If that video doesn’t make you salivate, I don’t know what will. I’d heard about the venerable Tony Luke’s while watching some of my favorite TV shows: Man v. Food and Throwdown with Bobby Flay. I knew that once I moved to Philly, Tony Luke’s would be one of my first destinations for a Philly cheesesteak.
And so, on a beautiful fall Saturday afternoon, my boyfriend and I headed to Tony Luke’s in South Philly, ready to devour some of the best cheesesteaks in town. Even at 2:00 in the afternoon, the line went all the way down the block. But despite the daunting line, not a single customer was deterred; more and more people kept queuing up, lured by the sights and smells of sizzling meat on the grill. I could tell these were pretty die-hard fans.
After about a half hour wait, we eagerly sat down to enjoy our food: a Philly cheesesteak ($7.25), roast pork Italian ($7.95), and a side of fries ($3.00). The cheesesteak definitely lived up to its reputation. The meat was tender and juicy, its flavor accentuated by the gooey, melty provolone cheese (we forewent the wiz–next time!). The bread provided just the right amount of crunch and soaked up the meat drippings well.
Surprisingly, my favorite turned out to be the roast pork Italian ($7.95): slow-roasted pork with pungent broccoli rabe and sharp provolone. The combination of flavors in this sandwich was enough to make me swoon with joy. The pork was perfectly seasoned with tons of black pepper and fresh herbs, while the broccoli rabe and sharp provolone provided a nice bitterness and complexity. Though I meant to save some for later, I couldn’t stop myself from eating the entire thing, right then and there!
After we finished, we got a real treat: the famous Tony Luke Jr. himself made an appearance (pictured right)! He filmed a segment for Comcast Sports, which aired during the Phillies-Giants games. Even during filming, he was gracious and receptive to customers, posing for photos and taking special order requests back to the kitchen. With such a personable leader at the helm, it’s no wonder why Tony Luke’s customer service far surpasses its competitors.
A few more notes on my visit: Tony Luke’s offers only outdoor seating, so make sure to dress warmly if it’s a cold day! And as for transportation, if you don’t have a car, I would just cab over (and make sure to call one in advance for the ride home, too). Buses and cabs were few and far between down there, and I didn’t notice a subway station nearby either. But, as you can tell from this glowing review, Tony Luke’s is worth braving the elements for its signature Philly style sandwiches.
39 East Oregon Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19148
P.S. Happy Halloween, everyone!