Readers’ Choice: Steak-ing their spot

When we put to­geth­er the 2017 Read­ers’ Choice bal­lot, cheesesteak was not in­cluded among the ori­gin­al 20 cat­egor­ies.

Photo by Maria Young

When we put to­geth­er the 2017 Read­ers’ Choice bal­lot, cheesesteak was not in­cluded among the ori­gin­al 20 cat­egor­ies. We were sav­ing it for next month’s Food Is­sue, but the voters spoke loud and clear in the vot­ing pro­cess, rav­ing about the cheesesteaks from Lorenzo’s Pizza, 900 Chris­ti­an St. Be­ing that this is the Read­ers’ Choice Is­sue,  there is al­ways room for one more. 

“It’s just an hon­or to be re­cog­nized,” own­er Keith Vello said. “There are a lot of pizza and sand­wich shops out there that fo­cus on cheesesteaks. It’s def­in­itely an hon­or that people voted for us.”

Keith’s fath­er, George, pur­chased Lorenzo’s Pizza 39 years ago, and kept build­ing on the already pop­u­lar loc­a­tion. While oth­er cheesesteak joints around town are con­sidered tour­ist des­tin­a­tions, this spot, which sits at the gate­way to South Ninth Street Itali­an Mar­ket, con­tin­ue to leave a last­ing im­pres­sion with cus­tom­ers. Vello noted they sell about three to four dozen cheesesteaks dur­ing week­days and eight dozen on Sat­urdays. 

Be­sides mak­ing sand­wiches, the Lorenzo’s team has a loy­al cus­tom­er base 60 to 70 strong, many of whom they know on a first-name basis. Vello also knows when the mail­man comes in, there is a very good chance he is go­ing to or­der a cheesesteak with fried onions and hot pep­pers on the side. He also noted the cheesesteak with fried onions and sweet pep­pers is a pop­u­lar seller. 

In­stead of be­ing just an­oth­er corner sand­wich and pizza joint, the in­gredi­ents are a big part of what earns Lorenzo’s high praise. Vello said they use high-qual­ity meats, with the rolls from South Jer­sey-based Lis­cio’s Bakery serving as the found­a­tion for the award-win­ning cheesesteak. Amer­ic­an is the go-to cheese, but pro­volone and whiz are also avail­able. All sand­wiches are made as you or­der. 

There are about 20 seats in­side,with ad­di­tion­al seat­ing out­side, al­low­ing cus­tom­ers to en­joy their cheesesteak fresh off the grill. Vello also noted that they have a strong take-out busi­ness. 

John’s Roast Pork staked its claim for second place while Tony Luke’s got a meaty taste of third.


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You can reach at bgelman@southphillyreview.com.