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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Frankie’s cheesesteaks bring the Philly flavor

    Walk into Frankie’s South Philly Cheesesteaks & Sandwiches and you’ll notice two things immediately. The first is the aroma of steak and onions undergoing their savory and sweet transformation on the griddle. The second is the wall of photos featuring people who have spent time at Frankie’s: employees, UA students, families and friends.

    Located at Campbell Avenue and Copper Street (a few blocks north of Grant Road), this friendly, bustling place has been serving Tucson a taste of Philadelphia since 2004.

    The heart of Frankie’s menu is the cheesesteak ($6.65 – $8.99, depending on the size). Because it is such a simple sandwich, it calls for ingredients  — thinly sliced beef, onions, cheese, roll — of high quality. Frankie’s lives up to this expectation. The sliced Angus beef is wonderful: juicy, tender and flavorful. The Amoroso Italian roll gives the sandwich a satisfying chewiness.

    It gets tricky with the accompaniments. There are three choices when it comes to cheese: American, provolone and Cheez Whiz. The most popular is the whiz, which is a processed cheese spread. Most people from Philly will argue that this is the best choice. It’s good for anyone who wants a cheesier flavor for their cheesesteak that is aggressive but not overwhelming. American tastes the same as the whiz, but because it is added as slices, there’s just not as much of it in the sandwich. For a milder flavor that some argue is the most traditional option, go with the provolone.

    Unless you hate cooked onions, always get them with your cheesesteak — they add a delicate sweetness that complements the steak.

    As for other vegetable accompaniments, there are the roasted peppers and the broccoli rabe (90 cents extra, each). Frankie’s offers sweet and hot peppers and the option to get both. It doesn’t matter what you choose, they’re all good choices. Broccoli rabe is an auspicious sign because very few places serve this vegetable with their cheesesteaks. The rabe gives a surprising complexity to the sandwich with its mild bitter and sweet flavor.

    Cheesesteaks aren’t the only highlight on the menu. The chicken cutlet is a great choice too. Thin pieces of breaded and fried chicken breast are coated with warm marinara sauce and mozzarella.

    Frankie’s veggie cheesesteak is also surprisingly good, which shows that it wasn’t added to the menu out of politeness to vegetarians. The sautéed vegetables, which include zucchini, onions, broccoli rabe and peppers, are hearty enough to stand up to a regular cheesesteak.

    After five years of providing cheesesteaks, Frankie’s feels like a permanent part of the neighborhood. Tucson is fortunate to have such an ambassador from the City of Brotherly Love.

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