Lunchtime Snob: Finding Cheesesteaks in Unlikely Joints 

click to enlarge Ask the cashier to point you in the right direction. - TAYLOR ALLEN
  • Taylor Allen
  • Ask the cashier to point you in the right direction.

Gino's Deli is a scrappy little find. When I realized it was in the back of the Stop and Buy, a gas station convenience store, at Lockhill Selma and Huebner, my interest was immediately piqued. These are the types of locations that contain absolute authentic gems or wreak utter havoc on your immune system ... it was a risk I was willing to take.

Stepping into the Stop and Buy, things appear to be what you anticipate in a convenient store; lottery tickets, cigarettes, Styrofoam coolers and aisles worth of road trip snacks. As we loitered at the front door for a moment trying to find where Stop and Buy ended and Gino's began — a situation that must occur often — the very hospitable cashier pointed us in the right direction ... straight to the back corner.

Gino's is a product of a former Brooklyn, New York deli owner who touts having "The Best Philly Cheese Steak [sic] this side of the Mississippi!" I had perused the menu ahead of time, yes, the gas station deli has a website, and I thought that something like the Italian cold cut or Reuben was going to hit the spot. Having spent some time in Philly, though, specifically, a grueling day filled with a cheesesteak tour, and hearing the two-man Gino's crew rave about their cheesesteak, I had to give it a try. We ordered sandwiches at the counter, which had a variety of drinks, chips and sides to choose from, paid at the Stop and Buy cashier and found a spot at one of the high-top tables inside.

The Philly cheesesteak ($6.99) had all the necessities to get the job done — peppers, onions, cheese (provolone for me, no Cheez Whiz), and some jalapenos (not standard issue, but come on, this is San Antonio). Competition in Philly is tough, but I think that their claim to this side of the Mississippi certainly has some truth to it. The rest of their sandwich line-up looks dynamite, many of them named after loyal customers, like the Dirty Derick or D.D. ($7.99), which consists of roasted chicken, sautéed bell peppers and onions, Caesar dressing, cheddar cheese and bacon.

It's definitely worth paying Gino's Deli a fuel-up visit on the way to your next Texas road trip adventure.

Gino's Deli

Inside Stop and Buy, 13210 Huebner Rd., (210) 764-0602, 6am-8pm Monday-Friday, 7am-8pm Saturday, 8am-8pm Sunday

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