Brothers’ love of cheesesteaks inspires Encinitas sandwich shop

There’s an East Coast-style sandwich shop in town that has a bit of a West Coast twist.

The Gaglione Bros. — Joe, Andy and Tony — brought their eatery to Encinitas earlier this year, after having established locations in Point Loma and in the Friars Village Shopping Center in San Diego.

The restaurant’s concept primarily grew from the brothers’ love of cheesesteaks. The Gagliones often visited family in Buffalo, N.Y., and during one summer there about 15 years ago, they made numerous treks to a well-known local cheesesteak and hoagie shop. But when they returned home to the San Diego area, they couldn’t find a place that served anything close to the authentic sandwiches that they experienced.

In 2003, the Gagliones decided to satisfy their cravings by taking matters into their own hands. In Joe’s Pacific Beach kitchen, they cooked and tested until they felt they had a cheesesteak recipe perfected.

And while creating the menu for their future restaurant, the brothers’ West Coast upbringing kicked in. The Gagliones grew up in Fremont, near the “Garlic Capital of the World,” Gilroy.

“We said, ‘We’ve GOT to have garlic fries!’ ” Joe recalled, when deciding to include the popular Bay Area side.

Once the brothers agreed on the offerings, they broke ground on the first Gaglione Bros. restaurant in Point Loma, and have since added several locations throughout the region.

Their recipe for success is to keep things simple and to use quality ingredients, with special attention to details in the cooking and assembly, according to Joe Gaglione.

The brothers order the steaks from a local meat producer that Joe selected and worked with to obtain the “perfect” cut of meat.

These juicy, thinly sliced steaks (and all of the eatery’s sandwiches) are served on rolls from the famous 110-year-old Philadelphia bakery, Amoroso, and covered with melted cheese and sautéed onions.

There are several variations of the cheesesteak at Gaglione Bros, including the popular Mushroom Cheesesteak. Customers can spice up their sandwiches at the pepper bar, where there are eight types that range from sweet to hot.

But there are other types of sandwiches, as well, and a few are named for the brothers’ family members. For example, there’s the Turk, a tribute to their late dad, whom Joe described as “a goofy guy,” like “a turkey.” The holiday-inspired treat — served year-round — includes house-baked turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and mayonnaise.

Another is the General, named for the Gagliones’ grandmother, “a tough Italian broad.” It’s assembled with thinly sliced hot pastrami, melted Swiss, homemade Russian dressing and coleslaw.

The newest sandwich is dubbed Father Joe in honor of the brothers’ uncle, a Catholic priest. The meatballs are made from a recipe that has been in the family for generations, and it’s dressed with marinara, provolone, parmesan and parsley.

And even though they’re not related, the Gagliones have a cold cuts sub titled Sophia Loren, a fellow Italian.

For sides, there are a half-dozen types of fries, including the thick Garlic Fries that are generously coated with bits of the bulb; along with coleslaw and chips.

Gaglione Bros.’ Encinitas location is in the El Camino Promenade, 252 N. El Camino Real, Suite K-1. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Call 760-944-1521 or go to www.gaglionebros.com.

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