Most Philly-cheesesteak connoisseurs know that it’s next to impossible to find an authentic version of the magically mammoth sandwich below the Mason-Dixon line. That said, South-A-Philly Steaks & Hoagies works pretty darn hard to be the exception to the rule. Discerning in its curation, the eatery imports par-baked bread directly from South Jersey. Once the rolls rise to perfection, the crew piles on hearty amounts of meat coupled with a generous coating of Cheez Whiz—the only condiment known to have been used in both sandwich creation and the signings of numerous constitutional amendments.
Balancing out the meaty menu, South-A-Philly Steaks & Hoagies not so surprisingly serves another Pennsylvanian staple—the hoagie. Each heroically sized creation is adorned with both italian Dietz and Watson meats and cheeses including genoa salami, coteghino, capocolla, and provolone. Truly adventurous offerings also fly out of the kitchen with toppings that range from onions, peppers, pickle slices, and the hands of friends who fight over said pickle slices.
Framed black-and-white pictures fill the lemon-yellow and terra-cotta-red walls in Fratelli's Restaurant, evoking the casual ambiance of a family dining room beside the Mediterranean. The chefs demonstrate a similar commitment to homestyle comfort by faithfully re-creating familiar Italian-American staples. Ricotta-stuffed shells bake beneath a layer of mozzarella and marinara, and marsala sauce adds an extra dose of flavor to sautéed veal loin, chicken breast, or sliced rib-eye steak. Occasional maritime influences also work their way into the menu, as in the case of the housemade crab cakes and the shrimp or scallops in a spicy red sauce made with magma-marinated peppers.
Cabo Taco Mexicali Grill stuffs each taco, burrito, and quesadilla on its menu with fresh ingredients full of south-of-the-border flavor. Nosh on inspired nibbles such as the tequila lime chicken tacos decorated with salsa, cilantro sauce, and cheese composed in crunchy or soft tortilla frames ($3.99 each; two for $7.50). Tackle the cabo burrito, a tortilla-tamed tornado of taste swirling with goodies including blackened mahi, rice, beans, avocado, and mango ($9.99), or sample a lineup of specials that change weekly, just like the public opinion on formal toe socks. Cabo Taco's beach-themed dining room opens at 11 a.m., delivering a breakfast menu of egg-enhanced dishes such as the breakfast dilla—a warm tortilla folded around veggies, cheese, scrambled eggs, and choice of meat ($5.99) —and flaky plantain and brown-sugar stuffed turnovers drizzled with house-made agave sauce, offering a less sticky, but just as sweet, alternative to an early-morning syrup-soak ($3.50 each).
Luli’s culinary conjurers create fresh confections daily using the finest available ingredients, with their eponymous specialty being the diminutively delicious cupcake. Sink a sweet-hunting nose into flaky coconut and sweet vanilla frosting atop moist coconut cake, or work from the ground up with rich chocolate cake under heavenly chocolate frosting and milk-chocolate shavings.
Dick’s quickly silences grumbling bellies with a menu of tasty grilled edibles and a tongue-tingling variety of spicy twists. Fried pickles ($4.29), buffalo shrimp ($7.49), or wings in 365 available flavors ($8.99/10) engage mouths as guests wait for the main attraction—half-pound burgers, whose meatslabs are hand-pressed and grilled to order over the heat of omnipresent flame decals. Bacon, swiss, and lettuce enrobe the Squealin' Cheeser burger ($7.59), whereas sautéed mushrooms sit proudly atop the Shroomer burger ($7.59) and a trio of cheddar, american, and jack adorn the Three Cheeser ($7.59). All burgers come with a choice of steak fries or waffle fries and can be sharpened with any of Dick’s 365 sauce blends ($0.59 additional). Before strolling over to the nearby beach to squash sandcastles, diners can clog their molars with chunks of deep-fried Oreos ($3.99), a chocolate tribute to the hamburger and a smooth ending to a spicy ride.
Cruisers' cooks flip mouthwatering burgers on plates and mix their own dressings, marinades, and sauces, all of which helped the eatery earn the title of Best Every Day Burger from TravelHost magazine. Founded in 1996 and purchased in 2007 by proprietor Bobby Handmaker, the restaurant now boasts four locations, with plans to begin franchising and open a fifth on Mars in 2014. Trivia and live music entertain patrons throughout the week at select locations, and a fleet of wooden booths proffers perfect views of on-site televisions.