January 11, 2007


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Where the beef is, piled high and hot
Hot roast beef sandwiches come north from Bay State
By Susan Reilly  news@hippopress.com

The hot roast beef sandwich is a Massachusetts institution that folks miss when they move north to the Granite State. Sure, they get to keep an extra six percent of their salary in their pocket, but where’s the beef?

Not a foot-long roast beef grinder made from cold cuts at a sub shop, but a real sandwich. A mountain of hot and juicy roast beef piled high on a fresh, warm bulkie roll. Available 24 hours a day.

Unheard of, you say. Nope. In Massachusetts, there are more than a dozen roast beef sandwich shops that crank out sandwiches cut to order from fresh roasts, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So faithful are customers to specific shops that there have been well documented “roast beef wars” amongst rival shops.

Andy Taylor moved to Manchester six years ago from Danvers, Mass. He misses the roast beef sandwich so much that a few weeks ago, on his way to Thanksgiving dinner with his family, he stopped at a roast beef shop first and had a sandwich.

“Forget the turkey, I was all set. When I get to Mass. all I want is a hot roast beef sandwich. Nothing stops me,” he said.

Locally, Taylor and other former Massachusetts residents get their fix at Giovanni’s in Manchester and Londonderry, and at Bentley’s in Amherst.

The most popular way to go is the classic “three-way” of mayonnaise, barbecue sauce and cheese. And not just any barbecue sauce will do; the most popular is James River, which Giovanni’s sells by the bottle. It is more savory than sweet and suits the sandwich just fine.

“The three-way is hands-down the most popular way to go,” said Chris Alexandro, owner of Giovanni’s.

Alexandro grew up eating junior roast beef sandwiches in Lynn, Mass. When he got laid off from his computer programming job in the late 1980s, he turned to his next love, food, and bought an existing Giovanni’s restaurant.

Today, he brings the taste of the North Shore to the Granite State.

“It is so funny when people walk in and see the vertical slicer and then look up at the menu. They know we sell the hot roast beef sandwiches they had in Mass. And they get so excited,” said Alexandro.

These roast beef sandwiches are typically made from roasts cooked that day. The beef is sliced warm to order and served on an onion or bulkie roll.

Ali Ewiess owns Bentley’s Roast Beef in Amherst and says that his roadside shop sells between 700 pounds (in the winter) and 1,000 pounds (in the summer) of roast beef each week.

Ewiess roasts and carves it all, as he has for the past 11 years. Originally from Lowell, Mass., his family were big fans of Kelly’s Roast Beef on Revere Beach.

“When people come in and realize that we are serving the Massachusetts-style roast beef, they go crazy,” said Ewiess.

Where’s the beef?
Bentley’s Roast Beef
134 Rte 101 A, Amherst 883-2020
giant ($4.95) and regular ($4.25)

Giovanni’s Roast Beef
379 S. Willow St., Manchester 644-5757
207 Rockingham Rd., Londonderry 434-9021
super beef ($5.25), reg. roast beef ($4.75) or jr. roast beef ($4.15)

