The Cheese Steak Shop: Authentic Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich, Anyone?

Cheese Steak Shop-19.jpg

Manila’s Philly Cheese Steak scene just got interesting…

The Cheese Steak Shop is the first international franchise of the company known for serving the original Philly Cheese Steak in California. This new shop brings a good mix of options to the already-popular cheese steak offerings of Elbert’s Cheesesteak Sandwiches and Charlie’s Cheese Steak Sandwich.

It would be interesting to see if Manila would prefer the “original”  stateside version over the Filipino version of the Philly Cheese Steak.

I was curious about this newcomer so we tried it…

The ambiance is very American Fast Food. The walls are decorated with photos of various Cheese Steak Shops in the US.

When I saw the  restaurant’s slogan “Caution: May Be Habit Forming!”, a thought bubble popped into my headTalaga ha, masubukan nga…

(click here for a bigger menu: The Cheese Steak Shop Menu)

The Classic Philly Cheese Steak (with Steak or Chicken, using a 7-inch bread) costs P280. A comparable sub at Elbert’s costs only P290, while the one at Charlie’s costs only P220. You have to order the drinks and the sides separately — no combo deals yet.

I love it when menu prices  indicate net prices already (including VAT and service fees).  I hope more restaurants do this. It is just easy to calculate.

Most of the ingredients are imported from the US, among them the steak meat, the white American cheese, and the sweet and chili peppers from Delaware.

The grilled onions and other vegetables are sourced locally. The bread is currently produced here in Manila. The original and famous Hoagie from Amoroso Bakery (which is what they are known for)  is currently being shipped to Manila. They expect it to be here in time for the grand opening a month from now.

I ordered the Classic 7″ Cheese Steak. Sadly, I made some technical missteps in the consumption of this sub:

1. I took pictures of it for far too long. The sandwich cooled down and, somehow, the taste was not there anymore. I believe it is best eaten while it is hot.

2. I requested to have the sweet and chili peppers placed on the side.  I should have asked them to top the cheese steak with the chili peppers along with the onions.

3. The local bread did not do it for me. Part of me is regretting posting this blog at this point in time. I should have tried the restaurant when the Amoroso hoagie is already available. I did not like the bread. It was soft, a bit boring, too thick and not crunchy enough.

My wife ordered the Spinach Cheese Steak while our dazer friend, Tracy, ordered the Deluxe Cheese Steak.

★ SPINACH. Steak Philly Cheese Steak with Spinach and Mushroom (7″ -P320).

I liked the spinach with mushroom version. We regret not including the peppers in the sandwich. I really enjoyed the sweet and spicy peppers on this filling.

★ DELUXE. Steak Philly Cheese Steak with Pizza Sauce and Mushroom (7″ – P320).

I got to taste the Deluxe as well. One thing I liked about it was the pizza sauce! The flavor was just spot-on.

Steak Fries, ★ Garlic Fries, Twister Fries (P99) and Onion Rings (P120)

The owners asked us to try the different sides. I  personally like the garlic fries, which is the same kind of fries available in most American baseball parks.

Side Salad (P150).  

We also love that they serve different kinds of salads. To our surprise, they even have a Vegetarian Cheese Steak on the menu. Good move!

★ The KING of Philly (P699). 10-inch Classic Cheese Steak with over 50% more meat and cheese.

If you want to share, I suggest you order this super-sized 10″ version with more meat and more cheese. Luckily, we were able to take a picture of this from someone who ordered it. 🙂

Classic Philly Cheese Steak  (15″ long – P740)!

The Ultimate Version is this 15″-long Philly Cheese Steak! Order this if you want to share among 3-4 people, but order the King of Philly if you just want more meat and cheese. In my opinion, the 7″ sub is good enough for one person.

We were able to catch Douglas Smith, the US Franchise Operations Manager, in the shop. He has 27 years of experience with the company doing quality supervision. He wants to personally oversee the launch of their  first international franchise.

It was also a pleasure to meet Mai Uy who persistently courted the US company to let her franchise  in Manila. It took her 22 years to do it; read the story here:

Contra Costa Times | Cheese steaks: From Philly to the Philippines

Overall,  I love the steak, the preparation of the chili peppers and the subtle taste of the cheese they use. I don’t like the bread, though (sorry).  I would suggest holding off until the arrival of the  Amoroso hoagies.

