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Heroes American Cafe

Heroes American Cafe, a new fast-casual spot that took Radio Shack's place in Bear Creek Plaza, is equal parts coffee shop, delicatessen and community hangout.

Sub sandwiches are a key draw at Heroes. Each sells for $7.95, and diners can choose from a variety of options, including Philly cheese steak, pulled pork, pastrami and Swiss, and meatball. The restaurant's first step is to brown the sub bun on the grill. For the same $7.95, the carb-conscious can order any sandwich in bowl or wrap form.

The Philly Cheese Steak, one of my favorites, includes steak, onions, peppers, mushrooms and provolone that's grilled just so, then filled out with lettuce, tomato, pepperoncinis, red onion, mayo and mustard. I also like the Black Forest sub, with savory ham and a choice of melted cheeses.

For an extra $2.50, you can add a side of chips and a drink from the Pepsi fountain, which has four "flavor shots" near the ice dispenser, including vanilla and cherry. So far I've picked only my favorite flavor, blue raspberry, allowing me to pretend it's 2002 again and mix myself a caramel-colored Pepsi Blue. 

Heroes also offers a number of Mexican choices, such as tacos, burritos and quesadillas, with meats such as shredded carnitas, barbacoa beef, steak and chicken. Those craving something more Asian can get a teriyaki bowl using chicken or steak and a sauteed combination of veggies.

On my first visit, I tried a burger, but even my appetite wasn't hearty enough for the Caveman Burger ($9.95), which is a half-pound burger patty topped with shredded barbacoa beef, a generous amount of cheddar cheese and bacon. The Classic Burger ($5.95 with cheddar) may be more than plenty.

Surfaces inside are bright and clean, with photographs of firefighters, police officers, and military servicemen and women on the side. 

My sole complaint was a lack of fries, but considering the short waits at the order counter, a bag of chips will do just fine.

A sub sandwich with Black Forest ham, cheddar and provolone cheese, red onion, lettuce and tomato at Heroes American Cafe. Mail Tribune / Nick Morgan