One Last Look Back At NRA 2017
We don’t make the investment in the NRA Show each year just for fun, but it’s hard not to have a good time. That said, it’s a serious show—the best of the best—and we’re always proud to go and let our products speak for themselves.
Leading up to each event, we’re always excited to imagine the new relationships we’ll make in Chicago. The National Restaurant Association—and its marquee show it calls “The International Foodservice Marketplace”—never disappoints.
As one attendee recently said about the NRA…
“I don’t know how you can be in our business and not want to come here and check out what’s going on. It’s fantastic.”
—Andrew Zimmern, Chef/Owner, AZ Canteen
Well said, Andrew. We concur.
We’d like to thank everyone (literally thousands of ’em!) who took the time to stop by our booth, sample a ‘steak, and talk to our team.
And a second, even louder “THANK YOU!” to our customers and partners—old and new—who we got to catch up with at the show. As you know, Original Philly is a business built around family, and you’re an essential part of our extended clan.
On Friday, June 2nd, a group of our Original Philly “Phaithful” headed to Citizens Bank Park for our 13th annual Phillies outing.
All told, there were 51 of us trekking down to South Philly together—our largest turnout yet. This year’s crew spanned every functional area of the business, from sales, to production, to customer service and quality assurance, plus company owners and execs.
It was the first time that the expanded Original Philly team (Original Philly along with what was formerly known as The Philadelphia Pre-Cooked Steak Company) joined together for a night of camaraderie and unity. The two longtime sister operations officially merged within Original Philly Cheesesteak Co. earlier this year.
In case you didn’t know, Original Philly is the Official Cheesesteak Provider of the Phillies and their home stadium—and we’re extremely proud of that distinction. In fact, Campo’s Philly Cheesesteak at CBP—made exclusively with Original Philly steak—was #2 in USA Today’s “10Best” Ballpark Food list just last month. (We’re biased and can’t imagine anything better, but we won’t complain about second place.)
Of course, we support our hometown teams no matter what. And while our Fightin’ Phils aren’t necessarily contenders this year, true Philadelphia sports fans are anything but fair-weather. Besides, if you can’t have a ball at the ballpark…
Our company was founded back in the heyday of the Vet, with Mssrs. Schmidt, Carlton, and Rose patrolling the diamond. And our great partnership with the Phillies dates back to before Brad Lidge threw the final, historic out of the 2008 World Series (followed a couple days later by Chase Utley’s notorious speech at the culmination of the Championship Parade). We can’t wait to be there when the Phils once again ride down Broad Street in celebration of their next title.
Franchises evolve and rebuild, but fans always come hungry.
As one happy spectator recently declared…
Well played, Mary. We couldn’t agree more.
Come to think of it, not only does it kick-start a vacation, but just about any day or night down at Citizens Bank Park for a Phils’ game is a good time.
This year’s outing (never mind the final score) was no exception!
Let’s go #Phillies!
Have you ever been to the National Restaurant Association Show? As you may know, it’s one of the food industry’s biggest events every year—quite a spectacle, with many of the world’s top food brands on full display.
Original Philly was back in Chicago this year, proudly showing off the authentic Philly beef and chicken cheesesteak products that have been making mouths water around the globe since the early ‘80s.
Each year, we pack up what is essentially a mobile steak shop and gear up for a four-day feast. Our customized booth has a full-service grill, fridge, cutting boards, heat lamps, spatulas, you name it. Plus we ship out all the ingredients straight from the City of Brotherly Love to the Windy City (more on that below).
Technically, it’s work, but it sure doesn’t feel like it. We cooking and serving up hand-held meat-and-cheese masterpieces, and spreading the pure joy of Original Philly cheesesteaks to the thousands (yes, THOUSANDS!) of hungry show-goers.
So, about those ingredients…we’re talking nearly 600 pounds of meat and accompaniments. And that’s before the rolls!
In total, we served up 6,400 cheesesteak samples to friends old and new, many who patiently waited in legit lines for their turn to taste the WOW! (and other products…).
It’s always a blast to see familiar faces and seasoned industry vets cruising the show floor, as well as to meet new friends and potential business partners.
Even Geno, the namesake of one of our hometown’s iconic ‘steak meccas, stopped by for a visit with our gang. (Great to hang, @genossteaks!)
Check out this quick time-lapse video that makes the set-up of our booth look a whole lot easier and faster than it really is:
See you next year at the 2018 NRA. Be sure to come hungry. We’ll be ready for you!
Starting in April and building toward the big DOT and NRA shows before Memorial Day, we’ll be out and about with hordes of current and prospective customers over the next 45 days.
Our team of cheesesteak connoisseurs and craftsmen gets pumped about hitting the road to support partners, connect with colleagues, and talk ‘steaks and app’s with everyone who’ll listen.
If you’re part of the food service community, we’ll make it worth your while to stop by and say hello. After all, we are in the CHEESESTEAK BUSINESS!
From the East Coast to the Midwest, we’ll be proudly pushing samples of the mouth-watering products that have helped make the cheesesteak category one of the fastest growing in the entire industry.
