Cheesesteak. It’s just one of those meals that never really crosses my mind for lunch. Being a California native, it just isn’t as common out here like it is back east.
That all changed one fall afternoon after I finished grocery shopping at Lucky’s on Portola Avenue. As I was pushing my shopping cart to my truck a whole back, my eye caught a sign across the parking lot that read “Cheese Steak Shop.”
“Hey!” my belly said in its own unique way, “We are going there!”
Not one to argue with a grumpy tummy, I began my new mission to find all the specialty cheese steak restaurants in Livermore.
Cheesesteak is one of those meals that has a cult following behind it. I am well-traveled and know the best of any food comes from where it’s from. I’ve never been to Philadelphia, so I’m not sure what a truly authentic Philadelphia cheesesteak really tastes like. One day I’ll surely make it back there to find out. If you’ve got those authentic Philly Cheesesteak taste buds, comment below. We’d love to hear your take.
That being said, I’m not going to let my deprived Northern California taste buds stop me from completing this mission. I want cheesesteak and I want it now!
I’m a little worried though. How many cheese steak joints are there in town? Will I have to invest in a Costco sized jar of antacid? What am I in for?
To my belly’s relief, there are only two in town; the Cheese Steak Shop on Portola Avenue, and Wise Guys Philly Cheesesteak n’ Gyros on Airway Blvd.
So let’s get this cheesesteak party started shall we?
What I ordered: Classic 7″ Cheese Steak, Twister Fries & a Small Soda ($8.15 inc. tax)
The Cheese Steak Shop is a chain that started in San Francisco in the early 80’s. They now have 30 locations in the greater Bay Area plus a couple in the Philippines. As much as I love to travel, I figured I’d just stick to the local Livermore location.
This place is all about cheesesteak obviously. In addition to the Classic Philly, they also have 12 specialty styles that include pizza, western and even bacon to choose from. All of their sandwiches from in 7″, 10″ and 15″ sizes.
If you are looking for a healthier meal, vegetarian sandwiches, Italian Hoagies and salads highlight their menu. Sides include wings, fries, onion rings and chips.
I kept it authentic and simple with the 7″ Classic Philly Cheese Steak. It is served hot with a nice spiced flavor topped with bell peppers and jalapenos that really hit the spot. It wasn’t big, so if you’re hungry, be sure and get a larger size as you might be left craving for more. I order the twisty fries which were perfect and served hot and crispy on the outside while steamy and moist on the inside – just the way I like them. I went with the least expensive meal combo which included a small order of fries and a drink for just over $8 out the door, it was a reasonable deal. Anything more, you’ll be spending over $10 easy.
They do offer a couple coupons on their website, though they are currently limited to Mondays and Thursdays.
Wise Guys Philly Cheesesteak n’ Gyros
885 Airway Blvd, Livermore, CA (map)
[UPDATE 3/25/15: They appear to be under new ownership. The website is also no longer available.]
What I ordered: Original Philly Cheesesteak, Fries & a Regular Soda ($10.22 inc. tax)
When you walk into this place, it doesn’t take long to realize why it’s called Wise Guys. Movie stills from The Godfather hang along the walls as the colors of the restaurant match the theme perfectly with its black, white and very subtle red touches.
Simon, the friendly and talkative owner, ordered me up his Original Philedelphia Cheesesteak. “Toppings?” he asked. “Give it to me the way you make it best,” I replied.
A few minutes later, a surprisingly overly stuffed, steaming hot cheesesteak sandwich with thick cut seasoned fries was set in front of me. Peppers, jalapenos, onions, mushrooms and generous portions of cheesesteak greeted my eyes. “Wow,” I thought. Maybe I should have picked up those antacids at Costco.
Like I said, I’m no expert on cheesesteak, but this sandwich was good. The meat had lots of flavor and was juicy. The bun was lightly toasted, but there was little chance I’d be picking it up. That fork you see in the photo… that’s mandatory. The fries were hot, tasty, and maybe a tad bit salty, but all together it was a great meal. There are many times I’ve spent $10 for lunch and have been disappointed in the quality or portions. I walked out of there a stuffed, happy man ready for an afternoon nap.
Wise Guys also offers Chicago style gyros, several types of burgers, fish n’ chips, salads and a good assortment of sides including fried zucchini and mozzarella sticks.
They also have some good coupons on their website, so be sure and keep those handy to save a few bucks.
While we don’t have many options for cheesesteak in the Livermore, you can’t go wrong with either place. They both offer great food and are right off 580 for easy access. Expect to spend about $10 at either place for equivalent meals.
What’s your cheesesteak experiences in Livermore like? Are you a Philly cheesesteak connoisseur? How does it compare? Share your adventures in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.