plymouth location twice. Once for Italian beef, (tasty, but I've had better in Chicago), and once for a Chicago style hot dog with the fluorescent green relish and sport peppers. It's close to where I work and live, so I'll be back, and will try the cheesesteak sometime.

              3. re: mnitchals

                You hit the nail on the head here. It was a pretty good sandwich. The meat was the only issue, using the precooked Italian Beef that was simmering in au juice. Sliced thin raw meat is the true ticket to get that freshly cooked steak taste.

                Thanks for the tip, it was worth the trip.

                1. re: mnitchals

                  I was watching Throwdown with Bobby Flay, and found out that Tony Luke's sandwiches are made with paper-thin ribeye.

                  1. re: Roberto7

                    I called Osseo meats and had them cut me some paper thin ribeye and made my own. I cooked the meat on my griddle and it turned out great.

                  2. re: mnitchals

                    The owner of Frankys will not remember the customers, apparently, and does not hesitate to say wierd things about them while they are in line. I will not go back after one such lambasting when I took my boss there, after I had been there a dozen times, and never got any sort of shit. I can get the same quality food elsewhere. The cook should stage a revolution and get rid of that ass. BTW, a cheesesteak should be ribeye. Buon Giorno in St Paul has a great chicago beef, but try the porketta, it is much better (pork instead of beef).

                    1. re: chow11

                      I heard him once make fun of a guy for ordering a chicken sandwich without mayo. It's part of the scene he's trying to create.

                  3. Hey! all my midwest food friends! I did find a decent cheese steak at T O P P's pizza in Rosemount. The did everything right except....no wiz, the have a swiss type cheese...and they add alittle too much in the greek spice department. They do toast the roll NJ style, though. Haven't tried their hoagies yet...but I must say the best cheesesteak round here so far!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: buenosds

                      EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT!!! Not necessarily the cheesesteak, but I have driven by this place on my way to pick up my CSA boxes every Thursday afternoon for two stinking years and EVERY SINGLE TIME I think, "man...when am I going to try this place?!?". It has the look of a place I would generally love (run down, dilapidated tiny strip mall hidden behind a gas station in the middle of a forgotten corner of older suburbs). The signage says "Philly Style Pizza", Greek and American, and Hoagies (or some combination thereof). It just screams Chowhound. I honestly have failed the people on this board by not getting in there.

                      mnitchals, there are two things you forgot when mentioning the upside of Uncle Franky's (which was my one and only recommendation to each of these threads). First, the bread. The bun of an ideal Chicago beef, which is Uncle Franky's specialty has a little more density and heft to be able to support the abundance of beef and giardinera juice present in a good beef sandwich. That same bun is a little too dense and compact for the Philly cheesesteaks I grew up with out east. It's a terrible comparison but one with which most people are familiar -- a Philly cheesesteak should be roughly the length of a full-sized sub from Subway and the bun should have a similar density (air to bread ratio). That said it should be a little wider in the middle and shouldn't taste and smell like absolute crap (to end the similarities to Subway). It's a little hard to describe but a great Philly cheesesteak bun is one of those "know it when you see/feel/taste it" things.

                      The second thing is a little unfair/impossible (similar to why I believe a bagel in MSP will never amount to a bagel in NYC). It's the atmosphere. Philly cheesesteaks must be enjoyed outside, adjacent to a well-traveled city street. Preferably standing up. I honestly don't recall ever having eaten a real Philly cheesesteak sitting down except a couple I've had while driving.

                      Somewhere in South Minneapolis is a building just like Matt's Bar, on a busy street corner which is waiting to be turned into a walk-up cheesesteak and pizza place. (It'll never happen, but wouldn't it be cool?)

                      1. re: buenosds

                        Great review, I agree in all respects with your review about TOPP's.

                        My favorite cheese steak is found at a little hole in the wall called "Chicago Grill" in Hastings in the Westview mall. They toast the roll Jersey style, and use mayo and lettuce and tomato. Initially, I looked askance at the use of tomato and lettuce, but I love it! In many ways I like it more than a true philly. They have great Chicago dogs and you should also check out the Capone burger. Worth the drive!

                      2. There’s a new place “Coming Soon” at University and Dale. (Of course, that “coming soon” sign has been up quite a while now...) It’s called something like Famous Philadelphia Cheese Steak and Lemonade. It might be a chain of some sort. I did a little Googling and I think there are some of them in Chicago. It’s going in adjacent to a new chicken and fish place. Two separate signs, but it kind of looks like it’s going to be one big place. Same shopping center lot as the Wendy’s and Foodsmart.

                        Uncle Ira

                        12 Replies
                        1. re: Uncle Ira

                          The place has now come to University and Dale, good and cheap but not Philly. My longing remains unrequited. (It's hard to tell if this is related to any place in Chicago. I doubt anyone's interested in the details of the inconclusive search.) Driving by, there's an ugly, unreadable red and blue blob followed by the clear text slogan "Famous Philly Steak and Lemonade." The blob is the shop's name, "Fire 'N' Ice." It's in the same shop as Hook (fried fish and chicken, though how you hook a chicken or shrimp, I can't guess).

                          Summary: not a destination, not terribly high on the authenticity scale, but tasty as an alternative to a jucy lucy.

                          Ambiance: Perfect run down mall setting, across from Saigon. (Which looked to still be open, by the way, so get your last licks in.) We got our order to go. It was doing hopping business on a Friday night, while the neighboring Wendy's stood forlornly empty.