It’s great to see Manila getting pampered with original international franchises. I hope there are more entrepreneurs like Mai Uy who would invest in these opportunities.

The Cheese Steak Shop
Original Philadelphia Style Sandwich
G/F The E-Hotel Makati, (near Milky Way)
906 A. Arnaiz St. (Formerly Pasay Road).
Telephone: +632 555-0235
Facebook: Cheese Steak Shop Manila

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Full Disclosure: We paid for our meals and we are not connected in any way with the owners of this establishment.

P.S. Thanks to Lucy for the tip! 🙂 

P.P.S. I do hope, someday, we could see an In-N-Out burger franchise here in Manila. 🙂

35 thoughts on “The Cheese Steak Shop: Authentic Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich, Anyone?

  1. Every business is required by law to include VAT in their pricing. So what are you talking about? You mean there are paces that add VAT in the bill? If so, you can report them to the BIR.
    Just because it’s a US franchise, doesn’t mean it’s original or “authentic”. Just because a local company makes it, doesn’t mean to say it’s a “Filipino version”.
    Anton, just look it up in Wikipedia to learn the roots of the cheesesteak sandwich. please.
    Anyway, thanks for the heads up. I’m interested to try this new place out.

  2. Nooooo!!! Leave IN N’ OUT alone. I’d rather keep IN N’ OUT over here hehehe, (I’m not worried,they do not do franchising yet)

  3. Hi anton, jus wondering if you ever revisit restaurants you reviewed before, especially since you like to review places when they’re newly opened and not yet settled in.
    I also think it’s time you start doing follow-up reviews. All the reciews you refer to a rather old and outdated.
    Perhaps this is a good opportunity to go back to Charlie’s, Malcolm’s, Elbert’s and CBD and compare their cheesesteak offerings to this new one, just so that your readers have a reference.
    Just a suggestion to our Maven Master.

  4. last night, i tried to order a “whiz wit” and all i got was a blank stare. i therefore conclude they are not authentic. lol
    seriously, don’t go out of your way for this one. at least not yet. they are hardly south philly fare. they don’t even have provolone as an option.

  5. Why the need to franchise and pay a franchise fee when some local companies can do it themselves and make it taste as good or even better? Kudos to Charlies, Elberts, Malcoms and even Yellow Cab and Brothers Burgers!

  6. Well…i like this better than charlies and elbert, dont know if it authentic or not but aside from the thick bread, the beef and the white cheese(very subtle) makes this top of my number 1 cheese steak experience.

  7. Thank you Anton ( and to Lucy who invited him ) for dropping by The Cheese Steak Shop Manila on the second day of our soft opening , also for writing this blog about us. We are excited for our ” goodies” ( 7″, 10″, 15″ Amoroso soft italian rolls among others ) to get to Manila for our grand opening. Although we don’t toast our rolls to make them crunchy, you can give the cashier special instruction if you want your rolls toasted or scooped. You can even ask them to have your peppers
    grilled ( same as how Doug likes his peppers! ) . Thanks again and hope to see you after we grand open ~

  8. but what western food is AUTHENTIC in the PI?
    i found hardly anything to be SPOT on.
    you can’t expect souff philly in the pines, nor can you expect the truest pino cuisine in the US. Max’s restaurant being the “best” pino cuisine in Los Angeles is a crime, especially with the huge filipino population in so cal.
    and c’mon, it’s a company from CALIFORNIA. californians always add their own unique twists.

  9. In-N-Out does not franchise, all outlets are family/company owned. I’ve been trying to get one for here.

  10. How does the sandwich compare to that of Chef Bruce Lim’s in his place at Galleria or the NY-styled resto in the Podium?

