About Original Philly
FOUNDED IN ’81...
BACK IN THE DAYS OF CLARKIE, JAWS, DOC & CHARLIE HUSTLE.
Original Philly Cheesesteak Company opened for business in 1981—a half century after the initial discovery of the “steak sandwich.” The city of Philadelphia had carved out a spirited, blue-collar identity, and the area’s proﬁle was up in the midst of its proudest era in pro sports, and the rags-to-riches Rocky saga.
Long associated with the soft pretzel, Philly’s notoriety for the cheesesteak was also on the rise. Tons of steak joints were cropping up—and they all prepared their own meat. There was no other option.
Recognizing the inefﬁciency, pals Nicholas Karamatsoukas and George Kontodemos saw opportunity. The friends started producing and supplying sliced steaks from a converted garage in the city’s Roxborough section. “The Philadelphia Steak Sandwich will someday be as popular and frequently ordered as the hamburger,” Nick boldly predicted early on, “and Original Philly Cheesesteak Company will be one of the reasons why.”
Talk about visionary. Now in our fourth decade, we operate two plants in Northeast Philly totaling well over 120,000 square feet. Between them—with all the quality and safety features you’d expect of USDA-inspected manufacturing facilities, plus innovative features like custom-built blast freezers designed by Nick himself—we craft enough raw and fully-cooked steak each day to make a cheesesteak that would stretch from South Philly to Atlantic City.
That’s a lot of ‘steaks. Definitely makes us a category leader—and maybe the leader.
The popularity of the cheesesteak has continued to expand, not just outside Philly to the rest of the U.S., but around the globe. And our original idea of supplying the booming cheesesteak market with its central ingredient on a broad scale has helped fuel that growth, transforming the food service industry in a massive way.