The Dish: Hoagie Hut


Welcome back for Season Two of “The Dish” co-produced by senior duo Will Davis and Carter Horan. This multimedia food review segment features an in-depth analysis of North Shore restaurants.

Hoagie Hut was originally a fast food joint in the heart of Highwood, and dozens of high schoolers swore by their cheesesteaks and fries. Unfortunately, this location closed back in 2010. The Waukegan location, though, is now considered a staple “late night spot” by some LFHS graduates, and thus we were interested in trying the sandwiches at Hoagie Hut. While its appearance on the outside may be a bit daunting for some, we found the food and service to be exactly what we were looking for.

Affordability: 7/10

Our total at Hoagie Hut came out to be just above $51. Upon first glance, this would seem like a restaurant definitely on the more expensive side. The truth is, however, that Hoagie Hut’s portion sizes definitely made up for the steep prices. We ordered three 12-inch-long hoagie cheesesteaks–two Philly Style and one Chicago Style. Each was supplemented with a large fry and large drink. The hoagies were massive and easily filled us up. There were definitely cheaper, better value items on the menu but we were very hungry and wanted to give the foot long cheesesteaks a try. The cheesesteaks also came in a six-inch size which was about half of the price of what we ordered. You can’t judge a book by its cover and that is the exact same when it came to the cost of our food at Hoagie Hut. We ordered a lot of food and while that did inflate the price, we still thought that it was more than a fair price for what we received.

Environment: 5/10

On the famous Grand Avenue of Waukegan, IL, the Hut’s location is second to none. Outside, you’ll find a slightly run-down sign posted in front of the small restaurant. It’s clear that the spot hasn’t made many physical changes in the past twenty years, a characteristic that some may love and some may hate. While the environment outside Hoagie Hut was less than ideal, we were pleased to find the family-owned business possessed a great deal of character on the inside. As you enter you’re greeted by a retro Coca-Cola sign that brings you right to the menu. For seating, there’s a couple of small tables, but nothing stands out. The walls look old and the empty Coke fridge shows no signs of life. In addition, a box containing wrapping paper was sitting on top of the counter. The sign read: one roll for 25 cents. While this did seem like a real steal, it’s hard to believe anyone would be interested in purchasing Christmas wrapping paper with a cheesesteak in march. Whatever the case, Hoagie Hut’s environment is certainly nothing special. It’s run-down and incredibly outdated for 2019, but it works for them. To make their atmosphere better, we would’ve liked to see the Hut be more organized and a little bit cleaner on the inside. With just a few changes, we believe the Hoagie Hut can be brought back to its original form.

Food Quality: 7.5/10

Although Hoagie Hut isn’t exactly known for using farm to table ingredients in their subs, the taste and consistency of the food we ordered was exactly what we were looking for. The Philly Cheesesteaks could have definitely benefited from a little extra cheese, but otherwise the meat, mushrooms, and seasoning were prepared perfectly. In addition, we were especially impressed with the bread used at Hoagie Hut. A common problem with subs is excess bread with not enough meat, and while the portion size of the bread used at Hoagie Hut was definitely huge, the bread was soft enough on the inside with a crunchy crust lining the outside so that it didn’t overpower the meat and veggies. This success in bread-to-meat ratio carried over to the Chicago Hoagie as well, although this sub did suffer from too much lettuce and onion. This being said, we had nothing bad to say about the sides we ordered (fries with cheese sauce and onion rings). Overall, Hoagie Hut has definitely perfected their sandwiches and sides, and while we had a few critiques, we were ultimately impressed with the portion size as well as attention to detail at Hoagie Hut.

Service: 8/10

Overall, we were very pleased with the service at Hoagie Hut. Upon entry, we were immediately welcomed by the grinning manager. As the only people at the restaurant, our orders were immediately taken and we were waiting for our food before we knew it. To add on this great experience, the aforementioned manager came by our table to talk college hoops with us while watching the game. It was the manager’s hot takes regarding Duke basketball and friendliness that really made our visit to Hoagie Hut so memorable, and although our food did seem to take just a minute or two too long, having the place to ourselves made the experience just that much better. That being said, at a more crowded time, getting food would take much longer and we wouldn’t have been able to chat with the manager. It is also hard to imagine the small space fitting your typical lunch rush, so we’d be interested to see how Hoagie Hut accommodates a large crowd. Anyways, we had no complaints with the service we received at the Hut, and considering we stayed a little past closing time, the employees could not have been nicer.

Rating: 2.5 Spears (out of 4)