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A deep dive into the steak bomb and its many variations
What is a steak bomb? Visit nearly every pizza or sub shop across New Hampshire and you’ll find this as an option on the menu. Most shop owners leave little debate as to what makes up this sub’s core ingredients: grilled steak, usually shaved, tossed together with onions, green or red peppers, and mushrooms.
“It’s really just a steak and cheese [sub] … [but] with extra toppings,” said Mikhail “Mikey” Bashagurov, owner of Mikey’s Roast Beef & Pizza in Hooksett.
Then there are variations, including the type of cheese used and the type of bread. The bomb gets really fancy when you start adding toppings, like Genoa salami or pepperoni, or hotter ingredients, like jalapenos, banana peppers or hot pepper relish.
The steak bomb sub is the flagship menu item of Danelly’s Subs and Pizza in Nashua, which has been in business since 1960. Danelly’s manager Christopher Smith said the sub, known simply as the “Bomb” on its menu, continues to be among the shop’s top-selling options.
“A lot of places that serve them with salami will shred it so that it gets mixed in with everything else,” Smith said, “but here, our Genoa salami is left as whole slices that we put on the top of the sub. What that does is it prevents the cheese from sticking to the paper when you unwrap it.”
The steak bombs available at Danelly’s come in eight-inch, 10-inch or jumbo 30-inch-sized sub rolls, delivered fresh at the shop six days a week from the Boston-area Piantedosi Baking Co. In lieu of mushrooms, the subs also feature tomatoes added to the grill.
“Once everything is shredded and all of the veggies are mixed in, then we kind of line everything up in a straight line on the roll, put some provolone cheese on top and then a layer of salami on top of that,” Smith said. “The cheese melts and the steam from the meat warms up the salami.”
Other shops don’t include salami or other less traditional toppings, but if you want them, just ask. Mikey’s Roast Beef & Pizza’s basic steak bomb is either shaved steak or steak tips, along with peppers, mushrooms, onions and American cheese, but they’ll add whatever you’d like.
“Personally, my favorite way is with cut up bacon to match the texture, and with barbecue sauce,” Bashagurov said.
Still, he said, the core ingredients are what matter most.
“It’s a very simple sandwich, so the best way to make it great is to pay attention to great ingredients,” Bashagurov said. “We use fresh veggies and fresh shaved steak. I shave mine from a New York strip loin, which is a really good cut of meat.”
Steak bombs are also one of the more popular sandwich options at each of The Common Man Roadside locations, which include two on either side of Interstate 93 in Hooksett, as well as in Plymouth and Manchester. The sub features shaved sirloin steak, American cheese, green peppers, sauteed onions and bacon bits, according to Bill Boynton, director of public relations and community engagement for Granite State Hospitality, which owns each store.
Where the sub came from, as well as how and when the term was coined, is unclear. John Constant of Constantly Pizza in Concord said that the steak bomb, even though it’s closely associated with New England, could have been an offshoot of the Philly cheesesteak sandwich.
“We do them with a seasoning blend that we make here, on a sub roll, a wrap or what’s called a homemade pocket, which is a pita bread that we make in house,” Constant said.
Your steak bomb, your way
If you prefer your subs with an extra kick, some shops, like Ciao’s Pizza in Nashua, offer “atomic” steak bombs, featuring hot pepper relish, banana and jalapeno peppers and hot sauce with the steak and cheese. Danelly’s, according to Smith, also has an option specific to its bombs known as “the works,” with mayonnaise, pickles and “hots,” or hot pepper relish.
But even if you come across a sub shop that doesn’t explicitly mention the term “steak bomb” on its menu, chances are you can still order one. That’s the beauty of being able to customize your sub, said Jeremy Nadeau, proprietor of Nadeau’s Subs, which opened in sixth location on Jan. 20 inside McLaughlin’s Country Market in Concord. Nadeau’s also has a shop in Exeter and four in Manchester, the oldest of which has been in operation since 1969.
“If you were to ask 10 people what a steak bomb is, you may very well get 10 different variations,” Nadeau said, “so instead, we just say ‘steak and cheese’ and we let you build your bomb. … We have people come in and get a steak bomb and it’s different for every person.”
