Originally Published at NewsOk by Dave Cathey
About the time of the mullet’s birth, I was a high school soccer player.
As a defender, scoring chances rarely came along. But one spring afternoon, opportunity knocked and, for the first time in my high school career, I answered.
After rewinding the glorious day in my mind — it was the time of the VCR and cassette — I carefully attempted to re-create any and all things that sent such good karma to my feet on subsequent game days.
Most importantly, I had a Philadelphia cheesesteak from All-American Hero Sandwiches for lunch that day, so it became my official pregame meal.
Sure, a Philly sounds like a terrible idea for that purpose, but food history is fraught with seemingly bad ideas that somehow work out, i.e., lamb fries, foie gras and the raspberry-coconut Zinger.
I took Phillies on road trips, even packing two or three for tournament weekends. No, I didn’t score in each following match, but I did manage to get a humble scholarship to a small school in Nebraska — not bad for a short, slow kid with more coordination than athleticism.
As age, hairline fractures and dislocated toes wage war on my feet, it’s time to summon the Philadelphia cheesesteak to my rescue again by honoring it as April’s sandwich of the month.
Most good delis across the state serve some version of the Philly, but based on my experiences and the feedback I got from readers, two stand out: Hobby’s Hoagies and Jersey Mike’s.
Not surprisingly, both have strong connections to the sandwich’s birthplace.
George "Hobby” Hobson moved his family from Delaware to Oklahoma about the time I was stuffing foil-wrapped Phillies in my soccer bag before getting on the bus.
He opened Hobby’s Hoagies in 1991. The original Edmond store is in the same place at 222 S Santa Fe in the Oakbrook Shopping Center, and now a second store has opened at 325 N Walker in the Legacy at Arts Quarter building and is operated by his grandson, Chris Nixon.
The bridge between the two is Kim Nixon, Hobby’s daughter and Chris’ mom.
Kim operates the Edmond store and Hobby gets up each morning to make bread for both stores.
After the bread, Hobby’s keeps it traditional, using white American cheese rather than Cheez Whiz, top round sliced wafer thin and further chopped with a flat spatula as it quickly fries.
Hobby’s Hoagies is an old-school, East Coast style deli that serves deli sandwiches, hot and cold, along with pizzas and desserts — most notably, Tastykakes.
"Back East, people order a Philly and Tastykakes all the time,” Kim Nixon said.
Tastykakes are similar to Zingers or Little Debbie’s cakes. Hobby’s keeps them refrigerated to extend their freshness.
"We don’t sell a ton of them except to people from back East,” Kim said. "They go crazy when they realize we’ve got them.”
But Hobby and family aren’t the only ones making mean Phillies and offering Tastykakes.
Jersey Mike’s is a chain that opened in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, in 1956. It’s gradually spread across the land, opening five metro locations with more openings planned this year, officials said.
Jersey Mike’s makes a Big Kahuna version that is enough for two. But if you see me carrying one don’t believe me when I tell you I’m planning to halve it with a friend.
Hey, it’s for my feet. Watch as I limp away.