                          Service: Friendly and efficient, at least tonight. You order centrally for both Fire N Ice and Hook menus. There's a single expediter checking orders. My guess is that both Fire N Ice and Hook have the same owner, who was going for the specialty shop feel.


                          The Fire in the name is a reference not only to the grill but apparently to hot pepper, which was liberally used in the Philly cheesesteak and especially the Italian Beef's hot cheese. I'm not among the Italian Beef cognoscenti, so I'll refrain from further comment, except to say that the hot cheese was surprisingly spicy. Not like Little Szechuan a few blocks away, but more than you typically get around here. Thumbs down for the authenticity, thumbs up for flavor.

                          Bun: too soft for the Philly cheesesteak. The proper bun outside of Philly is from Amoroso's. I'm guessing Amoroso's is the only traditional Philadelphia baker that ships nationwide. You can probably call any cheesesteak shop outside of the Philadelphia area, ask which bread they use, and if it isn't Amoroso's, it's not likely to be authentic. This one's main fault was the lack of crust. Definitely cannot be a crusty Italian bun -- there should be no crunch, no bite, flying shards of crust -- but it should have just enough tooth to avoid excessive sag. Who wants a flaccid bun?

                          Beef: maybe top round? A decent alternative to top choice top dollar rib eye, with the best Philly places arguing whether the rib eye should come from a cow or a bull. Top round, being tougher, takes to some marinating and to chopping on the grill. (With tender rib eye, the chopping is entirely optional.) The heat seemed to be in the meat itself, not in the peppers. A bit too chewy -- I'd guess it was a bit too wet from marinade, so not enough crusty browned bits, and a bit overchopped.

                          Cheese: stop saying that Whiz is authentic! It's common, but cheesesteak predates Whiz, and provolone is original. The problem is time. Provolone needs to melt, so it needs the grill man's attention, and that means time and lower productivity. Whiz, as the name says, is fast and easy and saves the grill man at least one pass. In any event, this was a white cheese of no known provenance, didn't see how it was applied, but the main problems: no work, no slide. You put down the meat, mix in the veggies, chop if necessary, add the cheese, top with bread (to steam the bun, and trap the heat and stray grease), remove the bread to lovingly work the cheese into the meat while leaving a definite cheese-rich stratum (see how much work you save by using Whiz? Who's really benefiting from Whiz?), then do the slide -- slide the spatula under the meat and all, hold out the bun, and do a sort of reverse slide to get the meat to fall just so, with most of the cheese stratum at the opening of the sandwich. There was no working the cheese into the meat, and the meat and bun must have been picked up at once, and the whole thing flipped as a unit. Wrong, wrong, wrong. All that gooey loveliness lost into the hinge of the bun, overconcentrated and sadly plastered into the bread, where it takes five nibbles to reach. And the meat, while tasty, was not cheesy.

                          Veggies: onions (fine), peppers (arguable) and mushrooms (dodgy for the Philly claim). Too much veggies for the amount of meat, which again is fine for flavor, keeps down the cost, and is healthier, but detracts from the authenticity.

                          Mayo comes standard on the sandwich. I ordered mine without -- that's certainly more authentic.

                          The sandwich automatically comes as a combo with fries and soda. Neither are worth mentioning. I'd guess that the guy taking orders would have dropped those and knocked a bit off the price had I asked, but it's not on the menu that way.

                          Off of the Hook menu, ordered chicken wings, catfish nuggets, and hush puppies for the kids. Not much to report. Plain, good oil temp so food didn't get greasy, fresh oil, the tastes didn't cross contaminate that I could tell. To my tastes, everything was just a touch under-fried, so not as crisp as I like. They might accommodate a request. Mostly little packets of sauce, some little plastic containers of (not very) hot sauce I didn't recognize offhand. Generous and cheap, but nothing to write home about.

                          The lemonade is strictly kids stuff, or maybe a hot summer day's fling. It's a slushy. Shaved ice, super sweet lemonade (probably a mix with a token spritz of fresh lemon), optional artificial flavors that drown everything else.

                          1. re: Geo in MSP

                            Man - I am craving a cheesesteak right now. Great description.

                            1. re: Geo in MSP

                              Well, I don't know that I've ever had a craving for a cheesesteak, but after all this talk I decided to try out the Fire and Ice place. It was really good-cheap too. I don't know why I waste my time at places like Subway when I can support local business.
                              I've never been to Philly, so I wouldn't know authentic if it jumped up and bit me, but this was good and kind of spicy. The bread was too soft though. BTW, I smiled and asked the guy if I could get the sandwich without the fries and drink, and he let me do it. He charged me 4.59 for a six inch. The lemonade drinks looked raunchy with mar. cherries and red dye number 40, but it's the kind of thing my eight year old neice would love.

                              1. re: jenniegirl


                                You must have a very pretty smile.... I was there about two weeks ago, and when I asked if I could get the sandwich by itself, I was told I could only get it as the combo. They wouldn’t sell it to me. I was so taken aback that I just got a small order of wings instead. (They were good, by the way......) But I’d still like to try that cheesesteak. Maybe I’ll give it another try this week now that you’ve softened them up a bit;-)

                                Uncle Ira

                              2. re: Geo in MSP

                                I second Geo's opinion on the Wiz. I went to Tony Luke's last month for the first time and ordered one with wiz and one with sharp provolone. The provolone was definitely better.

                                I don't think anyone in MSP can get the same buns they use in Philly and all other things being equal, that'll doom the true cheesesteak afficionado to disappointment in these parts. Maybe I'm wrong. Hope someone will argue that I am and point me to the real deal.

