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Al's Steak House, Owner John "Big Al" Severson's Cheesesteaks in Del Ray - Open Again after Mr. Severson's Passing

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Al's has their fans, but I think the Broiler's meat is a little more substantial, and I don't believe that Al's has chicken.

Al's does serve a chicken and cheese option....their subs are huge and tasty in the DC steak-and-cheese sort way..the rolls are not the greatest, but then what DC steak and cheese joint serves great rolls? It is a neighborhood institution, but unlike Philly places, the service is painfully slow and Al is a notorius curmudgeon. Not a place for a quick bite, but the wait is worth it if one is in the mood.

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Has anyone been to Al's Steak House on Mt. Vernon Avenue in Alexandria? On another board (not CH) someone claims that this 53 year old place is the best in the area. I'm already skeptical of it because it advertises "cheesesteaks" and I have the attitude that if their "steak and cheese" (as it must have been called when they opened in the late '50's) is so good why are they calling it something different?

because in Philly they are called Cheesesteaks, not Steak and Cheese. So, I guess Al wants to be known more towards the traditional style.

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I think Al wants to appeal to both the 'cheesesteak' crowd and the 'steak and cheese' crowd. On their menu, there is a Steak and American Cheese, but not one item is called a cheesesteak.

 
In fact, they spell it cheese steak, not cheesesteak. Dead giveaway. wink.gif

 
(although the hot peppers are a classic touch)

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because in Philly they are called Cheesesteaks, not Steak and Cheese. So, I guess Al wants to be known more towards the traditional style.

Respectfully, but "cheesesteak" did not exist here in the '50's. Steak and cheese is D. C.'s traditional style and name.

 
My guess is that he believes that he can sell more sandwiches by calling a steak and cheese a "cheesesteak" although he is probably making it exactly as he did 53 years ago.

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Had a cheesesteak with provolone and sauce last night at Al's. This is a very respectable cheesesteak; lots of meat, and a good roll (from Gold Crust Bakery on Monroe). I'm happy that I can get my Philly phix when the mood strikes.

 
Al's Steak House, Alexandria

eta: Al's serves Philly cheesesteaks, but they automatically ask if you want LTM on your sandwich!

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I have had an AL's before , pretty yummy, does anyone know how large is a large or any benefit from getting a large as opposed to two mediums ?

The atmosphere of AL's is great , reminds me of an old sandwich shop called Taneytown in Catonsville, just a counter with a guy yelling NEXT!!!!!

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I have had an AL's before , pretty yummy, does anyone know how large is a large or any benefit from getting a large as opposed to two mediums ?

The atmosphere of AL's is great , reminds me of an old sandwich shop called Taneytown in Catonsville, just a counter with a guy yelling NEXT!!!!!

I'm pretty sure Mr. MV and I ordered mediums, and we split fries (MUST stop doing that!), and I took half of my cheesesteak home.

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08/28/15 - "John 'Big Al' Severson, Owner of Big Al's Steakhouse, Dead at 73" by Chris Teale on alextimes.com

01/05/16 - "Del Ray's 'Al's Steakhouse' Closed for Good in Alexandria? #Developing" on redbricktown.com (*)

01/06/16 - "Al's Steakhouse: Temporarily Closed in Del Ray" by Mary Ann Barton on patch.com

(*) An excerpt from this article: "I know we've been the bearer of some really bad news in Alexandria, Virginia lately and this one, for me and I'm sure many others, hits hard. Many years ago, Owner John Severson, who passed away recently, was SO nice to me when I was homeless on the streets of Alexandria."

Jeez, I'd suggest we get out the torches and pitchforks and have a good ole necktie party. One heresay "i heard..." and people are going off the deep end...for something that may have been mumbled under-the breath, in response to a particularly snide comment, in frustration at a steadily changing order...any number of things that may frustrate someone...and so we all line up like good little widgets, ready to castigate someone for something more than likely taken totally out of context, not witnessed by more than one person who was an uninterested spectator...sheesh!!! Where is Michael Landrum when you need him to puncture supercilious souls?

Not so much hearsay, but an admitted uncertainty that the person involved was "Al" himself, as well as not knowing any possible corresponding backstory. We all have bad moments, but I place great value in the words of the former homeless gentleman who wrote the second article.

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A family bought the restaurant and it was re-opening yesterday when it caught on fire. Story here.

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52 minutes ago, Pat said:

A family bought the restaurant and it was re-opening yesterday when it caught on fire. Story here.

Wow, this sounds like it could be caked-up grease in the ventilation system (not that I'm any expert).

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The story says that a customer saw smoke coming from a light fixture and alerted them.  I hope that, if it was a rewiring gone bad, it was done by someone licensed/bonded/insured.

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Holy Cow on Mt Vernon is doing a pop up for Al's on July 14 at 530pm. All proceeds will go to help rebuild Al's. Way to go, Mango Mike!

Gotta say, I live in a pretty amazing neighborhood... Seeing "Where Main Street exists" was so cheesy when I first moved here, but it means something. 

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20 hours ago, Simul Parikh said:

Holy Cow on Mt Vernon is doing a pop up for Al's on July 14 at 530pm. All proceeds will go to help rebuild Al's. Way to go, Mango Mike!

Gotta say, I live in a pretty amazing neighborhood... Seeing "Where Main Street exists" was so cheesy when I first moved here, but it means something. 

More details on the pop-up here and here. As mentioned in the second link, Fireflies is accepting donations and a GoFundMe account has been created.

Such a sad opening day for the new owners, but it is heartening to see the local neighbors and businesses rally around what is truly a Del Ray institution. Here's hoping the repairs are done quickly and the reopening happens soon.

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Al's apparently reopened at the end of July. We saw the lights on a couple of weeks ago, and then decided to stop in over this past weekend. Bright, clean, freshly painted, and the cheesesteaks are the cheesesteaks. Two huge Romans, filled with steak and lots of stuff, jar of cherry peppers, tasty fries (though they're best when hot), pleasant people who repeat your order at least once to make sure they got it right. Result = food coma.

ETA: this is my 99th post, and I am now a Bottle of Beer on the Wall. I may never post again.  ;)

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Unless they have managed to make their steak taste like something other than cardboard, I will continue to pass.  It used to be, and probably is now, a great "looking" cheesesteak, but I can't get past the utter lack of beef taste in the meat.

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On 11/8/2017 at 11:07 AM, captcourt said:

ETA: this is my 99th post, and I am now a Bottle of Beer on the Wall. I may never post again.  ;)

Saved for posterity: Screenshot 2017-11-14 at 14.32.21.png :)

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