Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Cheesesteak #1: Waterloo Pizza Delivers
In February, I asked the question "Where do you get a good cheesesteak?" and got dozens a terrific answers from Howard County to Baltimore and beyond. I started in central Columbia at Waterloo Pizza & Subs in the Exxon station on Little Patuxent Parkway.
Did the Waterloo cheesesteak have what I wanted?
Lean sliced beef? Check. Mushrooms, onions and hot peppers? Check. Soft roll? Check -- plus bonus points for a toasted roll.
That's a good sandwich. A large helping of well-done meat, juicy enough to have flavor without turning greasy. Provolone melted through the meat, and vegetables on top were generous without distracting anyone from the point that I had ordered a cheese steak sandwich.
I ate happily in my car, although you could sit in the Exxon's waiting area and watch television. Even a small cheesesteak is a heavy sandwich. I felt stuffed even without any chips or sides. Waterloo isn't making a brilliant sandwich like Bon Fresco's london broil, but they do the cheesesteak right.
Is it authentic? Probably not because I don't remember anyone toasting rolls on Chestnut Street. (As you read this, guys in Eagles jerseys are drafting comments below about how Waterloo doesn't use the right bakery.) But I love toasted bread, so the crisp bread actually made my cheesesteak by standing up to the meat juices and providing a little crunch.
This may take a while. I'm past my prime when I ate multiple cheesesteaks and hoagies each week. But the tour will roll through other cheesesteak suggestions. People raved broadly with a few votes a bunch of local places, including Simmies in Columbia, Diamondback Tavern in Ellicott City, and Philly's Best in Elkridge. I was actually trying to eat at Philly's Best, but the person who answered the phone couldn't be bothered to give me directions.
Of course, the best gas station food around remains R&R Taqueria in Elkridge. That's gas station food worth driving from anywhere in Howard County.
Waterloo Pizza at the Columbia Exxon
10611 Little Patuxent Pkwy
Columbia, MD 21044
NEAR: This Waterloo Pizza is in the Exxon station at Little Patuxent Parkway just west of the Columbia mall. This is very near the community college, Howard County Hospital, and many Columbia offices. This is different from the Waterloo Pizza just off Rte 108 in Elkridge.