Since every sub at Nadeau’s is custom made to order, there’s no official set standard for steak bombs — you can choose from shaved steak or steak tips, a sub roll, pita pocket or wrap, American, Swiss or provolone cheese, and a variety of condiments, veggies and other add-ons.
In Amherst, Bentley’s Roast Beef is another shop that doesn’t advertise any of its sub options as “steak bombs,” although you will find an option there that is similar and unique.
“We sell a lot of steak and cheese [subs], probably more than 50 a day,” Bentley’s owner Ali Ewiess said. “We actually take our fresh roast beef, shred it and cook it on the grill with green peppers, sauteed onions, melted American cheese, mayonnaise and our homemade barbecue sauce. … We don’t buy frozen steak.”
Where to get a steak bomb
While this is not a complete list of restaurants in the Granite State offering steak bomb subs, here’s a snapshot of some of the places that offer their own unique takes on the classic New England staple, from hotter options like “atomic” steak bombs, to steak bomb pizzas, calzones, omelets and more.
• 7 Star Pizza & Restaurant (235 Main St., Nashua, 889-8810, sevenstarpizzaandrestaurant.com) offers steak bomb subs in two sizes, with mushrooms, onions, peppers, ham, salami and pepperoni. There’s also the “cherry bomb” sub, featuring barbecue sauce and hot cherry pepper relish, and large or small steak bomb pizzas.
• Atkinson House of Pizza and Roast Beef (51 Island Pond Road, No. 2172, Atkinson, 489-1879, atkinsonhouseofpizza.com) offers a steak bomb sub with grilled mushrooms, peppers, onions, cooked salami and melted American cheese. Other steak sandwich options include a steak and egg sub.
• Beefside Restaurant (106 Manchester St., Concord, 228-0208, beefsidenh.com) offers a steak bomb sub on its menu, featuring four ounces of beef with onions, peppers, mushrooms, cheddar cheese and hand-cut salami. Other options include a barbecue beef brisket bomb, served with beer battered fries.
• Bentley’s Roast Beef (134 Route 101A, Amherst, 883-2020, bentleysroastbeef.com) has various steak sub options, including one with char-grilled marinated steak tips.
• Bill Cahill’s Super Subs (8 Kimball Hill Road, Hudson, 882-7710, find them on Facebook @billcahills) is a local shop known for its large-portioned sub options, including the steak bomb but also the Italian bomb, which has salami, hot ham, mortadella and provolone cheese, cooked on the grill with peppers and onions.
• Blue House Roast Beef & Pizza (21 Birch St., Derry, 818-4363, bluehousederry.com) offers various subs on its menu, including a steak bomb but also a larger super steak bomb and an egg bomb.
• Bobola’s Restaurant (9 Simon St., Nashua, 577-1086, bobolasrestaurants.com) offers a steak bomb omelet, featuring shaved steak with peppers, onions, mushrooms and your choice of cheese.
• The Bridge Cafe on Elm (1117 Elm St., Manchester, 647-9991, thebridgecafe.net) offers a steak bomb quesadilla, featuring onions, peppers, mushrooms, marinated grilled steak, salsa, sour cream, black beans and cheese.
• Brookside Pizza (563 Route 106 N, Loudon, 783-4550; 151 Manchester St., Concord, 224-6905; brooksidepizza.com) offers a traditional steak bomb, as well as the Brookside bomb, with sausage, pastrami, steak, onions, peppers, mushrooms, condiments and American cheese.
• Ciao’s Pizza & Subs (495 Amherst St., Nashua, 889-3111, ciaospizza.com) has various “bomb” options under its sub menu, like a traditional steak bomb, and an “atomic” steak bomb with hot relish, jalapeno, banana peppers and hot sauce.
• The Common Man Roadside Market & Deli (1805 S. Willow St., Manchester, 210-2801; 530 W. River Road, Hooksett; 25 Springer Road, Hooksett, 210-5305; 484 Tenney Mountain Highway, Plymouth, 210-5815; thecmanroadside.com) offers a steak bomb with shaved sirloin, American cheese, green peppers, sauteed onions and bacon bits on a sub roll. There’s also a “chicken bomb,” featuring the same ingredients, but with grilled chicken instead of steak.
