Like the immortal Dracula, the Downtown street food restaurant Drac’s Cheesesteaks has risen from the dead and continues to serve sinfully tasty food. Carrying on the legacy of a prior cheesesteak restaurant in the same location, and returning after a brief closure during the summer stretch of the pandemic, Drac’s is back!
With only a handful of seats available to maintain proper social-distance, the business is primarily offering pick-up orders. We spoke with owners, Stephanie and James Rangel to find out a little more about their passion for serving food destined to drip onto your clothes.
Q: Can you tell us how Drac’s Cheesesteaks got started when you opened the first time?
A: We used to work for a cheesesteak shop in the same spot about 8 years ago called Kipps Cheesesteaks, and we both worked the majority of the shifts there so people would think that we owned it since we were there so much. At the time when Kipps closed we would see customers that used to frequent the restaurant and they would stop us and ask us why we didn’t open up another cheesesteak shop ourselves.
Opening a restaurant was an idea that had already been swimming around our heads. We thought if we ever had the opportunity to open a place of our own we would do a cheesesteak spot since there isn’t any place here in El Paso where you can find an actual cheesesteak sandwich.
Some years passed and we had an opportunity to get a spot . We were about to give the money for [the location] on Dyer St. when someone else beat us to it. We were devastated to say the least but we decided to cruise around and check out other possible locations. I remember we were in the car and James told me as we went down Mesa St., “Wouldn’t it be cool if Kipps old spot was available?” I scoffed at the thought and said “Never in a million years would that spot be available, it’s such a good location.” So, we turned down Mills St. to check it out and we saw the ‘For Lease,’ sign in the window and called.
Q: Why the Dracula theme? It seems like the perfect time of season for you.
A: James and I have always been big fans of vampires in any form of media from the vampire chronicles of Anne Rice to the 80’s cult favorite, The Lost Boys. So when thinking about names and themes for the restaurant we were stumped. I jokingly mentioned “What if we do something with vampires?” and James got super excited about it and the ball started rolling from there and we decided on “Dracs,” short for “Dracula.” It was a natural progression from that point and everything was fell into place.
Q: Clearly, the business is struggling, like many others in this global pandemic. You only just opened and are now just doing pick-up orders. What have you learned this time around?
A: Previously, we did not know what to do and we had been told that our space was being rented out so we had to leave, but we realized this is going to be the new normal for a while. We really just need to roll with the punches, and do the best that we can. If that means we exclusively have to offer pick-up only, so be it. We are grateful to have another opportunity and hopefully we can pull through these tough times.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your food?
A: A lot of care has gone into every item on the menu, down to the fry seasoning we use and everything that we can make from scratch, we do. Our bread rolls come straight from the Amoroso bread company which is famous for being the roll that the classic cheesesteak is served on. We brine our wings for a minimum of 12 hours with our own special spices. If you order the wings plain they still have some flavor, and our chicken strips are made fresh.
Even if you aren’t in the mood for a cheesesteak we have many other menu items such as our burgers, hotdogs, and our whole menu of specialty fries. We wanted to have a little something for everyone and we promise everything on our menu is great and always goes through a flavor test!
Drac’s Cheesesteaks-203 E. Mills Ave. (915) 300-1119