Review: Tony Luke’s {Philadelphia, PA}

by Cate on October 28, 2014

Heading to Philly? A stop at Tony Luke’s for a cheese steak and fries is just the thing you need.

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Who goes to Philadelphia, the “cheese steak capital of the world,” and orders a cheese steak with roast pork and broccoli rabe, instead of the steak, yellow cheese, and caramelized onions legit version that everyone covets?

… meekly raising my hand ….

That would be me.

Partly because I was trying to be virtuous. And a friend raved about it. And the kids aren’t fans of broccoli rabe, so when it’s presented as an option, I’m all …. GIMME.

Which is exactly how I found myself sitting in my car on East Oregon Avenue in Philadelphia, underneath an overpass, parked in front of Tony Luke’s, and delving into a little dashboard dining.

Delicious in the most ridiculous sense.

This was the kick-off to a Girls Weekend in Philadelphia back in August. In that, it was our first stop. Because we pretty much planned to eat our way from one end of the city to the other.

And I think we did.

The restaurant is a blink-and-you-miss-it type place.

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In fact, it was so non-descript, it wasn’t until I was standing in front of a poster inside that I realized it was owned by Tony Luke, Jr., one of the guys on Frankenfood, a show on Spike TV. And then I quickly texted Nick to tell him where I was, because it’s a show we all watch together.

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And then I, of course, bought him a t-shirt because I felt bad he wasn’t there to experience the moment with me.

#momguilt

Opened in 1992, the place is small, with a handful of tables inside and a long counter to order from. There is an adjacent parking lot, as well as on-street parking. They actually didn’t sell cheese steaks when they originally opened, but added them about six months in, based on customer demand. Now they have 22 locations, as far reaching as Bahrain, and even have a few of their menu items available to be shipped frozen straight to your door.

We placed our order, going with the Roast Pork Italian sandwich, and the salt and vinegar fries. There weren’t any available seats inside, so we took everything out to my car and ate on the dashboard. We’re fancy like that.

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One bite into the sandwich, and the juices are squirting down the side of my hands.

Which is pretty much how I like my sandwiches. The messier the better.

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The broccoli rabe was tender, well-flavored, and garlicky, and the provolone was sharp. Just the way it should be. A big, thicky crusty roll holding it all together, it was demolished within minutes.

The fries were just the way I like them. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Sprinkled with salt and flavored with malt vinegar, I only had a few because I was trying to pace myself.

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The service, despite how busy the place was, was quick and efficient, and the menu items are reasonably priced. Our total was $17 for two sandwiches, two drinks, and one order of fries.

Even though we didn’t have the more traditional version of Philly cheese steak, which they certainly have, it was a perfect first stop for our weekend, and definitely worth a visit if you find yourself in the area.

The Original Tony Luke’s
39 East Oregon Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19148
Phone: (215) 551-5725

Hours: MON-THU: 6AM-MIDNIGHT FRI & SAT: 6AM-2AM, SUN: 11AM-8PM

Hungry for more Philadelphia places to visit?
If you like oysters, the Oyster House is a must visit.
The Magic Gardens was a fun, quirky little stop and I can’t wait to take my kids there.
The Philadelphia Zoo is one of our favorite zoos, so much beauty around every corner.
And, of course, the Liberty Bell.

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