This isn’t the first time I’ve pointed out that plans don’t always come to fruition; and it probably won’t be the last. At the end of my last post I stated an intention to begin a series of revisits to all of the steak shops that made my top ten list last year in preparation for eventually putting out an updated list. This post was supposed to be a report on that. But before I could get that far, I discovered that both of the places I was considering stopping at are closed Tuesdays.
In a fortunate twist of fate, within minutes of finding that out, I came across a rave recommendation on Facebook for the cheesesteaks at a new pizzeria in the suburban town where I grew up. I quickly decided that rather than moving on to another steak shop from last year’s list, the start of that project could wait another week. I was instead headed to Southampton, PA, to try the steak at Berardi Bros. Pizzeria.
Although Berardi Bros. is new to Southampton, they’ve had a shop in the Jersey Shore town of Sea Isle City for many years. I believe the new place is only their second outlet. What made it doubly enticing for me to try their steak is that they are in the same space that has been occupied by a series of pizza shops going back to my very early days in the late 60s. It was initially Longhitano’s, which is still in business and only a few blocks away from where they were back then. The earliest pizza-related memories I have are of eating it with my parents at Longhitano’s. I also used to walk there to eat with friends during the late 70s, when it was Cecil’s Hut.
More recently, it was Semonlina Pizzeria, which I reported on last spring. They didn’t last many months beyond my visit, but their departure opened an opportunity for Berardi Bros.
The new ownership gutted the interior, creating a lot of open space in the process. But they have a row of booths and I grabbed one by the window after ordering a cheesesteak with Cooper Sharp cheese and fried onions up at the counter.
Their menu is sparse, but better to be very good at a few things than average at many.
I helped myself to a soda from their refrigerated case, and the exceptionally nice young lady who took my order brought the cheesesteak out to me when it was ready.
The steaks at Berardi Bros. come on a stellar Sarcone’s seeded roll without the need for a special request. The roll’s crust was so crispy that I initially wondered if it was toasted – it wasn’t. It’s just extremely crusty. Not everyone likes that for steaks – but I do. And the dough within that crust was perfectly fresh. This was a great vehicle for a cheesesteak.
And it was filled with a massive amount of both meat and cheese. There had to be in the neighborhood of a full pound of ribeye on there. It was tough to judge with precision because it was accompanied by so much Cooper Sharp throughout the sandwich. Each half was so stuffed that there was no way to pick one up and start eating without some of the contents falling out onto the paper on which it was served.
I could hear the grill chef giving that meat a major workout on the grill while waiting for my sandwich, so I wasn’t surprised that it was very finely chopped. It mixed with the melted Cooper Sharp that encased it to create an interesting textural sensation. In a few spots, it was almost like eating a cheesesteak dip on a roll.
I did have a couple issues with the steak, but they were fully subjective in nature. I can see this sandwich gaining a large and loyal following once the word of it is properly spread on social media.
As has been the case with a few other steaks that are popular among members of the various Facebook cheesesteak groups – Cafe Carmela and Meatheadz come to mind – I would have preferred that the cheese was on there a bit more sparingly. I like the meat to headline and the cheese to have a supporting role. They shared top billing in this case.
I also thought it could have used a bit more seasoning, but that is easily taken care of with the addition of a little salt and pepper.
I didn’t get a glance at Berardi Bros.’ pizza and would like to return there with a friend at some point to try that and possibly split another steak.
When I’m up in Southampton, which is in Bucks County, about 45 minutes north of central Philadelphia, I find it difficult to resist driving through my old neighborhood and checking out the house in which I grew up.
It didn’t have blue siding when I lived there with my family. The side yard was where my friends and I played many of our football and baseball games. Actually, we stopped playing the latter after one of the kids hit the ball through our living room window.
I intend to start that series of revisits to last year’s top ten steak shops in the next week or two and also plan on having another Roast Pork Italiano sandwich during that period. But before either of those things happen, I’ve got one other highly-anticipated meal on tap, as well as a Super Bowl eating report. It’s always special when your team – the Eagles in my case – is playing.
One thought on “Jersey Shore Staple Brings their Steaks to Bucks”
Good-looking sandwich (minus the onions, of course). With that much meat and cheese a really sturdy roll is a must.
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