Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Woody's ~ The Best Philly Cheese Steak Sub in the South

Pretty much every Sunday the craving strikes. My mouth is watering in anticipation of the fantastic taste of paper thin slices of grilled beef, topped with cheese and freshly grilled onions on a sub roll. Then I remember that Woody's is closed on Sunday. I go on Monday.

Back in the 1950's this was an A&W Root Beer place painted bright orange with the A&W logo painted on the big sign out front. There was a big juke box in front with the latest in rock & roll on 78 RPM records.

Out back it was still mangrove swamp. They hadn't yet dredged all the deep canals that supplied the fill to cover the swamp. A few years later there would be canals criss crossing the former swamp, hosting water front homes stretching east to Biscayne Bay, but back then as the sun was starting to set the mosquitos would swarm out of the mangroves while the land crabs would venture out of their borrows and invade the parking lot. Some of them even went out onto U.S. 1 where they'd get run over by the cars driving by. Watching the crabs scurrying about almost made swatting mosquitos bearable.

One night I went there with my fishing buddy Norm Nilsen. We'd stopped off for root beer and burgers. Somehow a palmetto bug, a type of huge cockroach nearly two inches long, had gotten onto the turntable and was down in the recess next to the spindle, getting dizzy spinning round and round. Every time the arm would lift a record up he'd try to be brave enough to navigate the spinning turntable, but the next record coming down would cause him to retreat back to the recess. Norm and I kept feeding the machine nickles, dimes, and quarters until we ran out of change.

A few years later the A&W closed up, and eventually it became Woody's. Now we have great Philly Cheese steak subs at about $4.50 each but no root beer. On the bright side, no mosquitos or land crabs either. I miss the frosty mugs of root beer though.


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