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The Philly Cheesesteak Was Invented At This Spot in 1930. Here's Why Fans Can't Stay Away 90 Years Later. Frank E. Olivieri of Pat's King of Steaks discusses the creation of the Philly cheesesteak, how making connections matters in business, and Philadelphia's signature hospitality style.

By Shawn P. Walchef

Key Takeaways

  • There aren’t many times that a family recipe becomes an international staple. However, such is the case for the Philly cheesesteak.
  • Uncle Pat’s King of Steaks proprietor Frank Olivieri continues to proudly serve his uncle's culinary invention to legions of loyal fans who brave rain, sleet, and snow to eat at the legendary food location.
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At the heart of Philadelphia's culinary legacy stands Pat's King of Steaks, a landmark synonymous with the iconic Philly cheesesteak.

Frank Olivieri, the executive chef and owner, traces the origins of this beloved sandwich to a serendipitous moment when his Uncle Pat grew weary of the daily hot dog fare and improvised with ribeye trimmings.

"One day my uncle Pat got so tired of eating hot dogs he said to my grandfather, go down to the butcher and see what trimmings he has from the ribeye and bring it back, and we'll make that sandwich that we always like to make," Olivieri told host Shawn Walchef of Cali BBQ Media. That sandwich, cooked on the same open flat top as the hot dogs, became what we know now as the Philly cheesesteak.

Related: Chef Says This Is the No. 1 Thing That Makes a Restaurant Successful or Not

For Frank Olivieri, building connections and fostering hospitality is a family tradition deeply ingrained in Pat's King of Steaks. Inspired by his uncle's outgoing nature, Frank emulates Pat's approach of rubbing elbows with Philadelphia's elite and Hollywood stars — all while promoting the business. Olivieri explains, "What I did was I found a way to let the business work for me rather than me work for the business."

Philadelphia's legendary hospitality is evident in the enduring legacy of Pat's King of Steaks. Despite the city's infamous weather, loyal patrons brave the elements to savor the iconic cheesesteaks. "Hospitality is somewhere between going to the French Laundry and that hot dog joint in Chicago where the women yell at you all the time," Olivieri laughs.

Related: How The Nourish Spot Is Building a Legacy of Healthy Eating and Community Connection

About Restaurant Influencers

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Shawn P. Walchef

Founder of Cali BBQ Media

“Be the show, not the commercial.”

Cali BBQ Media Founder Shawn Walchef helps brands and leaders leverage the new Business Creator Economy with strategic Smartphone Storytelling and Digital Hospitality.

His Cali BBQ restaurant company has generated more than $35 million since opening in 2008. They operate numerous locations in San Diego and beyond.

Shawn’s weekly video series Restaurant Influencers (published by Entrepreneur Media and produced by Cali BBQ Media) has been seen by over 25 million people.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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