Flavor // By popular demand

When Golooney’s East Coast Pizza Café closed shop in March, there were some who lamented the loss of their big, floppy New York-style slices.

For others, it was never about the pizza.

Golooney’s made one heck of a Philly cheesesteak sandwich. When local chain Red’s Savoy Pizza took over their corner storefront in the spring, it was one of a few menu items they could not, would not, change, co-owner Matt Ford said.

“We had a lot of people coming in talking about the Golooney’s Phillies,” Ford said.

Red’s Savoy Uptown calls it a Philly Steak and Cheese on their menu, putting the meat front and center. It’s as it should be: the juicy and well-seasoned rib eye is the essence of the sandwich.

The thin-sliced steak is chopped and fried on a griddle with peppers and onions. The whole mess is piled on a light and airy French roll, which does an excellent job of soaking up the juices while maintaining a crisp exterior.

There are a few choices to make when ordering this sandwich, the most important having to do with cheese: provolone or Ghel’s Philly Cheese.

This may pose a conundrum to foodies. Ghel’s Philly Cheese is a close approximation of Cheez Whiz, the gooey processed cheese spread that — while anathema to cheese connoisseurs — is totally authentic on a cheesesteak.

Hey, if you want a brie and asparagus sandwich, head to Surdyk’s. If you’re ordering the Philly at Red’s, go with Ghel’s.

(If it makes you feel any better, Ghel’s is based in Germanton, Wis. It’s good to eat local, right?)

Red’s Savoy also offers their Philly Steak and Cheese “OG style,” which means topped with lettuce, tomato, mayo, more onions, banana peppers and pepper relish. The peppers don’t make the cheesesteak spicy, exactly, but they do a wonderful job of cutting through the meat and cheese with their mild, vinegary bite.

Altogether it’s a big, messy, delicious sandwich. It’s more than a match for Red Savoy’s tissue-thin paper napkins, especially after the French roll has dissolved in steak juice.

But is it authentic?

Given the Southwest Journal’s relatively limited travel budget, we couldn’t do a side-by-side comparison with the best from The City of Brotherly Love. Anyway, a Philadelphian would probably tell you a true cheesesteak can only be served on this one special roll, from this one special bakery. Blah, blah, blah.

Still, if you can trust the rapturous online testimonials — a few dating from the Golooney’s days — it’s the best around these parts.

You don’t mess with success. When asked how Red’s version compared with Golooney’s, Ford replied: “It’s exactly the same.”

Red’s Savoy Pizza
2329 Hennepin Ave. S.