• Constantly Pizza (39 S. Main St., Concord, 224-9366; 108 Fisherville Road, No. 3, Penacook, 227-1117; constantlypizza.net) offers various “bomb” options on its sub menu, like a traditional steak bomb, a “chicken bomb” and a “pastrami bomb,” which has grilled onions, peppers, mushrooms, Swiss cheese and mustard. The eatery also does a steak bomb pizza with a savory cheese sauce.
• Courthouse Pizza (147 W. Pearl St., Nashua, 882-7200, courthousepizzanashua.com) has a foot-long steak bomb sub, featuring onions, green peppers, bacon, salami, tomatoes and mushrooms.
• Danelly’s Subs and Pizza (87 Allds St., Nashua, 882-6820, danellys.com) offers various types of “bomb” options on its sub menu, including a steak bomb, as well as a ham bomb, which replaces the salami slices with ham.
• Famous Village Pizza (116 Main St., Pembroke, 485-8940, famousvillagepizza.com) offers a traditional steak bomb, as well as a sausage bomb, both of which come in two sizes.
• Giovanni’s Roast Beef & Pizza (14 Broad St., Nashua, 882-5757; 379 S. Willow St., Manchester, 644-5757; 141 Main St., Salem, 894-6003; 207 Rockingham Road, Londonderry, 434-9021; 209 W. River Road, Hooksett, 935-9820; giovannis.biz) has various sub options on its menu, including a steak bomb that comes in two sizes.
• Great American Subs (44 Nashua Road, No. 3, Londonderry, 434-9900, greatamericansubsnh.com) offers various steak subs on its menu, including a 21-inch steak bomb, an Italian steak sub with marinara sauce and provolone cheese, and a Greek steak sub with olives, Greek dressing and feta cheese.
• Hollis House of Pizza (22 Ash St., Hollis, 465-7200, hollispizza.com) offers steak bomb subs with either steak tips or shaved steak, and American, Swiss, cheddar or provolone cheese.
• Hot Stone Pizzeria (174 Eddy Road, Manchester, 518-5020, hotstonepizzeria.com) offers a traditional steak bomb sub, as well as a steak bomb pizza with peppers, onions, mushrooms and cheese.
• Jitto’s Super Steak (3131 Lafayette Road, Portsmouth, 436-9755, jittosrestaurant.com) has various “bomb” options, like steak bombs, “super steak specials,” with extra steak and extra cheese, and chicken bombs. Steak bomb pizzas are also available.
• Joey’s Diner (1 Craftsmen Lane, Amherst, 577-8955, joeysdiner.com) offers a steak tip bomb sub with peppers, onions, mushrooms and American cheese.
• Mikey’s Roast Beef & Pizza (21 Londonderry Turnpike, Hooksett, 623-0005, mikeysroastbeefandpizza.com) offers steak bombs with mushrooms, peppers, onions and American cheese, and your choice of either shaved steak or steak tips. You can make it a chicken bomb by substituting grilled chicken for the steak.
• Nadeau’s Subs (776 Mast Road, Manchester, 623-9315; 100 Cahill Ave., Manchester, 669-7827; 673 Hooksett Road, Manchester, 644-8888; 1095 Hanover St., Manchester, 606-4411; 48 Portsmouth Ave., Exeter, 580-4445; 11 Eastman St., Concord, 715-1474; nadeaussubs.com), while not explicitly stating it has “steak bombs” on its menu, makes all of its subs customizable to order with your choice of veggies, condiments and other add-ons.
• Naji’s Pizza (109 Route 101A, Amherst, 886-5543, najispizza.com) offers various “bomb” options on its sub menu, like a traditional steak bomb, an “atomic” steak bomb with hot relish, jalapenos, banana peppers and hot sauce, and pastrami or roast beef bombs.
• Nashua House of Pizza (40 E. Hollis St., Nashua, 883-6177, nashuahouseofpizza.com) offers a “Texas-style” barbecue steak bomb on its sub menu.
• Pizza 911 (108 Webster St., Manchester, 625-2201; 401 S. Willow St., Manchester, 782-5443; 742 Mast Road, Goffstown, 232-7767; pizza911nh.com) has various steak sub options; the “Bomb Squad” for example, features shaved steak, mushrooms, green peppers, onions, Genoa salami and American cheese, while “The Boyz in Blue” has shaved steak, Buffalo chicken tenders, provolone cheese and blue cheese dressing.
