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mcgonagle’s / paradise hills | san diego, ca

I’m secretly always on a Philly Cheesesteak quest. I’ve had a lot of cheesesteaks. I’m not sure where my love for cheesesteaks began. I’ve always thought of it as a “specialty” item, something you can’t get just anywhere. I think the first cheesesteaks I got were at The Great Steak Escape at the mall’s food court. I really loved their skin-on fries, too. Though sometimes if I were at Horton Plaza, I would get a cheesesteak at the Great Steak Escape and then go to Boardwalk Fries for a heaping amount of cheese fries. The Steak Escape is still there but the fries place changed awhile ago. I haven’t been to either place in a long time though I used to frequent it in high school – I went to San Diego High when we had open campus for lunch and my friend, Stacey, and I would wander downtown a lot. We used to get cheap Chinese food and bring it to Drama class and give some food to our teacher who then didn’t mind that we were late for class. Ahhh, high school.

Back to the cheesesteaks at hand – I got a deal from one of the many deal sites out there these days for this place in Paradise Hills called McGonagle’s. I had never heard of this place before. It’s in a little part of Paradise Hills that I had never been to before, not too far from Plaza Blvd in National City. The street was quiet and almost reminded me of a “main street” that you find in other small towns and neighborhoods, but even smaller than that.

We originally tried to visit McGonagle’s one Sunday afternoon, but found that the place was closed. The guy working there (one of the owner’s? I have no idea) explained to us that they were redoing the floors and we closed down for the afternoon. He gave us a buy one get one free coupon to make up for being closed. He seemed genuinely sorry that they were closed and he couldn’t serve us, but we weren’t upset or anything. But we were still hungry and instead ended up going to Royal Mandarin for foods that day.

We went back later that week and finally got to sample some of the food. First thing we got: Cheesesteak Fries.

The Cheesesteak Fries come with Cheese Whiz and a handful of steak meat on top. The fries were okay. The cheese whiz wasn’t really hot and the meat, well, the meat is just okay. Let me get to that… I also ordered the 6″ Cali Cheesesteak Combo Meal ($6.25) with a small regular fry and a small drink.

I got the Cali Cheesesteak because I wanted to choose what kind of cheese I wanted – if you get a regular cheesesteak, it comes with Cheese Whiz, which is not how I like my cheesesteaks. I got my Cali style with Provolone, meat and onions (no peppers, yuck). I liked the bread on this cheesesteak – it was toasted well and slightly chewy. The meat though… it wasn’t seasoned at all (a little salt¬† & pepper at least, please!) and had a serious lack of cheese on it. I thought the steak wasn’t cut up enough, the pieces looked a big large and it didn’t really get any of that nice char/sear on the meat. I was disappointed with this sandwich. The cheesesteak fries were just okay since the meat wasn’t that great.

Ah well. Try, try again.

McGonagle’s
2319 Reo Dr
San Diego, CA 92139
(619) 472-1838

McGonagle's Authentic Philly Cheesesteaks on Urbanspoon

'12 Responses to “mcgonagle’s / paradise hills | san diego, ca”'
  1. Darlene says:

    Those cheese steak fries look amazing. Too bad they don’t live up to the looks but an it’s an interesting concept.

  2. mary says:

    Hey Darlene – They also have cheese steak fries at Gaglione Brothers and those fries I do like! Though, I prefer the garlic fries more often than not…

  3. Janice D. says:

    I recently visited Eddie’s on 30th in North Park for their cheesesteak. I had with the Whiz and it was good with the Amoroso roll. However, the steak by itself wasn’t seasoned either (what’s up with that?) so the presence of the Cheez Whiz balanced out the flavors. Still haven’t tried Gaglione Bros yet… but heard that it’s the best in SD. Do you agree, yet so far?

  4. ooh, i never even knew about this place, but too bad the meat sucked. maybe my husband might give it a shot tho’.

  5. mary says:

    Hi Janice – I’ve had the cheesesteak at Eddie’s too and I just thought theirs was okay. Gaglione Brothers is still my current favorite. I’ve been wanting to try Philly Frank’s in San Marcos and I’ve read about other places on some other local blog’s. There are plenty more to try!

    Hi CC – Eh, they could have been having an off day, you never know. They sell TastyCakes there, too – I would go back just to get those! Too bad they were out the day we went!

  6. Betty says:

    I really enjoyed my visit to the new location on Plaza Blvd. I shared an authentic philly cheesesteak sandwich with my husband, and we were both pleased. We have told our friends about McGonagle’s and we wish the brothers the best of luck! Thank goodness it’s not another taco shop. NC needs variety and McGonagle’s is a step in the right direction.

  7. mary says:

    Hi Betty – I’m glad to hear others have enjoyed their experience at McGonagle’s – maybe my visit was just a fluke when I went. The Plaza Blvd location should be better for them as well – the location I went to was pretty out of the way!

  8. Philly Dave says:

    Yo! I’m from Philly and the real deal is difficult to get here. Go to Philly Frank’s in San Marcos (Rancho Santa Fe Rd. just south of the SR-78). The secret to a good Philly steak sandwich is the roll and the cut of steak. In Philly we use sliced rib eye and the rolls have to be Amorrosos. Frank has the rolls flown in from Philly. Beware, however, that once you have one of his you will never go back to the Steak Escape again. For the record I am a patron of Franks, nothing more.

  9. BASSMECHANIC says:

    Philly Franks is the best in North County……..If you in San Diego proper http://www.giorginosdeli.com/ on 28th st.
    I never go past Philly Franks or Giorginos with out getting a PROPER Cheese STEAK!

  10. mary,
    the location in paradise hills is closed! we tried to use our coupon and when we got there, noticed no sign, no nothing. closed down. that sucked. there are a few places in that entertainment coupon book i have that are closed down. bummer. i will have to try the one in national city one of these days…

    • mary says:

      Oh, yeah, I think I read that they moved closed to Plaza Blvd. That Paradise Hills location was probably terrible for them! Did you try them before?

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about this site

My name is Mary and I live in San Diego. I've been blogging since 2006 as a hobby - it's my fun, creative outlet! Some random things about me: I'm a front end web developer, I love peanut butter, cookies, warm cupcakes, puppy noses, star gazing, new bags of sugar, sprinkles, cupcake wrappers, egg rolls, eating french fries with ice cream, driving with the windows down, snuggling, wes anderson movies, staying up too late reading a good book and Jake. These are my adventures in all things food. Hope you enjoy the ride.
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