Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Grilladelphia Gas Station Cheese Steak Review

Grilladelphia is an interesting take on a Philly cheese steak and must be reviewed here. They are located at 2330 Aramingo Avenue, Philadelphia, PA inside of the Rock and Roll Exxon gas station (that’s right). A gas station has one of Philly’s secret cheese steak shops! This goes to show you that the real Philly cheese steak shops are out there but need to be discovered.

Grilladelphia was established around 2000 by Barry Appelbaum from Northeast Philly. In 2002, another location was set up at Fasone’s Bar and Grill in the Port Richmond area.

Grilladelphia has its share of popularity. It is considered by many to have the best Philly cheese steak in the Fishtown section of Philadelphia (voted best cheese steak by the Fishtown Star). But the real popularity began in 2002 when Craig LaBan from the Philadelphia Inquirer gave them great reviews.

What is different about Grilladelphia is the way that they make their Philly steak – it is absolutely unique. They use a giant custom made circular roll (it has about a 6 inch diameter), which they take the inside dough out and then pack it with their ingredients. These special rolls are called hot pouches.

I ordered the special: a half pound of steak cheese steak, French fries, and a soda for $8.09 with tax. This is a real deal as you get the whole package for the same price of just a cheese steak at Geno’s or Pat’s Steaks.

I was impressed with the small shop tucked inside of the gas station. There are several small chairs and a stand up counter to eat off. The chef/waitress was very friendly. The only thing that I didn’t really approve of was that she sliced the giant roll in half and then pulled out the inside dough by hand with no gloves on (and her hands looked a little dirty). This is a major issue that I will try to look past but if the owner reads this please make sure that your staff is always wearing a fresh pair of gloves (not the same one used all week either as this is pointless).

Other then the glove issue, this place rocks. The steak was not rib eye but was an extra lean, steam grilled skirt steak, which is the opposite of every major Philly cheese steak place in Philly. This resulted in a healthier approach to eating this sandwich and benefitted my longevity on this planet. The steak was chopped fine and mixed well with the cheese and onions (cooked thoroughly). There was no ooziness like many “wanna a be” Best Philly Cheese Steak members. However, even if there was, the pouch was designed so well that the juice wouldn’t run out.

This sandwich is really a clever idea and somebody ought to help this guy take his sandwich to the next level. If you think about how many varieties of Italian rolls are out there, this is how many varieties of hybrid cheese steaks that could be created. Grilladelphia may be holding on to the key to the future of Philly cheese steaks.

I do want to say that this place does sell pizza slices too for $1. For many of you who don’t know the origin of this blog, I am one of the administrators of Blog Pizza, the famous pizza blog. This pizza really looks gross. There appeared to be too much oil on top with very burnt crust. I would highly recommend that this place focuses on the cheese steaks instead of the pizza. But for a buck, I can see it being a good complement to their customers. I just wouldn’t eat it.

Grilladelphia, keep doing what you are doing and welcome to the Best Philly Cheese Steaks Club!

Grilladelphia on Urbanspoon

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