Little Philly Cheesesteaks Opening

Little Philly Cheesesteaks Opening cover picture shows the store with white brick and black lettering, and the sky is blue.

Little Philly Cheesesteaks Opening:  Bringing a Taste of Philly to St. Petersburg

Whether you’re a Philly native or just love a good cheesesteak, there’s a new spot in town that’s sure to satisfy your cravings. Philadelphia-born-and-raised chef and restaurant operator Sean Ford, alongside prominent local business owner Renaud Cowez, is bringing the taste of Philly to downtown St. Petersburg.

Little Philly Cheesesteaks Opening:  A Philly Cheesesteak Haven in Grand Central

The partners are planning to open a new Philly cheesesteak restaurant – Little Philly – in the Grand Central District at 2063 Central Avenue, which formerly housed The Job Site Burgers. After the success of their previous ventures, Tryst and Tropez, Ford and Cowez are excited to introduce a casual and authentic Philly-style eatery to the vibrant neighborhood.

“Growing up in Philly, I always felt safe and welcomed in the small sandwich shops,” Ford said. “They knew your name and treated you like family. I want to replicate that kind of feeling here in St. Pete.”

Little Philly Cheesesteaks Opening:  A Neighborhood Gem

Reminiscing about the early days of Tryst, Ford added, “This whole Grand Central neighborhood is buzzing and reminds me of when we opened Tryst on Beach Drive in 2011.” With over a decade of experience in the St. Pete restaurant scene, Ford is confident that Little Philly will become a neighborhood gem, just like their previous establishments.

Little Philly Cheesesteaks Opening:  The Secret to a Perfect Philly Cheesesteak

When asked about the secret behind perfecting the Philly cheesesteak, Ford admits, “It’s all about the bread. It needs to be so light and airy but dense enough to hold the juice and steak.” Additionally, the type of cheese is also integral to a great cheesesteak, and Philly residents are famously split between provolone, American, or Cheez Whiz. Little Philly will offer all cheese options, including Ford’s homemade Cheez Whiz.

Moreover, the menu will cater to various dietary preferences, offering vegetarian cheesesteaks made with mixed mushrooms, marinated chicken cheesesteaks, Italian hoagies, hot dogs, chicken tenders, cheeseburgers, chicken cutlet sandwiches, and tuna and egg salad sandwiches. On weekends, Philly-style Italian pork sandwiches will be available, adding to the authentic experience.

Little Philly Cheesesteaks Opening:  A Taste of Philly’s Sides and Sweets

Complementing the sandwiches, Little Philly will serve sides such as fries, chips, macaroni and potato salads, and Philly-sourced wines, beers, and sodas. For dessert, they plan to serve an authentic house-made “water ice” – Philly’s version of an Italian ice.

Little Philly Cheesesteaks Opening:  Affordable Indulgence for All

As for pricing, Ford emphasized their commitment to making Little Philly accessible to everyone. “We want everyone to visit. This is a very niche business. With many people from Philly living in Tampa Bay, we think that can organically support us,” added Ford. The hoagies and subs will be at the lower price end so families can enjoy the subs without stretching their wallets.

Little Philly Cheesesteaks Opening:  Convenience and Late-Night Cravings

Little Philly will be open every day from 11 a.m. to around 8 p.m., with plans to eventually open for breakfast and stay open later in the evening. Capitalizing on the bike share station in front of the restaurant, they will offer sandwich deliveries to nearby breweries, catering to late-night cravings. “There aren’t that many places open late at night, and we want to just focus on quick takeout,” Ford said. “This will complement the block and give people more options.”

With its authentic Philly flavors, affordable prices, and convenient hours, Little Philly is expected to open in the next few weeks, promising to be a welcomed addition to the Grand Central District.

Little Philly Cheesesteaks Opening:  The Philly Connection

While Little Philly aims to bring the taste of Philadelphia to St. Petersburg, it’s not just about the food – it’s about capturing the essence of the city itself. As a Philly native, Ford has a deep connection to the city’s culture and traditions, which he hopes to infuse into the restaurant’s atmosphere.

“Philly is a city with a rich history and a vibrant personality,” Ford explains. “It’s gritty and hardworking, but also warm and welcoming. We want Little Philly to embody that spirit.”

To achieve this, Ford has carefully curated every aspect of the restaurant, from the decor to the music and even the way the staff interacts with customers. The walls will be adorned with Philadelphia-themed art and memorabilia, while the soundtrack will feature a mix of classic Philly tunes and contemporary hits.

But perhaps most importantly, the staff at Little Philly will be trained to embody the friendly, no-nonsense attitude that Philadelphians are known for. “In Philly, you’re treated like family from the moment you walk in,” Ford says. “We want our customers to feel that same sense of belonging and camaraderie.”

Little Philly Cheesesteaks Opening:  A Community Hub

Beyond just serving up delicious food, Ford and Cowez envision Little Philly as a hub for the local community. They plan to host regular events and gatherings, from trivia nights to watch parties for Philly sports teams.

“We want Little Philly to be more than just a restaurant,” Cowez explains. “We want it to be a place where people can come together, celebrate their shared love of Philly culture, and feel like they’re part of something special.”

To that end, they’re already reaching out to local organizations and groups, exploring partnerships and collaborations that will help strengthen Little Philly’s ties to the community.

Little Philly Cheesesteaks Opening:  A Labor of Love

Additionally,  Ford and Cowez, opening Little Philly is more than just a business venture – it’s a labor of love. Both men have a deep appreciation for the city of Philadelphia and the rich culinary traditions that have emerged from its neighborhoods.

“There’s something special about the way food brings people together in Philly,” Ford says. “It’s not just about the ingredients or the recipes – it’s about the shared experience of gathering around a table and enjoying a meal with friends and family.”

Furthermore, By recreating that experience in St. Petersburg, Ford and Cowez hope to not only satisfy cravings for authentic Philly cheesesteaks, but also to foster a sense of community and connection that transcends borders and boundaries.

“At the end of the day, we want Little Philly to be a place where everyone feels welcome and at home,” Cowez says. “Whether you’re from Philly or St. Pete, we want you to leave feeling like you’ve been part of something special.”

Finally, With their passion, dedication, and commitment to capturing the essence of Philadelphia, Ford and Cowez are poised to make Little Philly a true gem in the heart of St. Petersburg’s vibrant food scene.

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About the Author
Rob Johnson
Realtor, St. Petersburg FL