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Cheesesteaks at the beach: a hallowed tradition

August 16, 2018

You can't be this close to the beach and to Philadelphia without bringing up cheesesteaks. Though the regional differences among hoagies, subs, grinders, spuckies, po' boys, wedges and heros could ignite a small revolution, the cheesesteak is still hero around here.

You can't go wrong with the old standbys. Delaware's Capriotti's (in Lewes and across the country), does a great job with a firm and fresh roll. The steak is thinly chipped and grilled with the all-important onions (I add hot peppers).

Casapulla's South near the Giant Food also puts out an excellent 'steak, with the main difference being the slightly softer Amoroso's-style roll. Both places offer virtually endless toppings. Which one is best? Get both. Life is short.

It's hard to choose between the beef and the chicken at Pete's Steak Shop in Rehoboth Marketplace near Michy's Relaxed Dining. Pete's steaks are thinly sliced from never-frozen ribeye and piled high on baked-fresh-every-day rolls from Touch of Italy.

The chicken cheesesteak is unorthodox but dangerously habit forming with chunks of marinated chicken slightly reminiscent of souvlaki. This one will not leave you hungry!

One of the few places around here that will serve your 'steak "wit' Wiz" is The Starboard. Big boss (and connoisseur of everything Southern Delaware) Steve "Monty" Montgomery slathers that classic Philadelphia touch: Cheez Whiz. Though they actually use Velveeta, it's as close as you can get to Wiz without the glass jar. It's nobody's business exactly what it is, but it sure is good on a cheesesteak. Down by the Rehoboth Boardwalk, Louie's may be synonymous with pizza, but they don't call themselves "Home of the Grinder" for nothin'. The grinder is run through the pizza oven that not only melts layers of white cheese, but crisps the roll in the process.

Can't write about cheesesteaks without a polite nod northward: Denizens of New Castle, Delaware know that the 'steaks are the best-kept secret at The Dog House. But there's an almost identical version right on the Boardwalk at Gus & Gus' Place! The similarity is amazing. By the way, there's a new kid in town – Iron Hill Brewery. Though what they call "cheesesteak" is certainly not regulation style, the cheesesteak eggrolls are not to be missed.

Another Dewey sleeper is actually a popular breakfast joint, the Sunrise Restaurant. The chicken cheesesteak is stuffed to capacity with spiced, sliced and grilled white meat. Yellow peppers and onions top it off.

One last Dewey spot can't be ignored: The Dewey Beach Country Club. No golf course. No boat slips. No dress code: It's a fun bar owned by veteran pub guy Greg Plummer. And they also do a fine cheesesteak. Get it with the Premeditated Murder hot sauce – great flavor with a medium-hot kick.

Gourmand and epicure James Beard said, "Few people understand a good sandwich." Stick with the Beach Paper and The Rehoboth Foodie. We'll steer you right. No sense goin' 'round hungry.

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