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Cusser’s Roast Beef & Seafood
Photograph: Brian Samuels

Food Envy: Cusser's next-level roast beef sandwich

We’ve been getting our fill of food at Time Out Market Boston, and now we’re dishing on some of our favorite plates

By Olivia Vanni
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Welcome to Food Envy, where we’ll highlight different dishes from Time Out Market Boston that we think you’re going to love—partly because we do. This time around, we’re shining a spotlight on Cusser’s roast beef sandwich, a culinary love letter to the North Shore.

RECOMMENDED: For more food fun, check out our guide to Time Out Market Boston

On the North Shore, summer is synonymous with scarfing down roast beef sandwiches on the beach—and luckily, Cusser’s Roast Beef and Seafood is letting Boston have a bite of the action without ever having to leave the city. In general, this regional, meaty delicacy is really something quite special—but especially when it comes out of Cusser’s kitchen at Time Out Market. 

For a bit of background: This handheld classic first originated in the no-frills “Roast Beef and Seafood” shops that can be seen sprinkled along the North Shore, from Revere Beach all the way up to Plum Island. Here, customers usually pay in cash and take a greasy bag of these babies, as well as a stack of kabob salads and steak bombs, to go. Cusser’s has taken this time-honored, simple pleasure and—no disrespect to our state’s roast beef pioneers—made it downright elegant. 

Picking up one of these hefty sandos, you’ll immediately notice that its griddled onion roll is crammed a couple of inches thick with thinly shaved beef. And this isn’t just any old beef; it’s all-natural wagyu beef, prepared rare, that puts all other cooked cow to shame. These tender slices are then topped with top-notch condiments: either with barbecue sauce, mayo and jack cheese, abiding by the rules of the traditional North Shore three-way; or with cheddar cheese, pickled red onions and Thoreau sauce (basically a fancy way of saying “hot aioli”), as homage to the Concord institution 80 Thoreau. In both cases, the result is a sandwich that hits all of those fatty, tangy, sweet and spicy notes in perfect harmony. 

Take it from a Cape Ann queen: One bite of this sandwich from Cusser’s stall, and your tastebuds will transport you to those post-beach feasts of your youth—only this time, you can afford a car with working AC and know the beauty of wagyu beef. Add an order of crispy fried onion rings for further nostalgia.  

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