Hoagy Steak, at 691 E 14th St., is the very first place I ate when I moved into my house in San Leandro, and I was a bit disappointed the first time. Maybe it was because I had just unloaded the last of seemingly endless vans full of our crap, and was just exhausted. Maybe they had an off day. Who knows. This time around though, it was delicious.
The “Delux Cheese Steak” (their spelling not mine) was suggested as the most popular item on their surprisingly large menu. It had mushrooms, bell peppers, and provolone cheese with perfectly cooked steak, none of those overcooked crunchy bits that usually find their way on to the bread. This also came with a side of fries that were unsalted, but came with a salt packet, which was nice. They didn’t survive the trip home though, they were a bit mushy. Not to say that I didn’t eat all of them! I swear I have dumb animal syndrome, where I eat everything in front of me, not knowing when I will see food again.
I also tried the “Teriyaki Chicken Breast” hoagy with lettuce, and Swiss cheese. I really liked how there was a great sweet teriyaki flavor without goopy brown sauce. I added a bit of sriracha to “knock it up a notch“ (see minute 1:15). Their menu gives you the option for white meat or dark meat, which is kinda neat too. Definitely a good substitute for the steak.
Isn’t it amazing how a bit of customer service can so enhance your view of a place? Hoagy Steak is a simple place, with good quick food that you might expect to find at any hoagy shop, but the people working there (the owners presumably) are super nice.
Having worked in the hospitality business for over 10 years, I would have to say that customer service is the most important part of a business. You could have a stellar product, but if the customer has a bad (or even ok) experience, they might not repeat their visit. Anytime that you can make that personal connection, it will pay dividends in the future. We all remember the best and the worst places we’ve gone to, but it’s much harder to recall the average places. I always try to hire the most charming and outgoing people for food service and hospitality, because it’s hard to train an employee to actually like people. A warm and caring person can help deflect many poor perceptions.
Hoagy Steak: 1.2 miles roundtrip
Total travelled so far: 5.3 miles