                                1. re: JimGrinsfelder

                                  I don't think anyone in MSP can SUSTAINABLY get the same buns they use in Philly. The cheesesteak joint that was in the 112 Eatery location back in the early 90s was run by Philly ex-pats and they flew EVERYTHING in daily, including the meat and a good variety of Tastykakes.

                                  They had a fiercely loyal following but clearly that wasn't enough to sustain the business for whatever reason. Nothing has worked since.

                                  1. re: MSPD

                                    Forgive the dumb question--but are Philly cheesesteak sandwiches (the "authentic" kind)--always on a certain brand of bread? The way a Chicago style dog (the "authentic" kind) always must be Vienna beef?

                                    And, how sad to have to choose between 112 Eatery and a great cheesesteak place!


                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                      112 N 3rd St has been a lot of things. When I moved here it was Best of Philly, then Franks a Million (a hot dog joint) for a while, then Amsterdam Bistro before 112 Eatery.

                                      Edit to add: Sorry, forgot to answer your question. Yes, most Philly cheesesteaks get bread from certain vendors. I'm not an authority so I would direct you to some good info on Wikipedia. Just enter "philly cheesesteak" and you'll get the info about Amaroso's, etc.

                                    2. re: MSPD

                                      I used to eat at Best of Philly. It was good. Too bad it died.

                                      1. re: JimGrinsfelder

                                        A thank you to loyal customers with long memories. I ran The Best of Philly Deli with my parents in the mid '90's. We did pretty well towards the end, and were sad to be forced to close. Unfortunately my parents relocated to California, and I was not able to run it without them. We tried to sell the biz, but since we did not own the real estate, we never found a buyer.

                                        I have since moved back to the Philly area and I am now an elementary school teacher. I still think about my time in the Twin Cities. I sometimes wonder if I could have made the shop work without my parents help. My students are glad I changed careers...

                                        1. re: Steve19003

                                          Hey Steve,

                                          Thanks for checking in. It's good to know you're doing well and I, for one, really miss having your place around.

                                          Take Care.

                                    3. re: JimGrinsfelder

                                      The discussion of cheesesteaks, Jucy Lucy's, sourdoughs, and other local specialties has been moved over to our General Topics board: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/51710...

                                2. I just had Joey's Cheesesteak at Joey Nova's in Tonka Bay. It was very good. Authentic? Who knows? I never had one in Philadelphia but I'm not sure you could beat this one, at least in Minnesota. They now have a Plymouth location as well.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: Davydd

                                    Here is a picture of the Joey Nova's Joey's Cheesteak. Also attached is a picture of Lyon's Pub on 6th Street in Minneapolis Philly Cheesesteak.

                                    1. re: Davydd

                                      What kind of bread is that on Joey Nova's? Looks like some kind of sourdough. It may be a tasty sandwich but it's absolutely not in the style of Philadelphia.

                                      1. re: MSPD

                                        I don't think Joey's Cheesesteak bun is sourdough. In defense of Joey's they really don't call it a Philly. Most of their sandwiches border on fast food style but compared to Culver's steak sandwich they are vastly superior.

                                        1. re: MSPD

                                          The first pic is definitely ciabatta. The second could be any number of things. As a side not to all chowhounds, you all need to go to that tastykake website and grab an order. Best snack cakes/pies in the US, hands down..

                                    2. Sorry, no cheese whiz, but has anyone tried (who can opine on the authenticity of) the philly cheesesteak at Hot City Pizza in St. Paul? They describe it thusly: Italian bun with beef steak, onion, green pepper, mushroom, provolone & mayo. http://hotcitypizza.com/Menu3.htm I'm not an afficionado, so I don't know if, aside from the provolone, it meets the standard.

                                      diesel tipped us off to their "south Philly" sandwiches. Though neither she nor I knows what makes it a "South Philly" sandwich (it's your choice of various meats served on a sourdough roll with with garlic and marinara sauce and topped with mozzarella, giardinera and romano--then baked. Usually they have some pickled veggies--carrots or bell peppers-- in there,)--it's a pretty good sandwich, though. So far, I've tried their "South Philly" style dago, meatball, and Italian beef sandwiches. I loved the meatball, though the dago was very good. The Italian beef, though good (love the pickled carrots) was my least fav of the three.



                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                        I think "south philly" is referencing hoagies, as you find them in south philly. They are generally piled high with italian meats and peppers on a hoagie roll. One of the best is the veggie hoagie from Chick's Deli, which incorporates pickled veggies.

                                        Thanks for letting me know what I was remembering when I tried the Italian beef for the first time this weekend and found something hauntingly familiar.

                                      2. I've had some decent and authentic Philly cheesesteaks at the Groveland Tap in St. Paul, too.

                                        Also, Pappy's on White Bear does a serious one, too.

                                        1. has anyone tried this place? http://www.stevessteaks.com/default.html
                                          Supposedly he moved here from PA, couldn't find a good cheesesteak, and opened this place up as his post-retirement job or something. Looks pretty solid. I woke up with a mean hankering for a cheesesteak and immediately logged onto chowhound to steer me right; unfortunately it looks like the jury is still out. And steve's is closed on sundays. Boooooooo!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: dombey

                                            The Philly at Hot City is decent, though I'm no expert and have not ventured to the city of Brotherly love.

