WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? STEAK AND NOSTALGIA

strokers west sideCalifornia Cheesesteak at Strokers Westside Pizza and Subs. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels mediumStrokers Westside Pizza and Subs on Shrewsbury Avenue in Red Bank is an outpost of the original Strokers Deli located across from the Grove in Shrewsbury. As a rule, PieHole tries to avoid our area’s Mecca of Materialism, and so when we found ourselves hankering for a California cheesesteak, we headed to the West Side location for lunch.

We easily found parking on Chestnut Street and walked a few steps to the deli on the corner of Locust and Shrewsbury avenues.

After ordering at the counter, we grabbed a seat at the one table (a window counter also seats a half dozen eaters) and watched the deli draw a steady and diverse stream of lunchtime customers while we waited for our order.

The deli’s radio was tuned to Sirius FM’s The Big 80’s, and it pumped out gems like Ratt’s ‘Round and Round,’ Madonna and the Go-Go’s. But it wasn’t the music that filled PieHole with nostalgia as we munched down on our cheesesteak (California style, with lettuce and tomato, $5.50).

Rather, it was the bread. You see, as a kid PieHole logged hundreds of hours working at a deli and sub shop that made the best sub sandwiches known to man. And it wasn’t just PieHole‘s meat-slicing artistry that made these subs so fantastic. Rather, it was the combination of good meat stacked on amazing bread from a place in West Long Branch called Nino’s Bakery – the same place that Strokers gets its fantastic sub rolls. Nino’s bread has a great crust – just enough there to give substance to the sandwich but not one of those bulky torpedo numbers with crust so thick you feel like you’ve just had your gums worked over by the dentist.

We’re glad we stopped in at the Westside location.  We learned the menu is a bit more expansive than at the original Shrewsbury location. While it has the same sandwiches (and Nino’s bread) as the original location, it also offers pizza and a good selection of Mexican fare, such as tacos, tortas and cemitas.