Frankie's Cheesesteaks -- Home of the World's Largest Cheesesteak
On April 2, 2011, a team of people from Frankie’s, Albert Hall of Acacia Real Food & Drink and a large group of friends gathered at The University of Arizona Mall for the sole purpose of breaking the record for the World’s Longest Cheesesteak. We were very excited because The Food Network was going to be filming the whole thing for their “Outrageous Foods” program.
Preparation started long before the actual day of the event. Frog’s Organic Bakery had been making the dough for days and back at the shop we’d been gathering all the other ingredients that go into our famous sandwich.
The Mall was the only place in town that could accommodate the event. Plus, it’s a beautiful spot to show Tucson at its finest.
The temperature was still cool as the sun rose over the Rincon Mountains. But the weatherman had predicted that it would hit 100 degrees later in the day. Folks hoped everything would be over by then. But as is the way with television everything took a little longer and by time the first bread went into the oven, temperatures were near 100 degrees.
Volunteers started by setting up long tables end to end and covering them with white butcher paper. Once cooking got started, the bread would need to be laid out on them in one long continuous piece.
A truck towing the portable oven pulled up. The oven was good-sized and had a built-in conveyor belt.
The dough arrived about the same time. On it were trays stacked with the raw dough.
Soon The Food Network crew arrived and excitement began.
While Frankie and Albert were being interviewed – it took about ten takes – the guys running the oven were working like mad to make sure the loaf moved smoothing through the oven. This meant lifting the oven here, moving tables there, adding pieces, removing pieces. They were mad inventors doing everything in their power to make it work.
And it meant a whole slew of people helping the dough along. Some were at the front end slowing guiding the dough; others were helping the baked bread along at the other end of the oven. It was like a tag team assembly line. We were almost as baked as the bread but were laughing and having a great time.
A whole other team of people – employees from both restaurants, college students, some people who had just strolled by – took over once it was time to build the sandwich. The stacked the loaf with meat, onions, peppers and cheese whiz.
Finally, in the late afternoon we reached our goal, a world-record 426-foot long cheesesteak.
Once the sandwich was officially measured participants dug in. Any leftovers were donated to local shelters.
A good time was had by all.