What Fresno Wants is a Decent Cheese Steak Sandwich

With all of the talk this week about chain restaurants versus local, it was convenient that our Friday night dinner ended up at a chain.  I typically try my best to avoid chains and I certainly don’t think Fresno needs more of them but as I mentioned on Twitter to @zolmos, I will always put friends before food.  So if someone invites me to dinner at a chain and I can’t quickly think of a better local option, I guess that’s where I’m going.  Really I love good local food but it’s not important enough to be a  jerk about it.

Side-note: If I was ever own a restaurant, “factory” will not be part of the name.

So what else do you order at the Cheesecake Factory but a cheese steak of course.  Based on the recommendation of Matt (our top notch server who never let my drink get empty), I ordered the cheese steak on brioche instead of the baguette roll.  That ended up being the best decision of the night.  The bread was toasted and buttered nicely.  The goodness stopped there.

What greeted me on the inside of the sandwich was what resembled chewed up and spit out dog food.  Actually what it more closely resembled is the little nasty sausages that Me-N-Eds puts on their pizza.  Half of the sandwich I left picked apart and mutilated.  After all that’s how the meat was prepared.  Of course I don’t expect the Cheesecake Factory to produce something like this.   But I really didn’t expect to get something like this?

I’m hoping this post adds something to the conversation or at least steers you away from the cheese steak sandwich.  Not all chains are bad and not all local restaurants are good either.  But one thing I do know is that the cheese steak sandwich at the Cheesecake Factory not only is hard to say three times in a row, but it’s also a disgusting, pathetic excuse for a sandwich.

Cheesecake Factory on Urbanspoon

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24 Responses to What Fresno Wants is a Decent Cheese Steak Sandwich

  1. jenne says:

    This is not Philly…..one should NEVER…I repeat NEVER order a “cheese steak” sandwich here… there was a place.. a few years ago… that sold a REAL cheese steak sandwich and other Philly faves… but sadly its gone… so if you want one.. go to Philly… Go to Pat’s, or Geno’s.. or Steve’s.. or Tony Luke’s… but don’t order a regional specialty outside of its region unless a person from that region is cooking it.

    • fresnobites says:

      I was hoping for at least sliced beef.

      • flxkid says:

        It is sliced beef. Sliced by the teeth of other carnivores…why do you have to be so technical and picky?!? 😉

      • fresnobites says:

        I know. I need to relax. Every now and then a little pre-chewed beef never hurts. I thought you were going to ask me where the Cheesecake Factory was.

    • fresnobites says:

      I should also clarify that I didn’t go there seeking a cheese steak sandwich. The menu is 30 pages long. I just flip to a page and pick something blindfolded.

    • Les Ciapponi says:

      I’m sorry but you can’t generalize like that. Too many times you will be proved wrong. I can fix a better cheesesteak than Pat’s or Gino’s. And the best one I’ve had in Philly was not at either one of these places. It was in a different part of town and it was all black people working there. Don’t remember the name.

  2. K4iz3r says:

    One of the biggest problems with chains I feel, is the inconsistency of the food. I know of many places where I have had the same dish twice, with two completely different outcomes. Just depends on who is in the kitchen on that particular day.

  3. fresnobites says:

    Yeah I’m not sure I agree K4iz3r. Most chains produce the same thing over and over again because it all comes out of a box, bag, or carton. There is no way that Cheesecake or chains like it aren’t using pre-made food with a menu that large. I could be wrong but I don’t think so.

    • Actually, I kind of agree with K4iz3r. It may not be inconsistent within a restaurant, but I have seen inconsistencies within a chain. My grandfather, in Arkansas, insisted we go to his Applebee’s after church. We were so amazed at how good the service and food were (and a pretty excellent martini) that we decided to try it here in Fresno. We were greeted with spoiled meat and a server who wouldn’t acknowledge it. Very different experiences.

