By Jason DeRusha

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — For nearly 20 years, people lined up in a Roseville strip mall for an incredible roast beef sandwich.

So you can imagine the outcry when Maverick’s Real Roast Beef suddenly closed in January. It especially touched a local man, who came to the rescue and bought the restaurant. This Mid-morning, DeRusha Eats, once again, at Maverick’s.

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Tim Hughes was a lifelong customer at Roseville’s Maverick’s Real Roast Beef.

“We didn’t grow up far from here, went to school up the road,” Hughes said. “I’ve been coming here my whole life.”

In January, the doors were closed, the slicer stopped. The original owners had endured personal and financial struggles, but Hughes jumped in to buy a counter service, strip mall icon.

“It’s an institution,” Hughes said. “It’s been here 19 years, soon to be 20.”

And it does come down to that beautiful beef. Hughes experimented with different cuts.

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“I played with top round, bottom round — eye round is the most tender, it melts in your mouth,” Hughes said. “You can tell right away what it is.”

The beef is seasoned, then slow-roasted for seven hours. Six ounces in that perfect $7 roast beef sandwich. You can get beef and cheddar, too.

“I can easily go through 200 pounds in a day,” Hughes said.

But Hughes and his family have expanded the menu — they’ve added a turkey bacon avocado sandwich — and they’re trying to improve the quality of every other item on the menu, including this fabulous pulled pork.

Hughes left his management job at a high-end restaurant group to sling beef sandwiches and save a spot that’s so important to his hometown.

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“It’s for the community,” Hughes said. “It’s their restaurant.”

Jason DeRusha