Tony Luke’s is a place that you go for real Philly sandwiches. My review today is about their Philly cheese steak but I have been here many times and have to say that all of their sandwiches have made an impression on me.
Tony Luke’s located at 39 East Oregon Avenue in South Philadelphia, PA is one of the newer of the major sandwich/cheese steak shops in Philly. They opened around 20 years ago (I don’t know the exact date). They are located right under the bridge before you get on the highway in a very high trafficked area of South Philly. Tony Luke’s has made a name for themselves in the short time that they have been open. The following is a sample of the awards that they have won:
Tony Luke's has been featured numerous times in Philadelphia Magazine's
annual "Best of Philly" issue, so much so that it has been inducted into the
"Best of Philly HALL OF FAME."
Roast Pork Sandwich, 2004
Best Sandwich at the Ballpark, 2004
Hamburger Alternative, 1998
Hamburger Alternative, 1997
Roast Pork Sandwich
Voted into Philadelphia Magazine's "Best of Philly Hall of Fame" Best Food,
Roast Pork Sandwich, 1994
Tony Luke's Steak Italian
Named among the Gentleman's Quarterly's "Golden Dishes of 1998"
Tony Luke’s was started by a man nicknamed Tony Luke. The business is now run by his son Tony Luke Junior. The family has been very successful with their sandwich shop and their other businesses. Tony Luke’s has opened up a Beef and Sports Bar right across the street. Tony Luke Junior also has a successful side career as an actor. He has been featured in movies such as Invincible and 10th and Wolf and soon to be the main character in The Nail.
The Luke family continues to compete successfully against many other major sandwich competitors because they offer a good product at a reasonable price. Tony Luke’s menu is one of the best features of their business. They have a large variety of sandwiches that are consistently good in all categories. My favorite sandwich that I recommend is to order the chicken or veal cutlet with broccoli rabe. From my many years eating there and the various sandwiches that I have tried, that one seems to be their most popular and the most satisfying.
But we’re not here to talk about other sandwiches…this is the greatest cheese steak blog ever invented so I have to give my Philly cheese steak review.
Tony Luke’s Philly cheese steak is outstanding. Their cheese steak is slightly underpriced to Geno’s and Pat’s Steaks but a little larger. Weighing in at $7.25 and a few inches longer then the Top Three cheese steak Shops, Tony Luke’s is a major contender.
Tony Luke’s steak uses sliced rib eye steak packed just enough (at least more than the Top Three). However, compared to other local cheese steak places in Philly, it is still not thick enough. Don’t get me wrong, one sandwich should fill you but nothing like the Famous 4th Street Deli.
The bread was an Italian roll but a little hard. The ideal roll should be very soft. Although this Italian roll was hard the inside was not thick, which makes the roll acceptable. The worst cheese steaks are those with very thick Italian rolls. The rolls can be hard but the insides should be gutted to create a thin roll (the steak is thick enough as it is).
The cheese melted nicely between the steak. The onions: I forgot to order onions…sorry. Well, actually the truth is they never asked me. Usually major cheese steak places in Philly always make a big deal about “With or Without.” Again that is only the Top Three and only for tourists. Local Philly cheese steak sandwiches do not make a big deal about asking for onions properly. Tony Luke’s takes on the local mentality as in “who cares.”
I also ordered a side of sweet peppers. I highly recommend them as a nice somewhat healthy side order. They are very tasty and they give you a good amount. A soda, Philly cheese steak, and a side of sweet peppers for under $12. That is a reasonable price for a good healthy greasy Philly meal.
Overall, I am satisfied with Tony Luke’s and have been for years. This is where the locals really eat when they want a popular sandwich. Not many local Philadelphians who have lived here their whole life goes to Pat’s or Geno’s very often. They are too expensive and usually come with at least an hour wait (all that when you can go a few blocks in any direction and find a place that will crush them in a competition.
Although Tony Luke’s rolls are a little harder than normal, their sandwich goes down for the record as one of the best Philly cheese steaks.