  4. cmc says:

    Bites I’m sorry you had a bad experience at CF. For a chain I think it’s one of the best here in town and I would hate to see it leave. I have never had a bad dining experience at CF. I say dining experience because we get freshly prepared food, excellent service, nice atmosphere and dare I add all wrapped up in a
    cloth napkin. If there is one negitive you get from me is parking can be a problem. Do you think that you have had so much fall off the bone tender BBQ that you have forgotten how to chew? Just a little joke!! My recommendation would be next time you find yourself at CF dining with friends or family, because you will, take a deep breath relaxing while you notice your comfortable surroundings and choose something other than cheesesteak sandwich. I’m sure that you will be satisfied and if not tell you server because they will be happy to get you something that will please you and not just say how sorry they are and ignor your unhappiness.
    Just a CF lover!!!

    • fresnobites says:

      You are right CMC. CF does a good job on the surroundings to draw your attention away from the food. They probably spend millions on tile, granite and woodworkings for every location.

      Your also right that I shouldn’t have ordered a cheesesteak there. But it also shouldn’t be on the menu if the meat is going to resemble sautéed stew meat.

      By the way, I did enjoy our visit since YOU were there!!!!

  5. JH says:

    I have to disagree that Fresno wants a decent Cheese Steak Sandwich. Cheese Steak sandwiches are disgusting no matter who makes them. We have so much good local food here in Fresno that most people don’t ever get to try even a fraction of it. Instead of complaining about what we don’t have let’s talk about how fortunate we are to be able to enjoy what we do have.

    • fresnobites says:


      If you would have taken the time to read the entire post, including the link to WhatFresnoWants blog which discussed a desire for having more chain restaurants in Fresno, you would have realized that this entire post about Cheesecake Factory was basically a response to their post. My thoughts on chain restaurants pretty much fall in line with your thoughts on cheesesteaks in general. For the most parts chain restaurants are awful and if they all disappeared tomorrow I wouldn’t miss them one bit.

      Also, to your point about being fortunate and talking about the great local restaurants we have, I have one question for you: Have you actually read one blog post on this site? It’s virtually dedicated to finding the great local restaurants. Quite frankly I think I’ve been doing a good job finding them as my waistline can confirm. Thanks for the comment and see you at McDonalds.

  6. jenne says:

    my question is…with all the great places to eat in this town….why a chain? I mean..I GET that sometimes it happens… and some of the stuff at certain chains is actually good (already had a big hairy discussion on this over at Taste Fresno btw), but really… I don’t go to Walmart’s expecting stuff I could get made from say….Amy Echo fashions (our local fabu designer), and I don’t go to McDonald’s expecting a Chris’s burger. It’s just common sense man!

    • fresnobites says:

      Jenne, just want to clarify that I don’t disagree with you. I try to go to local only but sometimes majority rules and that’s where I go. I’m not gonna pout cause someone recommends a chain.

      • jenne says:

        well if one MUST go to CF, you can’t go wrong with an order of the deep fried mac n cheese…followed by a cheesecake…oh and wash it down with an appletini… that’s pretty much it for them.

      • fresnobites says:

        Haha sounds like you’ve eaten there your fair share. FresnoBites can’t be seen with an appletini though. Too girly.

  7. jenne says:

    I’ve eaten nearly everywhere in fresno…..even chains… I still have a list of places to get to though..

  8. DAVe says:

    Maybe an Appletini in a dirty glass? That sounds manly

  9. jenne says:

    so…it’s August…where you been eating now? Gonna indulge in restaurant week…er…17 days?

    • fresnobites says:

      I’ll probably take advantage of Trelio’s offer. All their restaurant specials they select are straight off the regular menu traditionally. It’s a great value and food is top notch. You?

  10. jenne says:

    well of the RW menus I could actually FIND…. Twist’s looked pretty good (and a good value), and Sal’s made me think its time for another visit since it’s been awhile…. (breaking my current rule about not returning to a restaurant until my list has been cleared…. Dim Sum at Imperial Garden is another one I’d do that for..)

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