The Birmingham Lunch Club visited Salem’s Diner, located in the heart of downtown Homewood. Known for their famous Philly Cheesesteaks, this restaurant was given a ringing endorsement by comedian Craig Ferguson. This selection was made by Blake.
Greg: I love a good cheesesteak. I have been to Philadelphia and had a delicious one there. However, my favorite cheesesteak of all-time came from T-Bones on Highland. During my years at UAB, that place was a staple along with Fat Sam’s and Al’s. Sadly, it closed a few years ago and the other location isn’t very convenient. SO, I have been on the hunt to find something comparable. Salem’s in Homewood is highly regarded as being top notch when it comes to cheesesteaks, so I was looking forward to this one.
Parking in Homewood was crowded as usual during lunch time, but I secured an underground spot on this hot September day. Blake had secured us a small table for 2 (pour one out for Joey T and Brad H). I got the Philly and fries. Our food was delivered pretty quick, about 10 minutes or so. I’d say with most cheesesteaks, the bread is going to be a make or break factor. This variety was very fresh and had good taste to it. The peppers and onions were cooked perfectly as were the fries. Here was the problem with mine though, no seasoning and the meat was overcooked making the sandwich dry. Don’t get me wrong, it was edible. However, I was expecting more from this one. Based on the good reviews I have heard about Salem’s, I am thinking this may have been a one off occurrence. It may be one of the best options in town and I am willing to give it another try sometime, but this place couldn’t touch T-Bones. Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 Bros
Blake: It was the first real week of the exciting new spinoff, “Blake and Greg Eat Lunch at Places.” It’s kind of like “Joey,” but without Joey. I think this can last longer than one season because Blake and Greg really like to eat.
Here’s the thing about Salem’s: Craig Ferguson who hosts The Late Late Show and was on the Drew Carey show once called Salem’s the “Best Philly Cheese Steak not in Philly.” So I had been curious.
I’m here to tell you, parking is a booger bear in Homewood at lunch. Wowee zowee. I finally found a spot and waited on our old pal Greg to join. He came later.
Service was fast and courteous and the sandwich was really great. They offered me some ranch to dip my fries in, and it may have been home made. I’m not sure. Tasty, though. While Salem’s was invented by a Bama guy, they had lots of Barn hanging on the walls, too, so it was really inviting. It’s a tiny room, and I could hear pretty much every table having some form of the discussion “Craig Ferguson says this is the best Philly…” which probably makes it the most famous thing Craig Ferguson has ever said, because people in Alabama like to hear nice things about themselves.
I got out under $10 and I’d go back. I wouldn’t hit the peak lunch hour, and I don’t think it’s the best Philly in Birmingham, let alone “outside of Philly.” That award goes to T-Bone’s which is now in Center Point and impossible to get to for lunch. But it was very, very good and easily one of the best sandwiches in the Downtown/Homewood/Mountain Brook area that we try to stay for BLC. Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Bros
COMPOSITE BRO RATING= 3.25 Bros