If there is one food trend that is not only unique to MA, but to the North Shore specifically; it is the number of Roast Beef and pizza places. They are everywhere, and whether it is Nick’,Rizzo’s,Kelly’s,King’s,Bill and Bob’s,Peter’s,Sammy’s,Manny’s, or any other many others there is one food that is king; The roast beef sandwich. There is a restaurant serving this sandwich with rare roast beef on an onion roll pretty much anywhere you look on the North Shore. Every restaurant has basically the same menu, and most of them are around the same price. So why are they all able to stay in business?
When I say that these restaurants are everywhere I really do mean it. Every town has at-least a few places that serve essentially the same food. Most of the food is a blend of deli food, your normal pizza place, and sometimes even seafood. Some of these places have huge menu’s of items to choose from, but for the most part if you know what you like at one place its a safe bet somewhere else. Price wise they are a little more expensive than a fast food place, but not any more expensive than ordering Domino’s or any other pizza chain. Where they compete is quality and location.
A good roast beef place and a bad place will give you two totally different level of quality and service. Most of the staff at these places are friendly, and most are also family run. Despite what you would think these are not Italians running the shops for the most part. Most of these shops are run by Greek families, and a few shops will even close for a couple weeks in the summer to go on vacation. If you start going to one regularly they will quickly start to recognize you. The place I order from at work knows its me calling in by my weird tendency of putting black olives on everything.
The key to success for these places is customer loyalty. Every family in the area has places they will order from and those they won’t. Almost everyone I know when they get home only orders from one place, people are loyal to their roast beef places, and that is why each one is able to stay open.
Location is also a major factor for these places. Most of them are near either a school, big office building, or hospital. They do deliver and most of the time it will be to the entire town they are in. There is seating inside, but a large potion of their business is delivery. While some do take deliveries on places like doordash, most also just take phone calls for delivery. The tables in these places are nothing fancy, just a place to sit and eat your messy sandwich.
Now how do you get a proper Roast beef sandwich. First decide on size. Most come in Junior Beef which is smaller (not really small), Normal, or the giant Super Beef. Typically a super beef will be served on an onion roll. The roast beef is served rare when it is put on the sandwich. there are many toppings options, but if you are on the North Shore you need to have a 3-way. Despite sounding like something you would read on urban dictionary, a Roast Beef 3-way is a common term at these shops. It refers to the 3 main toppings of American cheese, Mayo, and Barbecue sauce. The Barbecue sauce tends to be a vinegar base sauce that has a bit of a kick but really compliments the mayo (or horseradish sauce). It is a mess to eat, but in exchange for that mess you can go home and tell your friends about the time you had a 3-way on the North Shore.
As for other specialties they can range from fried seafood at some of the places, but really the big non red meat draw is kabob. Salads are a very commonly ordered item at these places, and it tends to come down to picking what kind of salad you want (house,Greek,or Caesar). After you pick your desired salad there are a few meat options but the two main ones are Chicken Kabob and Steak Tip. The chicken kabob meat at most of these place are very well seasoned and grilled on a flat top grill.The steak tips are tender pieces of steak that are seasoned well and grilled medium at more places. A generous portion of the meat is then placed atop whatever salad you chose. On the North Shore most of these places tend to be one of the best places to get a good salad or any other other many options. They also serve pizza, local pizza that is very good and has many creative toppings.
One thing anyone who orders a small fry to go with their roast beef will realize is the portion sizes are huge at some of these places. A small fry at most of these places is almost a full bag of french fries. Pro tip; get a container of the Barbecue sauce to dip your fries in. The large portions more than make up for the price. A small fry is about 3$ at most of these places, but it is about three times the size of a MacDonald’s large. You won’t leave hungry from any of these places.
If you are on the North Shore for any reason you cannot go wrong getting a Roast beef sandwich at any of these places. Some are better than others, but the ones that stay open for a long time are all really great places to get something to eat. It is the best form of casual dining you will find North of Boston. Just remember that a Roast Beef 3-way is very messy so bring many napkins, and enjoy.
As always hope you enjoyed reading,
Go With The Winds.
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