Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Bud's Snack Bar Cheese Steaks

During the Spring of 1958 my father and his brother Dick, built a small building on the South West corner of Rt. 519 and Rt. 22, next to Bud Burgstresser's Sunoco Gas Station. Presently it would be situated a little toward Rt. 22 next to the abandoned former bank in the Walmart Strip Mall near Ruby Tuesdays. Back then the area of the strip mall was a cornfield the stretched from St.James Avenue/Rt. 519 toward New Brunswick Avenue also known as Alternate Route 22. This area was known as Straw Church Circle before they turned the circle into a cross roads, adding traffic lights.

The building was almost square, with a slanted roof, and we called it the "Cup", but the sign on top read Bud's Snack Bar. My parent's signature sandwich was their steak sandwich, and what made them so good was Mom's original sauce recipe. Dad had an Auto Detailer paint in cursive Bud's Snack Bar, and the words  French Fries, Hamburgers, Milk Shakes, and Steaks on the sides of his 1959 green Ford pick-up truck.

Their steak sandwiches were the most popular item on the menu. Our french fries were always made with fresh potatoes, no frozen there. The hot dogs were made as Toby's Cup make them, deep fried in oil. The menu also included hamburger bar-b-que, also known as Sloppy Joes, and hamburgers. We sold ice cream, soda, floats, milk shakes, sundaes, pretzels, chips, Tasteykakes, and candy. Dad also sold produce, such as potatoes, watermelons, and apples on the grassy area between the parking area and the corner.

We had lots of loyal customers and most of our friends loved to tag along when we worked the counter. During the interim slow periods we would sit on over turned apple baskets or milk crates, and play a game of trying to toss rocks in a basket, and trying to get passing truckers to blow their air horns with our motions of pulling on a horn/s chain using our arms. We would listen to songs on the radio like, Running Bear, Purple People Eater, and I Will Follow Him, and of course we sang along at the top of our lungs.

In 1963, my parents opened another business on the corner of Rt. 519/Third Avenue and East Central Avenue in Alpha, known as the Alpha Luncheonette. For three years they had kept both businesses running, closing the "Cup" in 1966, and selling the structure. It was a bitter sweet moment, as we no longer wanted to be tied to trying to keep two businesses going as a family, yet we would miss that quaint little "Cup" and all the memories it held.

Bud's Snack Bar Cheese Steak Sandwich

2 lbs. Chipped Steak Meat (Mom got hers from the meat counter at the former Central Super Market) We have gotten ours from the Marlin Meat Market near Pottsville, PA, and in most supermarkets you can find Landis in the freezer section.

2 Sweet Onions (Mom used Bermuda onions, I like to use Vidalia) Chopped/Diced

2 Green Bell Peppers Chopped/Diced

12 oz. can of tomato sauce (Mom used Hunts)

1 cup of ketchup (Mom used Heinz)

2 tablespoons of A-1 Steak Sauce

1 level tablespoon of sugar

1 lb. of fresh sliced white American cheese from a Deli

6 fresh six inch steak or sub rolls
(Mom got them from the former N.Y. Italian Bakery in Phillipsburg) I would suggest if you do not have a bakery, try the bakery section of the supermarket, the ones in the plastic bins, not in the plastic bag.

In a sauce pan, saute the chopped onions in the oil of your preference, (Mom used vegetable oil). Remove from pan and put aside. Add the chopped peppers to the pan and saute them, adding 1/3 of the sauteed onions to the peppers, add sauce, ketchup, sugar, and A1 sauce, and stir occasionally for 20-30 minutes over low heat in covered sauce pan.

In a large saute pan saute the chipped steak, breaking it apart using two forks pulling in opposite directions (if using a Teflon pan, break up frozen chip steak using fingers into small pieces as you add it to the pan). Add the remainder of the sauteed onions to the steak, and stir through. Steak cooks quickly over medium heat about seven minutes. Add cheese and cover until cheese is melted. About three quarters of the way through cooking the steak, add sliced rolls to a 350 degree pre-heated oven to toast them.

Add steak to the roll, and top with sauce. If you prefer a steak without cheese leave the cheese off a portion of cooked meat or all of it. If you want it to be a hot steak add hot peppers that are found in the condiment section of most supermarkets.

If you choose to not make your own steaks and want to eat one that compares, and live in a 30 mile radius of Phillipsburg, NJ Crossroads Restaurant in Hellertown, PA just off the exit of Rt. 78, make a left and it is just down the road a few blocks. The next best steak is from Joe's Steak Shop on S. Main Street in Phillipsburg.

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