1/11/2007 The healthy foodie

12/28/2006 The return of pasta and fall of the diet: the year in eats
12/21/2006 Organic on the ice
12/14/2006 French but not fussy
12/07/2006 Southeast U.S. culture, in sandwich form
11/30/2006 Bites of comfort with chips of happiness
11/23/2006 Cityside adds class to conveniece
11/16/2006 Easier-to-enjoy Thanksgiving feasts
11/9/2006 The new classic
10/26/2006 Whip up a quiche
10/19/2006 A new way to crepe
10/12/2006 Comfort food for blokes and birds
10/05/2006 Smaller crop but still red and delicious
09/28/2006 The crunchier, lighter, healthier wrap
09/21/2006 City bagels in suburbia
09/14/2006 Cracking the custard code
09/07/2006 Eat your way down the block
08/31/2006 New flavors for an old summer dish
08/24/2006 Way down south in Hollis
08/17/2006 Frappe vs. milkshake
08/10/2006 Enjoy the bluest month
08/03/2006 Death of Toro
07/27/2006 Vacation on a plate
07/20/2006 Hitting barbecue big time
07/13/2006 Relishing the raspberry
07/06/2006 Are your edible souveneirs kosher?
06/29/2006 Fish, upscale
06/22/2006 Sweet rosey taste of summer
06/15/2006 When to pull out the EVOO
06/08/2006 What can you grill?
06/01/2006 Taste of downtown Nashua
05/25/2006 Deulge at farms
05/18/2006 Adorable and delicious
05/11/2006 Rub down
05/04/2006 Pinot to go
04/27/2006 A bit Italian, a bit egg foo young
04/20/2006 Meatier than breakfast...
04/13/2006 Let yourself eat cake
04/06/2006 Fear not the Risotto
03/30/2006 Making Friday a fishy delight
03/23/2006 The Thin Mints are here
03/16/2006 Divining your personality from pizza
03/09/2006 Cooking up a big bowl of comfort
03/02/2006 Dumplings demystified
02/23/2006 Carbs and comfort all the way
02/16/2006 She sells sushi by the sea shore
2/09/2006 Biting into the burger with bling
02/02/2006 Forget formal dining, head to the bar
01/26/2006 Goodbye rooster, hello year of the dog
01/19/2006 The secret lives of chefs
01/12/2006 Cooking up a pot of delayed gratification
01/05/2006 A sunny Italian side dish
A year of eats

All-you-can-read guide to breakfast
A bagel by any other l
A picnic — it’s romance with ants
A sweet burst of summer, in stages
Beef, It's What's For Dinner, Lunch, And Dessert
Be it ever so humble, the burger rules
Blockbuster snacks for your movie
Box Of Chocolates
C Is For Cookie And Christmas And Cool Combo
Celebrating A Holiday For The Rest Of Us
Celebrate Easter In A Sugar Coma
Chat And Chew

Chinese soup is magic
Chocolate cake makes everything better
Chocolate, Part II
Competition flows like chocolate
Corn Flake Chicken, Honeycomb Salad
Dining at the "Your House Bistro"
Don't Dread The Bread
Dress Up Your Next Meal
Drinking Out Of The Box
Eating Your Way Back To Health
Enter Soup
Experiments With Very Bad Brownies
Feeding A Crowd The Morning After
Follow the cider house rules
Fresh Herbs
Go ahead — run silent, run deep
Goodbye corn syrup, hello organic oatmeal
Go Indian for Thanksgiving
Grilled Cheese Junkie

Halloween candy for grown-ups
Have a Happy Meal and a happier wallet
Holiday Cookies - The Easy Way
Holiday Potluck 101-Tips For The Kitchen Novice
Home-Based Date
How do you like them apples?
In-A-Pinch Love Feast
It's not easy to be cheesy
It’s not Christmas without tamales
Lest We Forget The Humble Squash
Keeping your cool while you eat
Living through your salad days

Looking Beyond The Hot Dog Stand
Lunching your way to a less toxic you
Meat's meat and a man's gotta eat

Moist and delicious chicken — no, really
Oatmeal Cookies, The Miracle Cure
Oscar Night, When The Stars Come Out To Eat

Offering Up A Slice Of Teriyaki Pie
Pot Pies Are Darn Tasty
Pumpkin-Flavored Treats
Small Plates Are The Next Big Thing
Speedy 'za not pie in the sky
Steak: it’s what’s for dinner, again
Summer coolers, just add sunlight
Summer Squash
Super Bowl Grub
Take A Walk On The Dark Side
Taste of Manchester Event
The Cosmopolitan
The joys of a simple oatmeal breakfast
The return of comfort food
The One-Note Cook Book
The New American Plate Cookbook
The Stickiest, Hottest & Sweetest Of Love's Labors
The taste of retro
The Unheralded Peanut Butter Cookies
The union of sweet and heat
The Weekly Dish (12-16-04)
The Weekly Dish (12-23-04)

The Weekly Dish [1-13-05]
There's a Barbecue Bonanza Next Door
Week Four: Adding Diet To The Mix
What Was Hot And Haute In 2004
When $$ trumps urge to dine out
When in doubt, go for the organic
When nothing else will cool, Slurp it
You Say Potato, She'll Say Potato,Too
You say tomato, writer says lunch