                                          2. My sister loves the one they have at McGovern's on West 7th in St. Paul.

                                            1. i just gotta put this one in for a smile: NON-authentic philly at hard times-- it's vegetarian, made with grilled seitan & served with corn chips. has a weird sweet taste until you dip it in lots of tangy ketchup, then all is right with the world. :)

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: soupkitten

                                                Still on the menu there? How is Hard Times since it re-opened?

                                                1. re: bob s

                                                  i guess they've been doing a ton of business since they re-opened, seemed very busy esp. for food when i was there. the remodel was basically putting in their shiny new hood vent behind the counter, the rest of hard times looks the same (didn't check the bathroom though). the hood vent is nice but it comes down kinda low-- i'd be constantly bonking the bridge of my nose on it trying to reach pans on the back burners, if it were me-- luckily it's not! food was quite good imo, possibly better than before, and it looks like the menu may have expanded maybe?

                                              2. Has anyone tried Steve's Philadelphia Steaks and Hoagies out near Circle Pines? It was opened a few years back by some homesick-for-cheesesteak guy from West Chester, PA. Can I hope?


                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: clepro

                                                  Unfortunately Steve's has closed. It didn't last very long. I am also a PA transplant and was hoping to try it. It is a pizza place now; about the 4th restaurant there in the last 1 1/2 years.

                                                  1. re: AGallagh

                                                    Thanks for saving me the trip; we were planning to head out that way this week.

                                                    1. re: AGallagh


                                                      I was really excited when I read about this place - husband is a NJ native who has pined quite noisily for Philly pizzasteaks since we moved here 3 years ago. We saw the menu online and made the drive from Northfield (60 miles each way) - only to find, as you say, that it is now a pizza place. We were *so* disappointed. To add insult to injury, the pizza place was closed (and it was Saturday at 2 PM when we got there!).

                                                  2. I like the Philly Dip at Aesop's Table in the Five Corners area of St. Paul. Five corners is where Front, Dale and Como meet. Hopefully they'll extend their hours this spring and summer like they did last year.

                                                    1. What up fellow cheesesteak lovers. I absolutely love cheesesteaks. I have lived in minnesota for a little over a year now. I'm always on the look out for a good Philly Cheesesteak. So far the best cheesesteak I've had was at Stubs & Herbs, believe it or not. In case you don't know Stub and Herbs is next to the metrodome, so try one before your next Twins game. It was a perfect steak to cheese ratio, which is where most imitators make there mistake. Another place that is pretty decent, especailly for the price is the 7th st bistro in St. Paul. It's located across the street from the World Famous Casetta's Pizza. New staff in there now so it's better than it used to be, usually takes a while for them to make one.

                                                      If you ever make it to Milwaukee, they opened a new place on Oakland and North Ave. called Chubby's. Best cheesesteak I have ever had, I should mention I've never been to Philly.

                                                      9 Replies
                                                      1. re: CheeseSteakLover

                                                        I noticed Philly Cheesesteak on the menu at Papa's Pizza and Pasta in North Minneapolis a couple of weeks ago.

                                                        I wouldn't know authentic, but thought I'd pass the location along.
                                                        I haven't found comments about Papa's so I hope it is helpful.

                                                        1. re: type2runner

                                                          THANK YOU! I've lived 2 miles from Papa's for years, but had no idea it was there. Great find, and perhaps the best "New York Pizza" in the Twin Cities. (We ordered their "Tomato Pie", which they say is closer to NY/NJ pizza than their regular pizzas)

                                                          Back on topic, the Korea Restaurant thread brought this blog post to mind: http://www.minnesotamonthly.com/media... - in it, Dara mentions the Cheesesteak at Golooney's as one of the best cheap lunches in Minnesota.

                                                          So there's a hot tip for anyone on the cheesesteak quest...

                                                          Golooney's East Coast Pizza [CLOSED 2009
                                                          ]2329 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55405

                                                          Papa's Pizza & Pasta
                                                          4159 Thomas Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55412

                                                          1. re: Danny

                                                            Returned to Papa's to try the Philly Cheesesteak. My first experience with a Philly Cheesesteak, so here is my experience: The bun, Italian Style Roll was firm, dense and tasty, fresh--it held up a goodly portion of thinly sliced beef, intermixed with onions, peppers and provolone. Beef mix was pleasantly mixed, wthout one part overpowering other parts.
                                                            Bun did not appear to be toasted. Appeared to be buttered.

                                                            I have the second half of the sandwich ready for taking for lunch tomorrow. I REALLY wanted to finish it.

                                                            In addition, Papas has added a new patio, east facing so a great place to relax in the shade when the heat of the summer is upon us.

                                                            1. re: Danny

                                                              Golooney's had the best cheesesteak I've had since moving here from NY, but is sadly dead, RIP. They had great NY style pizza too.

                                                              1. re: HypodermicMD

                                                                Is Golooney's really dead? I had heard that they were remodeling (and yes - I understand that can be a euphemism for closing), but there's a new awning out front with their name on it and I know that they repaint in there fairly often.

                                                                I'll try to live in blissful ignorance until I'm told otherwise.

                                                                1. re: bob s

                                                                  It is going to reopen as Red's Savoy Pizza

                                                                  1. re: ibew292

                                                                    The Philly Cheesesteak at Red's Savoy was awesome:

                                                                    Philly Steak and Cheese $6.95
                                                                    Grilled ribeye steak, sauteed onions, banana peppers, pepper relish, lettuce, tomato, onion and mayo with your choice of provolone or cheese whiz

                                                                    The pepper relish was interesting and added a nice bit of heat. The meat was cooked on the grilltop and cut up. It's worth trying.

