When it comes to regional delicacies, a Philly cheesesteak is pretty high on my To Eat list! Chopped steak on a grill and topped with melty cheese and peppers on a soft roll is always a winner in my book. But given its regionality, a good cheesesteak is usually pretty hard to find and that’s no different here in the Triangle. When I first moved to North Carolina back in 2005, I spent several years looking around for a good cheesesteak to no avail. But finally in 2010, ran into Anvil’s Cheesesteaks on the edge of Raleigh. Nine years later I’m still going back to Anvil’s and loving what they are putting out from that grill!
As a first-time visitor to Anvil’s, the location might be a bit of a mystery. It sits in the back corner of Swift Creek plaza (not far from Cary Crossroads) and is a bit hidden. With the large bushes out front, you might miss the place unless you’re keeping an eye out for it. Inside, Anvil’s it’s a totally casual grill set-up. Formica tables, plastic chairs, you’re not coming here for ambiance, just good eats. And thankfully, Anvil’s delivers a great sandwich! Its small menu covers a handful of Philadelphia-Italian sandwich favorites (about $9 per sandwich) along with maybe some specials, cole slaw, chips, soft drinks and beers, that’s it. But what Anvil’s does, it does really well.
Order at the counter, self-serve your drink or maybe go with a Birch beer (similar to root beer) to make your dining experience totally Philly! As you wait, you’ll hear the clanking of metal spatulas on the kitchen grill top as the steak is minced into delicious morsels. The food comes out to you in plastic baskets lined with white butchers paper. I typically forgo the chips and just try to do another sandwich as an appetizer when visiting. 🙂
The classic cheesesteak here at Anvil’s is excellent, served up on soft 11″ hoagie rolls. The provolone is well melted into the chopped meat and onion making for a tasty mix of beef and savory cheese. The sandwiches are perfectly filled, making for a nice meal. Anvil’s pizza cheesesteak adds some pepperoni and marinara sauce giving the sandwich a bit of an Italian flair which makes for a taste sensation!
Beyond cheesesteaks, consider the rare Italian roast pork sandwich. A local favorite up in Philly that’s hard to find elsewhere, Anvil’s serves up thin-sliced roast pork topped with provolone, spinach (broccolini is the classic green used) and peppers. This sandwich is soft, moist and full of soft, pork flavor. The greens provide a bit of contrast to the luscious meat giving the sandwich a balanced flavor. I also recently tried their Sicilian sausage sandwich special which is chopped sausage topped with peppers, onion and cheese, another great option beyond cheesesteaks. Anvil’s also offers up chicken sandwiches and a portobello mushroom (for vegetarians) sandwich but I have yet to try them yet.
So a slow round of applause for this delicious sandwich shop. Given its discrete location on the Raleigh-Cary city line and bare-bones dining experience, it would be easy to pass by Anvil’s and not think twice. BUT if you’re up for a great cheesesteak or Italian roast pork sandwich, you’d be missing out on one of the best spots for a classic Philly sandwich experience. I have yet to find any other spots serving up this type of sandwich deliciousness in the Triangle even after all these years. Enjoy and you can thank me later!
2893 Jones Franklin Road
Raleigh, NC 27606