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A taste of Philadelphia, inside a gas station

Making the cheesesteaks at Direct from Philly

Sorry Big Al. I’ve found a new place to get my Philadelphia cheesesteak fix: Direct from Philly, in Deerfield Beach.

Until recently, Big Al’s Steaks on Atlantic Avenue in downtown Delray Beach was the only place that I knew where you could find something that resembled a Philadelphia cheesesteak in or near Delray Beach, but after learning about Direct from Philly through social media, I had to give it a try. And I’m glad I did. It could make you forget Big Al’s.

Though not a Philadelphian, I’ve chowed down at Pat’s and Geno’s — the two shrines to cheesesteak in the City of Brotherly Love — and the sandwiches dished out at Direct from Philly seem to be the real deal.

Signs tell you what’s inside

You’ll have to work to find Direct from Philly. There are no signs to alert you to this cheesesteak marvel tucked inside the convenience store of a Chevron station. It’s at 1201Military Trail, just south of SW 10th St., between a Wendy’s and a McDonald’s.  Yes, that’s a 20-minute drive from Atlantic Ave, but worth the effort.

There’s a sign on the gas station store window telling you what’s to be found inside. Walk past the aisles of candy bars on the right and the cashier on the left and in the back you’ll find a small, neat kitchen where the clanking of spatulas on the grill is a constant reminder that you’re getting a freshly made sandwich.  Figure about 10 minutes from the time you give your name and you order off the menu  board lining the wall. You can eat in, sitting atop one of the dozen stools lining two counters, or do takeaway. Don’t feel like waiting? You can call ahead for pickup (954) 428-7035.

Wit wiz

The menu board

You can choose from about 10 different types of Philly cheesesteaks (I never knew there were that many). If you’re a true aficionado it comes down to better liking Pat’s (Cheese Whiz) or Geno ‘s (provolone cheese). I chose wit whiz as they say.  It’s a sandwich of incredibly thin-sliced and chopped rib eye and grilled onions, Pat’s style, topped with cheese whiz and overstuffed into a 9-inch soft, but firm, hoagie roll from Philadelphia’s Amaroso Bakery. The sandwich is a burning hot handful  — and mouthful. It’s also a tad salty. I went through six napkins  before I was done and needed a fork to pick up all the bits that dropped into my wax-paper-lined basket.

The sandwich will set you back $9.95 without the up-charges for such fixings as mushrooms and peppers—I don’t know where you’d put them—and you can add a large fountain drink for $1.95. You’ll need it.  I washed my sandwich down with 32 ounces of Pennsylvania Dutch Birch Beer.

If you’ve got big eyes, order the fries, nicely browned,

and topped with Cheese Whiz. I didn’t. There are also Herr’s potato chips and Philly-style soft-pretzels.

But who has room for all that? I walked out quite sated. Let’s just say that Direct from Philly really rings the Liberty Bell.

Direct From Philly

201 South Military Trail, Deerfield Beach 

(954) 428-7035

www.directfromphilly.com

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