Roast beef sandwich with BBQ sauce, garlic aioli, and American cheese
Jamie’s Roast Beef in Peabody makes some notable variations on the standard North Shore roast beef sandwich. This one is called “The Yoli” on their menu, for the inclusion of their house-made garlic aioli instead of the more typical mayonnaise. It’s a sloppy beast lemme tell ya. I used about half a roll of paper towels working my way through this. And that’s the “regular” (aka medium) size. I refer to a meal like this as “Blupper”, because it is enough food for breakfast, lunch, AND supper. I did not eat anything else that day (except for the onion rings I ordered with it), and still felt like I ate too much.
Locals are picky about what’s okay to put on a roast beef sandwich, and they all have their go-to places, but Jamie’s gets a lot of high praise from people. They make a lot of their own sauces and condiments, though you can absolutely get the traidtional James River BBQ saucethat most other North Shore roast beef joints use (that’s JR BBQ in this photo).
The roast beef sandwich is a true Massachusetts culinary experience. The meat is sliced very thin and piled extremely high. Toppings run the gamut, but the quintessential version is the “3-Way” with barbecue sauce (generally a fairly spicy one), horseradish sauce or horseradish mayo, and American cheese. There are some variations on that depending on where you get your sandwich, but just as you can walk into any Dunkin’ Donuts in Massachusetts and ask for a “regular” coffee and get one with milk and 3 sugars, you can walk into any Massachusetts roast beef place and order a 3-Way and get something very much like this one.
This style of roast beef sandwich originated at Kelly’s on Revere Beach in the 1950s. They are now a chain with 4 locations around the North Shore, including the original one still right on the beach. They spawned a ton of imitators, some of which became institutions of their own, such as Bill And Bob’s. These days, it’s fairly common to find most pizza/sub shops also serving roast beef. and the sandwich has spread beyond the North Shore. I bought this one from a sub shop near my office, in Lowell. This is actually their medium-sized version (called a Large Beef), and the Super Beef is simply enormous.