Magazine article The New Yorker

Tony Luke's

Magazine article The New Yorker

Tony Luke's

Article excerpt

576 Ninth Ave. (212-967-3055)--Funny that, of all the regional cuisines to migrate to New York, the last should be that of South Philadelphia, where the cheesesteak is king--and not just king, but a large and unruly monarch. This is obstinately so at Tony Luke's, near the Port Authority Bus Terminal. The cheesesteaks here are about a foot long, and they are served without the benefit of being cut in half. As a result, as you eat one, the structural integrity starts to go; well-cheesified clumps of steak ooze out the sides. Quick flanking bites along the roll's perimeter don't much help, and soon you find yourself pushing the thing into your mouth like a log into a chipper. In the brief period between the beginning and the end of this process, and in the moments immediately afterward, as you decimate a stack of napkins, you may conclude that there has never been a better sandwich, and you will pine for another. This is where the cheese fries come in.

In Philly, Tony Luke's has several outlets. The one here is a franchise, opened by Evan Stein, a Villanova native who spent two months last year living with Luke himself and apprenticing in the flagship stall, on East Oregon Avenue. …

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