                                                          2. re: CheeseSteakLover

                                                            I can't speak for their cheesesteak but Stub & Herb's "next to the metrodome"? Not exactly, although it is walkable (1.5 miles).

                                                            Thanks for the tip on Chubby's. I might check it out, but there's also a place in MKE run by a guy who used to work at Pat's in Philadelphia. I mistakenly had thought it had closed and owe them a visit this weekend for posting the incorrect assumption.

                                                            1. re: MSPD

                                                              i think that CheeseSteakLover may actually mean hubert's bar-- which *is* next to the dome, but maybe s/he can come back and clarify for the rest of us.

                                                              zakia deli has a cheesesteak on their menu-- mainly lebanese menu otherwise. i wonder how it rates with all of you cheesesteak seekers?

                                                          3. Also, as a side note, if you are in Philly, check out Pat's and Geno's...just look for the line at 9th and Passyunk. These guys are the original cheesesteaks, and are great. Pat's for sure uses ribeye, and YES, cheese whiz (but you can also get american or provolone).

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: DrJon

                                                              Here's what Pat's looks like on a Amoroso's roll.. I looked. no national distributers for them in Minnesota. :(


                                                            2. Old thread, but I have to say - TOPS Pizza & Hoagies in Rosemount is a great place for a cheesesteak.

                                                              It's run by a Greek family, so their Greek food is good as well. However, it would be tough for me to order anything other than their Cheesesteak. Their pizza is great as well if you're into the thinner crust.

                                                              Anyways, TOPS makes their cheesesteaks out of white cheese (maybe provolone? I'm bad at identifying cheese by taste...) and they put them on crusty, delicious rolls that actually have substance and don't fall apart when you try to eat them.

                                                              I've tried other places around the metro, and TOPS comes closest so far to a "real" philly.

                                                              For a challenge, try putting down the 18" "Whole" size cheesesteak.

                                                              (FYI, TOPS stands for "The Original Philadelphia Style". Markos, the owner/cook, is a philly expat apparently so there you go... Most days Markos himself will be making your sandwich.)

                                                              1. Wagner's Drive-in along side Highway 7 in St. Louis Park has a Philly Cheesesteak. I got curious about the place after the Star Tribune Taste section said Steve Schussler (Rainforest creator) bought the place and will be renovating it.

                                                                1. Uncle Franky's in mpls is pretty good. pappy's in St. paul on white bear and maryland is alright. There's a small little store/deli on the corner of 33rd and Chicago in S. Mpls. I'm not sure if they still sell a philly cheesesteak, but that was actually pretty good. Every place that I've mentioned so far have been mediocre. Nothing to rave about.

                                                                  1. Yes, the cheesesteaks at the State Fair are the closest I have found to the real deal. Andy's Garage is the vendor that does them - and they also have a restaurant in town. I'd check them out if you can't wait till the State Fair.

                                                                    On a side note - I noticed at the Twins game last night they make cheesesteaks right on the grill - it looked pretty authentic but I was too full from my dollar hot dogs to try it.

                                                                    1. I'm a Philly guy and I haven't been able to make it home in a quite some time. I finally had to do something about my craving for a cheesesteak so I did some looking...

                                                                      I went into Uncle Franky's just the other day after reading their menu's description (copied and pasted below):

                                                                      "respect to “pats” 6oz shaved beef grilled and put on a flaky “schuylkill” roll with cheese whiz, ad onions or giardinara, yes you may substitute mozzarella or American, but no way swiss on a phil."

                                                                      LIES ALL LIES!!!!

                                                                      Needless to say, it wasn't even close. The bread they claim to be Schuykill-like (I'm assuming they meant Amoroso) was more like ciabatta bread, and didn't resemble a cheesesteak roll AT ALL.

                                                                      The meat wasn't shaved rib-eye like they use at Pat's (and geno's for that matter). I'd describe it more like the meat from a sandwich you'd buy at Arby's. In fact a beef 'n cheddar actually tates better to me than the junk they tried to feed me at Franky's

                                                                      At least they had cheez-wiz, but that hardly made up for the rest of the problems.

                                                                      Maybe I got a bad one because some people on here do seem to like them. Maybe I'm way off, but in my opinion, DO NOT go there if you're looking for the real deal, because this aint it!.

                                                                      Uncle Franky's
                                                                      1316 4th St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: samg316

                                                                        samg316 i went to philly and tried pat's and geno's and jim's. i liked jim's best so that is my ideal. i have not found anything vaguely similar in minnesota. i think alot of it has to do with volume, all the above mentioned turn out a lot of cheese steaks each day and little else. i think that any place that has cheese steak on the menu and is not prepared to turn one out in less than a minute is missing the boat.

                                                                        1. re: zfwp

                                                                          Jim's would be my #2 from Philly's top places.. Pats and Jim's both chop their meat up on the grill before they serve it. Geno's like to to serve it a little less so. In all of the cases the meat is a higher quality and the chewy, italian, sub roll is just as important.

                                                                          If you ever go back to Philly, you'll have to try Tony Luke's. Then you can say you've had The Big 4.

                                                                          1. re: samg316

                                                                            Count me in as a Jim's fan. Although I like Geno's and Pat's too. Still haven't tried Tony Luke's but plan to next time in town.

                                                                      2. I tried the philly at NE Bulldog this weekend. It's not bad--good quality meat. It came with mushrooms, onions, and green peppers. I'm not sure exactly what cheese it was though. I highly doubt it's anything close to authentic philly steak. But nonetheless, it's a good attempt.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: alpa chino

                                                                          just a thought samg, I'm from Philly too and , maybe, calling a roll, 'Schuylkill'.......is not a high compliment, maybe they are referring to all the car fumes on there, and oil refinery fumes...not good on a sandwich.

