Hall Pass is now open at downtown Boston’s new food hall, High Street Place, serving what its founders describe as “authentic Philly cheesesteaks.” It comes from the team behind local sandwich shop mini-chain Mike & Patty’s and its siblings Hot Box (North Shore-style roast beef sandwiches and South Shore-style bar pizza) and Flourhouse Bakery (baked goods, including the bread for the group’s various sandwiches).
“What could be better than a nice roll, steak, and melted cheese together to form the best sub one could possibly eat in existence?” says cofounder Ania Zaroda. “There is nostalgia in every bite. I have seen so many people do a happy little food dance when they bite into this sub, me included. We have the best breakfast sandwiches [at Mike & Patty’s], so it’s time to take over the evening arena with cheesesteaks.”
Nostalgia’s also the key for cofounder Mike Gurevich, who says that “even the most average cheesesteak” from the local shop was a treat he looked forward to growing up as a kid on the North Shore.
But Hall Pass’s cheesesteaks aren’t an homage to those classic North Shore pizza and roast beef shops — “let’s call those more like steak and cheeses than cheesesteaks,” says Gurevich. “Always good, especially as a kid, but also usually subpar.” This is meant to be an ode to the iconic Philly cheesesteak, and it’s been four years in the works, with the team diving deep into cheesesteak research to make it happen.
“We spent a lot of time learning about the intricacies of what makes a cheesesteak great, from the meat to the cheese to the roll and all the accoutrements/toppings, add-ons, modifications, and styles,” say Zaroda and Gurevich. “We wanted to do something really special here in Boston that paid tribute to what we believe was the best of the Philly versions.”
A fall 2019 trip to Philly “to geek out on cheesesteaks” yielded the intel that the best spots “used really high quality beef, made their own rolls, and had simple yet interesting menus that paid attention to detail,” they say. “The specific cheeses, add-ons, and other details make all the difference.”
The team decided on beef from Creekstone Farms in Kansas and a house-made white “wiz” instead of the orange “whiz” ubiquitous in the world of cheesesteaks; American cheese and sharp provolone are also acceptable toppings, and both are available here.
Hall Pass’s hoagie rolls — which have been the biggest challenge for the team, say Zaroda and Gurevich — are baked at sibling spot Flourhouse Bakery in Newton. “The roll should be chewy with a light crust but not as crunchy or hard as a baguette or as soft as an Amoroso’s roll, which we believe is too soft for the heaviness of the cheesesteak,” they say.
The menu, to start, has two sandwich options: a “wiz wit,” a classic Philly cheesesteak with griddled onions and Hall Pass’s white “wiz,” or a build-your-own option, where diners can choose among the three cheeses and add-ons like peppers, onions, hots, and cherry peppers.
Also available: fries with several toppings, including bacon cheese fries and ranch fries, and cheesecake egg rolls for dessert. “More surprises to come!” say Zaroda and Gurevich.
Hall Pass is one of around 20 vendors at High Street Place, which opened in March. Visitors can order a combination of food and drinks from any of the vendors and sit anywhere, so one might pair a Hall Pass cheesesteak with Champagne from Bubble Bath; panisse with Calabrian chile aioli, a popular bar snack from Pennypacker’s; and gelato-stuffed cannoli for dessert, from Gorgeous Gelato.
Hall Pass is open from 4 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 4 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Find it inside High Street Place (at the kiosk that houses its sister spot Mike & Patty’s by day) at 100 High Street, downtown Boston.