Thursday, April 30, 2009

PepperJax Grill

NebraskaPhilly’s back again/doing a little cheesesteak thing.

My cheesesteak experience has been limited mostly to the turkey cheesesteak at Grinders. I haven’t been to Chartroose Caboose, but I totally need to. And all the while I lived by the now closed Cheesesteak Alley, I stayed away because the sign said something like “Philadelphia invented it and we perfected it” -- a claim I found to be narcissistic at worst and dubious at best. Although I’ve never been to Philadelphia, I doubt much of anything is getting perfected across the street from the Kmart in Mission.

PepperJax Grill was voted First Place Best Sandwiches in Omaha Magazine’s Best of Omaha 2008. That’s something I can believe in. Omaha is, after all, a city noted for its love of Runzas so the bar can’t be too high. (Actually, I shouldn’t be so quick to judge -- I just checked out Runza online and it looks kind of good. Much better than I remember.)

We got to the front of the line at PepperJax Grill's Lawrence location, and I ordered my Philly with everything. The guy asked, “Do you want jalapeno juice?” Of course I wanted jalapeno juice.

It appears that creating a cheesesteak is a three-person operation -- PepperJax Grill is set up like a Chipotle or Subway, where you follow your sandwich down the counter as they fix it. Personally, I prefer not to see my food getting made, especially when it looks like they’re manhandling the bread. If that’s an essential step to engineering the ideal filling pocket and achieving sandwich perfection, so be it. I just don’t want to watch it happen.

My Philly tasted fantastic -- the steak, onions, peppers, mushrooms, and cheese were all in balance. Eating it was surprisingly mess-free, too. For comparison, whenever we’re at Grinders I inevitably go through a stack of napkins and yet somehow still get Cheez Whiz all over everything.

But as delicious as the PepperJax Grill cheesesteak was, between it and the cheesesteak at Grinders, I’ve got to go with Grinders as my favorite. The Cheez Whiz makes a big difference, as does that savory dash of spite that goes into just about everything that Grinders serves. Let’s face it, despite the fact that more often than not the people working at Grinders seem to be actively trying to ignore their customers, they make one fine cheesesteak.
______________________________Pepperjax Grill on Urbanspoon
947 New Hampshire | Lawrence, KS 66044


  1. All I have to say is WOW?! REALLY?! Your freaking out of your mind. Don't blog about what you don't know about for one. You have never had and "actual" philly from Philadelphia and your comparing it to a TURKEY PHILLY!? BAhahahaha your out of your mind!! First off Pepperjax is the closest thing you will get to an actual philly in the midwest. Heck probably the closest you will get to an actual philly without even being within a 100 miles of philadelphia. 2ndly go to philadelphia and try pats and geno's. The two bigger known philly places there. 20 bucks says you won't like pats and you would think geno's is just as good as Pepperjax. All I can say is this is the 2nd blog I have read about pepperjax today and you guys are freaking dumb. The first guy I read complained about sauces and now I read a guy comparing pepperjax cheesesteaks to a TURKEY Philly!! Bahaha quit your job while your ahead. Or else take your own advice and start eating a salad because you live in Lawrence Kansas and don't know the first thing about food!

  2. anonymous posts are always high in troll-like condescension, high horse "opinion" and usually lack any validity. thanks for the review, and btw i am aware of several high class chefs that hail from the Lawrence area, so....