                                                                        2. To make all of this worse, I saw a report on the news tonight that had a couple of Vikings players, with nothing else to do in snowy Philadelphia, going to Pat's. It just keeps gettin' worse!

                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                          1. re: samg316

                                                                            After having lived in Philly for 13 years, I sampled most cheesesteaks in the area. Pat's is my favorite - though I do like Jim's. Jim's I usually do with peppers. Just habit. Geno's - had one once, didn't like it. Won't ever get one there again.

                                                                            When it comes to Tony Luke's, to me, there's only one reason to go there: Italian Roast Pork. The combination of sliced roast pork, broccoli rabe, and sharp provolone, is just spectacular. IMO, that sandwich blows cheesesteaks out of the water. Don't get me wrong - I love cheesesteaks, and hit Pat's whenever I'm back in Philly or NJ. But I also make sure to get to Tony Luke's for the pork sandwich. I think that's just about as perfect a sandwich as you can get.

                                                                            And I'm very surprised there's nothing remotely like it (at least that I've found) in the Twin Cities. I'd give up a cheesesteak quest in the TC if there was something like Tony Luke's Italian Roast Pork.

                                                                            Well...maybe not "give up" entirely....

                                                                            1. re: foreverhungry

                                                                              Have you guys tried Papa's? Unless you are hung up on the Cheez-Whiz thing, that's a pretty solid approximation, and either way a much better sandwich than you'll get at Franky's.

                                                                              1. re: kevin47

                                                                                I tried Papas, as a recommendation from this thread, and it's terrible. It's poor quality meat and just not good. It came with the recommendation to try the tomato pie--which was okay but nothing spectacular. They sell ice cream over there, and even that wasn't all that great

                                                                                1. re: alpa chino

                                                                                  Hmmm... I wouldn't cross town for the tomato pie (though I like it), but I found the cheesesteak to be similar to what I've had out east. I strongly suspect it's a bit like NY and pizza. Take it out of context, and it loses its magic.

                                                                                  1. re: kevin47

                                                                                    of course if you are on the whiz side of the equation Papa's is out of the question from the start.

                                                                                    1. re: zfwp

                                                                                      i think the soft roll also puts it out of contention, its not supposed to fall apart

                                                                          2. This may sound a bit odd, but here we go...
                                                                            I remember having a good one at the corner store called 'Loon grocery' on 25th and Lyndale. This however was maybe 5 or 6 years ago, and i had just left a beer tasting event (so this info may not be reliable- i had a lot of liquor in me), but it might be worth a try if you are really on a mission.

                                                                            1. i cannot believe that a double metropolis cannot get a restaurant together that serves a proper cheesesteak......still!! this post is from 2007! and none to be found yet! shakeofthehead

                                                                              17 Replies
                                                                              1. re: buenosds

                                                                                No one has answered the real question: Why would anyone in Minneapolis focus on another cities regional delicacy in the first place? I mean, what is the point?

                                                                                I can't get good conch fritters here either, but I don't expect to because it's not our thing. If I want a good cheesesteak...I go to Philadelphia.

                                                                                1. re: Foureyes137

                                                                                  The point is to enjoy something without 2 days travel and at least $400 in airfare. Actually the Caribe in St. Paul has very good conch fritters.

                                                                                  1. re: ibew292

                                                                                    That point seems silly to me. I can't get many of the foods I've enjoyed while traveling. Attempting to remake them at home is one thing, but expecting some enterprising restaurant owner to take the time and risk of reproducing one thing from somewhere else seems asinine. Of course, there are probably people in Texas complaining they can't get NY pizza there either...

                                                                                    And I've had the conch fritters at Caribe (and at Tiburon when it was open)...I stand by my statement.

                                                                                    Inauthentic as it is: Uncle Franky's makes a sandwich with the component ingredients of a cheesesteak that's good enough for those not willing to wait or to travel today.

                                                                                    1. re: Foureyes137

                                                                                      I agree to a large extent with Foureyes. As a NJ/Philly transplant, I also bemoan how hard it is to find cheesesteaks and pizza that taste like they do on the east coast. But I think it's a volume thing. There simply isn't a high demand for cheesesteaks here, so having a place use thin sliced ribeye (fairly expensive) and a quality roll on tap for occasional orders just isn't feasible. If you're guaranteed selling a hundred a day, that's one thing. But a couple a day is something else when you have to keep the ingredients on tap - thin sliced ribeye, fried onions, and good rolls that don't last more than 2 days. Ditto with pizza by the slice - there aren't too many places that can offer quality pizza by the slice, because it's not something many Minnesotans want. Yes, there are a few places in the downtowns that do, like Andreas (and a darned good slice), but they cater entirely to the lunchtime work crowd. Mesa and Luci do slices, but different style, and they cater to after-bar crowd. I think it's largely a suppl-and-demand issue.

                                                                                      1. re: foreverhungry

                                                                                        Oh let's keep this discussion going...

                                                                                        If you make a hyper-delicious product and get the word out, you can coalesce enough demand.

                                                                                        For instance, Maverick's on Larpenteur. Who in their right mind thought the Twin Cities needed another 'Roast Beef on a bun with a side of fries and a pop' place? But the wonderful people behind Maverick's committed to making a fantastic sandwich and the place is very busy at lunch. In a strip mall on Lexington at Larpenteur. Not a downtown skyway lunch situation.