You’ll find us taming long lines of carnivores and enterprising food pros at programs that run the gamut from local expos to the biggest of the big trade shows.
4/24 — Food Pro in Fredrick, MD
5/2 — Feesers in Harrisburg, PA
5/2 — PFG Roma NJ in Springfield, PA
5/3 — Seashore Foods in Wildwood, NJ
5/10-12 — DOT Foods in St. Louis, MO
5/16 — Pocono ProFoods in Mt. Pocono, PA
5/19-23 — NRA in Chicago, IL
Look for our trademark red Original Philly script logo, then make a beeline for some savory bites and hearty conversation about how we can work together to bring more cheesesteak products to the hungry masses!
To those of us in the food business, the National Restaurant Association Show is an institution. Every year, thousands of visitors converge on the Windy City to experience a cornucopia of food and beverage companies, products, education, and entertainment. The 2017 show opens one month from today.
Original Philly attended its first NRA Show in Chicago over 20 years ago, in May of 1996! It’s fun to think back on two decades of great experiences in Chi-town with customers, partners, employees, and friends old and new, plus a few that were especially memorable…
Like the time Andreas Kalisperis, COO of our Pre-Cooked Steak operation, was approached by one of the food service buyers from the Dallas Cowboys. As any real Philadelphian would, Andreas refused to oblige the gentleman’s request for an Original Philly sample. The stalemate was all in good fun, and our frenemy eventually got his taste.
In 2014, our booth’s electrical breakers melted, so we had to scramble to get our power back on the busiest day of the show. Despite losing a few hours of prime cooking time, we eventually resumed serving ‘steaks to the ravenous but reasonably patient show-goers.
Just one year earlier, we introduced our Cheesesteak Appetizers—fortunately with no mechanical issues to speak of. Our Original Philly Sliders and Egg Rolls were huge hits, and they continue to be among our most popular and fastest growing products.
Andreas, evidently no stranger to mildly awkward interpersonal exchanges, had another classic moment when he took an elevator ride with incendiary restauranteur and TV chef Gordon Ramsay. Noticing the logo on Andreas’ shirt, the notorious Hell’s Kitchen star struck up a conversation about Original Philly, but neither his celebrity status nor British accent made much of an impression. When someone asked, “Wasn’t that Gordon Ramsay?” when the elevator emptied, Andreas didn’t flinch, his brief brush with fame up in flames.
Hard for us to believe it has been 17 years since the Pre-Cooked division Andreas runs got its start. We premiered our Fully Cooked product line at the 2000 NRA Show to rave reviews, including many excited distributors and retailers who became loyal Original Philly customers.
No wonder these three wonderful and wacky days in Chicago are clearly among the favorite times of year for the longtime friends who started Original Philly together back in 1981. Somehow, our founders “Mr. Nick” and “Mr. George” always seem to work the grill with more stamina than those half their age. Mr. George takes such pride in setting up the booth that he tells everyone to “Take it easy!” when he senses we’re rushing or feels we’re not paying enough attention to details. One year, Mr. Nick even signed an autograph on the chef’s coat of a culinary student and cheesesteak fanatic.
Suffice to say, Original Philly is fired up for the NRA Show 2017, cookin’ up cheesesteaks and servin’ up organoleptic samples from the City of Brotherly Love. Hopefully the booth set-up won’t take us seven hours, like it did in 2011 when we rented a large display unit that had to be assembled with a single hex key…
See you in Chicago—May 20-23, 2017.
Friday, March 24th, baby! The day our great nation celebrates one of its most delicious contributions to the world. The day we anticipate like it’s a springtime counterpart to Christmas. The day our mouths water like Niagara Falls, waiting to chomp into the delicacy of honor.
Of course you can get into the spirit by rocking your cheesesteak hat, debating the “wit’ or wit’out?” dilemma with friends and colleagues, and/or road tripping to Passyunk Avenue to commemorate the glorious place where it all began.
But the best way to celebrate? Dig into an authentic, freshly prepared, hot and juicy cheesesteak with Original Philly beef or chicken smack dab in the center of the action. Naturally!
Yeah, we’re biased—but we’re hardly the only ones who feel this way. For 36 years, Original Philly has been a respected stamp of authenticity, in our hometown and literally around the globe. Our products epitomize the flavor, feel, and experience that define what a real Philly cheesesteak should be.
Lots of steak shops, pizzerias, and delis around our city, as well as eateries in places like L.A. and Texas (where they know their beef!), join the party by giving away free steak sandwiches, hosting eating contests, and so on.
However you choose to celebrate, just make sure you don’t miss out on the perfect opportunity to satisfy your carnivorous craving.
If you’re the DIY type (or happen to be located somewhere an authentic Philly cheesesteak just isn’t available) and want help with a recipe—classic or creative—stop by the “Prep School” feature on our website for ideas and cooking tips.
And if you need a full rundown on preparing your own celebratory feast, check out our Cheesesteaks 101 section as well as our How to Cook Up a Real Philly Cheesesteak guide to get the skinny from a bona fide cheesesteak expert and devotee.
Happy #NationalCheesesteakDay, friends! Let’s eat!