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Restaurants & Bars

Drake's Deli (St. Augustine, FL)

BostonBestEats | Feb 10, 201805:28 PM

LET'S GET A KILLER CHEESESTEAK: In Florida!!! At Drake's Deli in Saint Augustine FL...

Despite having lived in Philly for 5 years, I've never really been a fan of cheesesteak sandwiches. Crappy meat + crappy cheese + crappy bread = a crappy sandwich. [Actually, the REAL Philly sandwich is the classic roast pork with broccoli rabe and sharp provolone, preferably from Di Nic's in Reading Terminal Market.]

But, in my experience, if you HAVE to have a cheesesteak, you pretty much MUST get it in Philly, since what passes for a cheesesteak in most other places is even worse.

But for every rule, these is an exception, and the excellent Drake's Deli in "The Ancient City" (St. Augustine is America's oldest city) is a great example of this.

After a chat with the charming family who owns Drake's (who originally being from Michigan recognized my MSU Spartan's cap...amusingly, I was actually directed to Drake's by a retired MSU football coach who I met at nearby Hazel's Hot Dogs the day before), I ordered:

~DATIL CHEESESTEAK (12" for $11.50): Ribeye sautéed in Datil pepper sauce, home-made-cheese sauce, onions, peppers, mushrooms

Non-traditional (my Facebook friend Chris D is gagging over the green peppers lol), this was an ooey-gooey masterpiece, and the very spicy Datil sauce really put it over the top. Menorcan Datil peppers are a local specialty, being almost exclusively grown around St. Augustine, and have great flavor with Habanero-level heat (

Located on the main drag in St. Aug, parking is fairly easy on the street out front. 5 counter seats inside and ~18 more table seats in their pleasant patio outside (where you can't watch those annoying red choo-choo tour trains drive by every 10 minutes!).

Living in Boston now, I thought the Cape Cod kettle chips were a nice touch. ;-)

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