                                                                                        I put it to you that if the same guy decided to do a great Philly Cheesesteak in the twin cities with the same passsion and competence, he'd build a following and sell thousands a day.

                                                                                        1. re: JimGrinsfelder

                                                                                          I see your point. In some cases, the product can come before the demand. But in most cases, I don't think it works so easily. For example, someone from New Orleans can set up shop with the best Jambalaya, and oyster po'boys, and I'm not sure they're going to make a living. I don't think someone can make a living making high quality pretzels here, though folks do that in the SE Pennsylvania. Maybe the the right coalescence of location and person hasn't come together yet on the cheesesteak front.

                                                                                          On the roast beef sandwich front - I never heard of Maverick's, but I'll have to check it out. I do think roast beef sandwiches are a little different than cheesesteaks, though. the roast beef has a much broader following, and I think appeals to a broader base.

                                                                                          1. re: foreverhungry

                                                                                            At least a couple of things are necessary for this to work. First, there has to be a built-in demand for the broader category, that is unmet by the marketplace. Second, there has to be an empirical standard on which the offering can be evaluated and embraced. Third, there should be a strong case that the product itself is superior to other products in the broader category.

                                                                                            A good example of this is Punch Pizza. Obviously, there is plenty of demand for pizza, and few restaurants were meeting the demand for the good stuff. Second, while some quibble about this or that component, most concede that Punch is very good pizza on the basis of quality oil, flour, cheese, and proper technique. Third, many (if not a majority) consider neapolitan style pizza to be the pizza in its purest form.

                                                                                            In the case of cheesesteak, is their demand for large roast beef sandwiches that isn't met by the market? Not really. Are there benchmarks for great philly cheesesteak? Cheez-wiz and some special kind of bread with which almost nobody is familiar.

                                                                                            Can you make a strong case that a philly cheesesteak is empirically better than other beef sandwiches? Perhaps, but it's an uphill battle. Why wouldn't I just stick with Mavericks (or Papa's, since I enjoy that sandwich anyway?)

                                                                                            Punch Pizza
                                                                                            3226 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55416

                                                                                            1. re: kevin47

                                                                                              Even the worst cheesesteak that I had in Philly was better than the "best" one I've had here. So NO the demand for me is not being met for me. Use the worst cheesesteak from Philly as the benchmark. If your willing to stick with mediocrity that's up to you. I will always be on the hunt for a cheesesteak like I remember from Philly. If anyone finds one please post

                                                                                              1. re: ibew292

                                                                                                We must have had different experiences in Philly. In 13 years living in Philly, I've had my fair share of bad cheesesteaks there. Real bad. And while I certainly wouldn't put Frankie's up against the better one's from Philly (the usual suspects - Pat's, Jim's, Tony Luke's - plus a couple of food trucks I'd frequent), I'd certainly put it in the middle grouping. It's the kind of cheesesteak that I would have as an everyday lunch, like the everyday hoagie or everyday slices of pizza.

                                                                                                But hey, to each their own. When I'm looking for a cheesesteak and a trip to Philly isn't in my immediate future, Frankie's (the one in the Dinkytown Mall) fills the need.

                                                                                                1. re: ibew292

                                                                                                  I'm from PA and there are several things you won't find here: good bagels, good pizza, and cheesesteaks (notice I didn't say good). Yeah there are facsimiles which have been acceptable to my watered-down tastes from the 8+ years I've been here but (pizza at least) but the bagels and cheesesteaks will never be found.

                                                                                                  They're called Philly Cheesesteaks for a reason :-)

                                                                                        2. re: Foureyes137

                                                                                          Uncle Franky's may be good enough for you but I my obviously silly opinion it ranks very low. I would rather not have one than have it at Franky's, the bread is the key. Don't know where you have had conch fritters while traveling but the ones that I've had a the Caribe are better than most that I have had. I don't think much else is great there. Why shouldn't I expect some enterprising restauranter to reproduce one of my favorites. It seems that is what many of the Chef driven places are doing, of course with some twist. What I don't get is all the fuss about braising. I can and do that at home with great results.

                                                                                          Uncle Franky's
                                                                                          1316 4th St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

                                                                                          1. re: ibew292

                                                                                            "I would rather not have one than have it at Franky's, the bread is the key. "

                                                                                            You've made my point. I also do not order cheesesteaks in places that are not in Philadelphia for this same reason. I've accepted the uniqueness of the experience and moved on.

                                                                                            1. re: Foureyes137

                                                                                              So does that mean you don't eat any italian food if you're not in Italy? You don't eat any mexican food if you aren't in mexico? I'm sure you do.

                                                                                              The point is that while local ingredients do make a difference, its the people making the food and their recipes that matter.

                                                                                              Besides maybe you shouldn't be getting mad at the people who are disappointed when they order a philly cheesesteak and don't get what they expect. Perhaps you need to be mad at the people that use the word Philly in order to sell more of them. Kinda like false advertising, no?

                                                                                              1. re: samg316

                                                                                                I promise, I'm not mad. I'm disappointed in people's expectations.

                                                                                                I do eat those foods here. I don't expect the food to be as good or the same as that I get when I am in those places and I don't. I get something else, sometimes it's good, but never the same. If I expected the exact same experience here, I would be continually disappointed. Like expecting Minneapolis to have a special roll produced by two bakeries on the planet in Philadelphia. It's not going to happen.