  11. i dropped by there yesterday to try it out, found the cheese steak to be good, but not better than chuck’s or elberts. Anton is right in that the bread is not particularly good, elberts bread is far better.
    On a side note, they have this promo where the first 30 people who tag them on facebook get a free cheese steak, so i posted a few pics of my baby girl near their counter, along with a comment asking if i qualified for the promo. was surprised to see my comment deleted a few hours later, so i commented again. this time they just ignored me and gave a free cheese steak to the person who posted after me. I feel they could have handled this better by just saying that my pics didn’t qualify

  12. anthony:its just weird that you say that the cheese steaks aren’t good and yet you want to get a free sandwich he he & comparing it with the competition:) I think also its very unprofessional, most especially i hope this is not a “planted” comment from the competitors:) masyadong obvious 🙂

  13. ming, read my comment slowly and carefully, where does it say that their cheese steak isnt any good?? Plus I don’t see anything wrong with my comparing them to their competition, isn’t that why we try eating at different restos? to compare and decide what we like better?
    Anyway my complaint stems from the way they handle their facebbok page, the LEAST they could do is tell me that my pics don’t qualify for their promo. Ignoring and then deleting my post strikes me as childish behavior. Maybe their fb page is run by a kid?
    And rest assured, i’m not in the food industry. I am not a competitor, what i am is a disgruntled customer

  14. Hi Anthony! This is mai from CSSM~ First of all, thanks for dropping by and trying us out. Thank you also for the comment on the bread , comments good or bad help us improve.
    Our facebook account has a glitch, people can’t tag us or if they do, we can’t see them on our page
    so we made further wall posts to ask those who are joining to upload the photos directly to our wall instead.
    Can you try it that way ? Or you can send the photo to and we will upload
    the photo for you.

  15. I am having a hard time understanding how you can say they make an authentic Philly steak when the company on it’s own website says they started in California. FYI: Philly = Philadelphia.

  16. Yes you are right, in the strict sense they are not authentic because they are from California.
    It’s the closest to the authentic one versus anything that we have here in Manila.

  17. Hi Anton, do you really think it’s close to authentic? I’m curious to know if you’ve been able to try the offerings of Pat’s or Geno’s in South Philadelphia because only so can you have basis to say whether a Philly cheesesteak sandwich is authentic or not.
    Truthfully, I have not been to either establishments, and it is for that matter that I refuse to use the word “authentic” to describe my sandwiches. In fact, nowhere in my menu or restaurant will you find the word “Philly”. They’re simply Elbert’s Cheesesteak Sandwiches, my own take on the legendary sandwich.
    I am a bit concerned though by your review wherein you make it seem as if locally born restaurants are far from the “original”, and that an American franchise, solely on the basis of being such, is. I hope we can all shed off this colonial mentality that has plagued our society for far too long. We should be proud of our own, don’t you think?

  18. Hi Elbert,
    Thanks for the comment.
    You are right that we should be proud of our own.
    We both love Elbert’s and Charlie’s because the taste is closer to home.
    Authenticity has a lot of meaning for different people. Will refrain and be more careful with using it in my posts.

  19. i love cheese & potatoes!!!i promise to try this one day coz it looks like so delicious and im craving for this…:)

  20. There is a newly opened food stall at Il Mercanti (Metrowalk) called PhillyMignon Cheesesteaks. I’ve tasted their De Niro Cheesesteaks and it is very yummy. The steak is made of 100% USDA beef topped with melted cheese, mushroom, green bell pepper & sweet onions. They are using this big roll of Italian bread called Ciabbatta Roll. Instead of the usual ketchup, they are serving it with their own very creamy gravy. And best of it all, I only paid P190 for that succulent 8-inch cheesesteak sandwich. Excellent product, for a very reasonable price. Super sarap talaga! Try it yourself! 🙂

  21. There is a newly opened food stall at Il Mercanti (Metrowalk) called PhillyMignon Cheesesteaks. I’ve tasted their De Niro Cheesesteaks and it is very yummy. The steak is made of 100% USDA beef topped with melted cheese, mushroom, green bell pepper & sweet onions. They are using this big roll of Italian bread called Ciabbatta Roll. Instead of the usual ketchup, they are serving it with their own very creamy gravy. And best of it all, I only paid P190 for that succulent 8-inch cheesesteak sandwich. Excellent product, for a very reasonable price. Super sarap talaga! Try it yourself! 🙂

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