I’ve found that regional food specialties can evoke as much or more passion in folks as their local college or professional sports teams. There are the obvious NYC thin crust versus Chicago deep dish and the Carolina versus Texas BBQ, and the more obscure like the Detroit coney dog against the Cincinnati style chili dog. Then, once you dive down into the region itself, the arguments get even more heated and passionate. In San Diego for example, how many times have you argued the virtues of taco shops and their specialties such as a Juanita’s fish taco up against say a Roberto’s ? Well we all know Juanita’s rules the fish taco world in North County so that’s not a fair comparison right? See, there you go, I can feel the argumentative vibrations of readers happening as I write this. You get my point though right?
So, when it came time to explore Gaglione Bros. Famous Steaks & Subs new location in Encinitas, I decided to tap the cheesesteak knowledge of my Philadelphia born and raised neighbor Andrea Arteaga. She advised me first off to never call them Philly cheesesteaks, simply cheesesteaks. Putting the Philly in front was a sure sign of an amateur or tourist. Andrea also mentioned that when going for authenticity, it is key to use Amoroso rolls and real chopped steak. Amoroso is a Philly based bakery that goes back to the early 1900’s and is the foundation for a real cheesesteak. Amoroso's Frozen capabilities mean the rolls that make Philly sandwiches world-famous are available in all 50 states so restaurants everywhere can boast about offering the Philly legend.
Their flash-freezing process captures that distinctive flavor immediately after cooling for shipment across the country. Philadelphians and restaurateurs looking to recreate an authentic say Amoroso's Frozen products are virtually indistinguishable from fresh. Andrea also noted that when in Philly, it’s best to get into the Italian neighborhoods for the full experience and if possible avoid the touristy Geno’s and Pats. I should note that Andrea gave Gaglione Bros. cheesesteak a big thumbs up. She was also impressed with their pickled bar and the selection of Tastykake snacks, another regional favorite.
I had already been to Gaglione Bros. several times and had one of the brothers, Joe Gaglione on Lick the Plate on KPRI so I knew they were dedicated to their craft and made some tasty cheesesteaks and subs. That said, it’s always good to have a native with an in-depth knowledge and opinion on the topic validate my views.
So now we know that we have a solid cheesesteak joint in Encinitas, let’s move on to the rest of the menu, as there are some items there that I am craving on a regular basis as well.
My favorite part of Thanksgiving is the turkey sandwich the next day with stuffing, cranberry sauce and mayonnaise. It’s one of the few times I buy a loaf of spongy white bread as that is my favorite way to enjoy it. Now imagine that on an Amoroso roll with house baked turkey and the rest of the fixins and you have what they call The Turk. It’s offered hot or cold but they suggest it cold and I’d have to agree. I’ve taken to ordering it with a little extra cranberry sauce for that extra moisture. It’s one-of-a-kind for sure.
I definitely have some more exploring to do at Gaglione Bros. Besides cheesesteaks done several different ways they have a bunch of really nice looking subs. The Father Joe with homemade meatballs, marinara and provolone sounds amazing and their Chicken Parmesan with chicken tenders sounds like something I need to have very soon as well. Their Buffalo sub is their take on wings in a sub with chicken tenders and Franks Red Hot, provolone, bleu cheese lettuce and tomato. Any of their sandwiches or subs can be turned into a salad and you also have the option to build your own sub. They come in 9”, 12” or 18” sizes.
There are seven variations on fries including garlic, Cheez Whiz fries, garlic cheese fries, jalapeno cheese fries and Cheez steak fries. I should mention that the coleslaw is delicious.
While the Encinitas location is fairly new, they have been in business since 2004 at their Sports Arena location and also have a store on Friars road. So this is not a new endeavor for the Gaglione family. These guys have perfected their craft and are quite passionate about what they do. Delivery and catering is available and you can check out their full menu at www.gaglionebros.com. They are located at 252 N. El Camino Real, Encinitas 760.944.1521.