                                                                                                And yes, if I opened a place that sold griddled ribeye with onions, peppers and cheez whiz on a roll, I'd call it "David's Cheesesteaks (in no way affiliated with the city or people of Philadelphia - Go Packers)

                                                                                                1. re: Foureyes137

                                                                                                  If you've read the description Uncle Franky's has of their "Philly Cheese steak" I don't think its unreasonable for people to be disappointed.

                                                                                                  "Philly Cheesesteak respect to “pats” 6oz shaved beef grilled and put on a flaky “schuylkill” roll with cheese whiz, ad onions or giardinara, yes you may substitute mozzarella or American, but no way swiss on a phil. 6"

                                                                                                  To me that raises people's expectations (at least mine when I went, the one and only time I'll ever go) and then fails to deliver what they say.

                                                                                                  If I've never had a cheese steak at Uncle Franky's and I order one, why shouldn't I be disappointed when the roll I get wasn't what they said it would be (schuylkill-like), and certainly doesn't show Pats any respect by being a very poor attempt.

                                                                                                  To me they're claiming that they are using Philly-like ingredients, and they do not. Therefore, why wouldn't a person be disappointed?

                                                                                                  If a person went back again and complained that it was a bad sandwich again, then yeah, they're an idiot for wanting it to be a real Philly Cheese Steak. But for first timers, its very very misleading.

                                                                                                  Uncle Franky's
                                                                                                  1316 4th St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

                                                                                                  1. re: samg316

                                                                                                    I guess I'd asked you to read this, "Inauthentic as it is: Uncle Franky's makes a sandwich with the component ingredients of a cheesesteak that's good enough for those not willing to wait or to travel today." then tell me where I said people would never be disappointed.

                                                                                                    I never said Franky's makes as good a cheesesteak as anyone in Philly. In fact, I went out of my way to point out the thing they make isn't authentic. I didn't say it was great. Hell, I didn't even say it was good. At least read what I wrote before you start asking me to read their menu.

                                                                                                    Now, someone that walks into a restaurant with Cub's crap everywhere and a mural of the Chicago skyline painted across the back wall then orders a cheesesteak and is disappointed it isn't "authentic Philadelphia"? That simply can't be helped.

                                                                                                    Uncle Franky's
                                                                                                    1316 4th St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

                                                                                                    1. re: samg316

                                                                                                      I thought it was hot cherry peppers on the philly and giardiniera on an italian beef?

                                                                                    2. I tried the cheesesteak at the Bulldog in NE mpls, a month ago. It was pretty good. Good quality meat, but they loaded it with a ton of peppers and onions though. It's worth a try.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: alpa chino

                                                                                        seems like cheesesteaks are still on the minds and memories of you chowhounders. we will not quit looking, its what we do! lol

                                                                                      2. I too am a Philly transplant, been here ~25 years, but I do go back to Pat's and Jim's periodically. I agree with the discussion. Not in Philly....its not a Philly Cheesesteake. You all should at least be aware of the Boston Garden in Hopkins. Place is a dive, and from many reviews I have seen, the food and service can be hit or miss, however they do make a really good Cheesesteak, or at least one of the better ones in MN. Give it a try, I would be interested in your opinions. It should at least have garnered a mention in these threads. Best I can tell, they do not have a web site.

                                                                                        Boston Garden
                                                                                        1019 Mainstreet
                                                                                        Hopkins, MN 55343

                                                                                        Boston Gardens
                                                                                        1019 Mainstreet, Hopkins, MN 55343

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: bhorstman

                                                                                          We split a question about where to go for Philly Cheesesteaks in Philly over to the Philly board. If you've got a suggestion, please follow the thread on over here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7957...

                                                                                        2. Went to Devil's Advocate tonight. They have a Philly Cheesesteak on the menu, which was the reason for going. Served with fries.

                                                                                          A very good cheesesteak. Having eaten about 500 cheesesteakes in my 13 years in Philly, if I closed my eyes and took a bite, it would rival a solid foodtruck version. Dead on with the cutting of the meat (for me, anyway, more a Pat's or Tony Luke's than a Geno's), and the onions. Cheeze Whiz, which I like. The bread is claimed to be Amoroso's. It was a tad breadier and stiffer than what I'm used to, but at the same time, did a great job of soaking up the juice. I thought the meat could be a little beefier tasting, but again, still nothing to complain about.

                                                                                          $11 with fries, which puts it at the same pricepoint as a cheesesteak in Philly if you get fries. Except that the fries were not great. Looked like a great start to them - house cut, some with skins on, style I love, but they were limp. Either they had sat for a bit, or were improperly cooked. Probably the former.

                                                                                          Overall, I'll be back for the cheesesteak. Their happy hour is a great deal (also got their pork belly sliders as a HH starter), and they have a great beer list. Best cheesesteak I've had in the TC so far, and comparable to a solid Philly one.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: foreverhungry

                                                                                            i was wishing for a cheesesteak this morning and you give me hope foreverhungry!

                                                                                          2. Devil's Advocate in downtown MPLS.
                                                                                            Expensive but just like the real deal. Steak and Whiz baby!!!
                                                                                            They even import the amorosa roll from Philly....

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: Danij126

                                                                                              Serendipity! My PA-born husband was just telling me last night about a cheesesteak he tried yesterday somewhere local with swiss and cheddar the only cheese options...and he said the bun wasn't right either. I suggested it's never right unless it's an Amoroso bun and now here you are, with this excellent news. I wish I'd known this earlier; I would have opted for my late birthday celebration there tomorrow, instead of at Sea Salt. I'll just have to restrain myself until next week. Thanks for the heads up.