This weekend’s Super Bowl matchup between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles poses a pigskin crisis for some Utah football fans.
Should they root for a proven winner, Tom Brady, and the continuation of a dynasty? Or the ultimate underdogs, Nick Foles and a team that has never won a Super Bowl?
You could decide using statistics — or a coin toss — but wouldn’t it be more fun to decide football supremacy with something more satisfying, like a sandwich?
That’s right, both cities in Super Bowl LII offer America a winning signature meat and bread combination.
In Boston — and all along the East Coast — it’s the luxurious lobster roll, drizzled with butter and served in a hot-dog-style bun.
In Philadelphia, it’s the every-man cheesesteak with thinly sliced beef and gooey cheese stuffed inside a roll
Which one is better?
Utah experts and eaters state their case in this Super Bowl Sandwich Smackdown.
Lobster is luxury • “Let me be upfront, I’m from Minnesota, so I have a bitter take on this year’s Super Bowl,” said Katie Weinner, owner of SLC Pop, a catering and pop-up restaurant business in Salt Lake City. (The Minnesota Vikings lost to Philadelphia in the NFC finals.) “I see the Patriots as the fancy Super Bowl option. They always win. They’re like the popular kids in school and so is the lobster roll. It’s never cheap, either. It’s always $10 or $20 wherever you go. The Philly cheesesteak is the underdog, like the Eagles. It’s eight bucks and it’s cheesy and sloppy and greasy. But lobster is such a luxury, I’ll go for a killer lobster roll anytime. I’m definitely a fan of the toasted bun made with super-soft, enriched white bread. I also like my lobster roll with celery for crunch.”
Cheesesteak equality • The joy of the cheesesteak, said Don MacDonald, co-owner of Moochies Meatballs, in Salt Lake City, Midvale and Lehi, is its ability to break socio-economic barriers. Whether you sport a tattoo or a $1,000 suit, “it’s the great equalizer,” he said. “No one is afraid to say they like cheesesteak and when you’re standing side-by-side eating the gooey drippiness of cheese melting into steak, you instantly have something in common. It is a welcome part of humankind.”
Butter is better • “They are both great sandwiches, but, of course, the lobster roll is better,” said Lorin Smaha, co-owner with husband Ben of Freshies Lobster Co. in Park City. Its uniqueness is one reason. Butter is the other. “Butter is way better than cheese,” said Smaha, whose company won Best Lobster Roll in the country in 2017, in part because the shop drizzles butter over fresh Maine lobster. “There is this sweet [taste] from butter and lobster and tang from the mayonnaise and crunch from the bun. It’s making me hungry right now.”
Always right • Yet the cheesesteak is aways forgiving, said MacDonald. “There’s also no right or wrong way to eat a cheesesteak,” he said. “No one looks down on you if you order no onions.”
Oh the memories • Lobster rolls, on the other hand, tend to conjure memories of a vacation with family or driving along the coast, added Smaha. “There’s always a story. For a lot of people, lobster is home.”
A tourist trap • Not true, said Bountiful resident Arainna Forth. “I grew up outside Boston. I’d choose a cheesesteak over a ‘lobsta’ roll any day,“ she said. “Primarily because there are MUCH better ways to eat lobster than cold and on a hot-dog bun.”
Lobster, obviously! • Cookbook author and cooking instructor Marguerite Marceau Henderson disagrees. “A luscious warm chunky lobster roll versus a Cheez Whiz-covered meat sub. No choice more obvious,” she said.
Better choices • Dave Heiblem, owner of Salt Lake City’s Este Pizza and the soon-to-reopen Este Deli, grew up about two hours north of Philadelphia. He says the lobster roll/cheesesteak battle is not a fair comparison. “The cheese steak has become more of a tourist sandwich,” he said. “Compare the lobster roll to the roast pork sandwich. It’s far better than the cheesesteak and more of what the locals eat.”
Maybe it’s time to punt.
Where to find a Super Bowl sandwich
Moochie’s Meatballs and More • Meatballs maybe in the name, but cheesesteaks are the number sellers at all three locations: 232 E. 800 South, Salt Lake City, 801-596-1350; 7725 S. State, Midvale, 801-562-1500; and 380 N. 850 East, Lehi; 801-766-8855.
DP Cheesesteaks • This eatery started in Provo, but now has five locations including; 83 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City; 801-883-8966; 1665 Towne Center Dr. (10610 S. Redwood Rd), South Jordan; 801-848-8450; 1626 E. Timanogos Hwy, Lehi, 385-352-7901; 933 W. 500 North, American Fork, 801-763-0976; and 1774 N. University Parkway, Provo; 801-709-2996.
Spedelli’s • Pizza and tacos are the specialty, but there’s a great Philly cheesesteak on the menu, too. 2991 E. 3300 South, Salt Lake City; 385-528-0181.
Freshie’s Lobster Co. • In 2017, Freshie’s earned the title of “World’s Best Lobster Roll.” 1897 Prospector Ave., Park City; 435-631-8961.
Slapfish • This national chain offers the lobster grinder with lobster, crab and shrimp in a warm split-top roll. Three Utah locations: 10431 S. State St., Sandy; 801-432-8488; 6622 N. Landmark Drive #170; Park City; 435-575-0922 and 3320 North Digital Drive, Lehi; 385-455-4110.
What’s your favorite? Let us know if we’ve missed your favorite place for lobster rolls or a cheesesteak. Leave a comment on this story or email email@example.com.