New Jersey’s best cheesesteak that you can’t get anymore
I've been talking about cheesesteaks for most of my life. Really. It's my go-to food when I'm on the road in New Jersey.
It's the sign of a great deli or pizza place. The amount of meat, the cheesiness, and the variety.
For me, the best cheesesteak was from Big John's on Route 70 in Cherry Hill. I have great memories of stopping at Big John's with my dad and brothers on our way from our Cherry Hill home across the Delaware River to catch a Phillies game.
It was my go-to when I was visiting home from Boston and later Washington, D.C., when my job took me to the nation's capital.
The cheesesteaks were stuffed with perfectly cooked meat. Not too greasy, not dry at all. The cheese, I opted for provolone and not Cheez Whiz (well, not all the time!), was melty and combined with the meat. The onions, delicious and not overpowering.
Later the restaurant added a pickle bar. Everything from cherry hot peppers to pickles smothered in mustard. I'm getting hungry writing about it right now.
The tale that was told about the restaurant's namesake, "Big John," was that he was a huge guy with a great appetite and a passion for gambling. Rumor had it the restaurant changed ownership when he lost it in a poker game! Not sure if that's true or if it's just a "suburban legend" that added to the mystique of the local hot spot.
Either way, it's gone now and the kids today growing up in the area will have to rely on the tales of their parents about the legendary cheesesteak locale.
That said, there are a few places that come pretty close to my memory of a "full steak" at Big John's.
Chicks in Cherry Hill
Bowkers in Holgate
Meatheadz in Lawrence
All three are excellent and worth the trip.
Or you can try to make your own.
Spadea's Father's Day cheesesteak
The best cheeseburgers in New Jersey
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Spadea. Any opinions expressed are Bill's own. Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015.