• Pizza Express (245 Maple St., No. 2, Manchester, 647-7885, pizzaexpressmanchester.com) and Pizza Express II (865 Second St., Manchester, 222-1212, pizzaexpress2.com) offer various steak subs with Syrian bread on its menu, including a steak bomb with mushrooms, peppers, onions, cheese, bacon and salami.
• Presto Craft Kitchen (168 Amory St., Manchester, 606-1252, prestocraftkitchen.com) has a steak bomb option on its “stick” sandwich menu, featuring sauteed onions, peppers, mushrooms, salami, American cheese and mayonnaise.
• Professor’s Pizza and Sports Pub (290 Derry Road, Hudson, 883-0100, professorspizza.com) offers steak sandwiches with shaved steak or steak tips. The steak bomb includes American cheese, peppers, onions, mushrooms, salami and pepperoni.
• The Red Arrow Diner (61 Lowell St., Manchester, 626-1118; 137 Rockingham Road, Londonderry, 552-3091; 112 Loudon Road, Concord, 415-0444; 149 Daniel Webster Hwy., Nashua, 204-5088; redarrowdiner.com) offers a steak bomb with shaved steak, or you can make it a chicken bomb by substituting grilled chicken tenders for the steak.
• Rocco’s Pizza Bar and Grill (297 Derry Road, Hudson, 577-9866, roccospizzanh.com) offers steak bombs and chicken bombs featuring teriyaki chicken.
• Romano’s Pizza (27 Colby Road, Litchfield, 424-0500, romanosnh.com) offers various steak sandwiches on its menu, with either shaved steak or marinated steak tips.
• Simon’s Pizza & Roast Beef (2626 Brown Ave., Manchester, 623-2900, simonspizzaandroastbeef.com) offers a traditional steak bomb, as well as a teriyaki steak and cheese sub.
• Sub Station (1292 Hooksett Road, Hooksett, 625-1800, substationhooksett.com) offers its signature sub known as the “Torpedo,” which features custom blended shaved steak, grilled with peppers, onions, mushrooms, cooked salami and melted American or provolone cheese.
• Suppa’s Pizza (5 Lawrence Road, Salem, 328-5460, suppaspizzasalem.com) has various steak sub options, including the eatery’s signature steak bomb, and a “cherry bomb” sub with provolone cheese, barbecue sauce, hot peppers and tomato sauce. Steak bomb pizzas are also available.
• Tessi’s Pizzeria (15 Ermer Road, Salem, 893-2818, tessispizzeria.com) offers a steak bomb calzone with sauteed onions, peppers, mushrooms and salami, in addition to various steak sub options, and even a chicken kabob bomb with lettuce, tomatoes, feta cheese and house dressing.
• TJ’s Deli & Catering (2 Pittsburgh Ave., Nashua, 883-7770, tjsdeliandcatering.com) offers various sub options, including steak bombs, egg bombs and grilled chicken bombs.
• USA Subs (66 Crystal Ave., Derry, 437-1550, usasubs.com) offers various sub options available in three sizes, like a steak bomb with peppers, onions, mushrooms, cooked salami and American or provolone cheese. You can also substitute the meat for mesquite barbecue or teriyaki steak.
• Val’s Pizza and Subs (75 Route 13, Brookline, 672-9600, valspizzaandsubs.com) offers various “bomb” options on its sub menu, like steak bombs, chicken bombs or sausage link bombs.
• Vintage Pizza (241 Candia Road, Manchester, 518-7800, vintagepizzanh.com) offers a traditional steak bomb with grilled onions, peppers, mushrooms and American cheese, or you can make it a chicken bomb by substituting the steak for grilled chicken.
• Wilton House of Pizza (28 Forest Road, Wilton, 654-2020, wiltonhouseofpizza.com) has steak bombs and chicken bombs, both of which are available in two sizes and come with sauteed onions, peppers, mushrooms and cheese.
• Yianni’s Pizza (410 S. River Road, Unit 9, Bedford, 624-5700, yiannispizzanh.com) has various steak sub options, like a steak bomb with grilled onions, mushrooms and peppers, served on an Italian roll.