Don Bauder 5:30 p.m., Jan. 29
Tour de Cheesesteak: stage 9
Nearing the end, the Tour heads north for a good sandwich, under the wire
Responding to the umpteen different assertions that I had to go there, I rolled in to Philly Frank’s in San Marcos at about thirty seconds to closing time with my sheepish request for a sandwich before they kicked me out. Rather than attitude, I got warm, friendly service and the assurance that I could stay as long as I wanted. A little “brotherly love,” if you will. Frank’s is definitely in the “Yay for Philly” camp, with Eagles posters and Liberty Bells all over the place, which is starting to look normal to me at this point in the Tour. Polaroids of happy customers partly cover the walls, I gather that vacationing Philadelphians and other East Coasters have found solace in a big, cheesy steak sandwich over the years.
Frank’s cheesesteaks definitely pass the requirement for size. I had to take half of mine home, it was so marvelously crammed with steak. “The Works” sub came with hot peppers, mushrooms, onions, and cheese on an Amoroso roll, which could have been fresher. For the first time since Gaglione’s, the sandwich had some real heat to it, a fact accentuated by the tray of pepperoncini and sliced pickles that I munched the whole time. The quality of the steak was good enough that Frank’s would be fighting for a podium spot (if this was a contest).
For anyone in the latitudes between Solana Beach and Oceanside, Frank’s is a no-brainer. In all fairness, you’d have to be a sincere devotee of the cheesesteak to make the trip north from San Diego to visit. But, if any of the 22 Reasons to Tell You Are From Philadelphia, YO (sincerely listed and numbered on Frank’s website) apply to you, it would be worth a pilgrimage.
151 South Rancho Santa Fe Road