Northeast Times – For Mayfair Men, It’s Always High Steaks

April 12, 2016

Tony Luke cheesesteaks franchise

Broth­ers Bri­an and Jim Mc­Caf­ferty, for 20 years, drove to South Phil­adelphia for sand­wiches at Tony Luke’s.

“Without ques­tion, they have the best food,” said Bri­an, who favored the cheesesteak and chick­en cut­let.

Even­tu­ally, the Mc­Caf­ferty broth­ers, both gradu­ates of Fath­er Judge High School, de­cided to bring the product closer to home.

“Why shouldn’t the people of North­east Phil­adelphia have the best food?” Bri­an asked him­self.

Last Oc­to­ber, the Mc­Caf­fer­tys opened the first Tony Luke’s fran­chise in the North­east. It’s loc­ated in May­fair at 6716-18 Frank­ford Ave., across the street from Shop­Rite.

Last week, Tony Luke Jr. – CEO of Tony Luke’s World­wide – ap­peared at the sand­wich shop to see how things were go­ing.

“They’re knock­ing it out of the park,” he said. “I’m proud of what they’re do­ing up here. Their eyes are on the ball.”

Tony Luke’s opened in 1992 on Ore­gon Av­en­ue, just east of Front Street, in an area of South Phil­adelphia that was ba­sic­ally a place where truck­ers would park their rigs. Today, people come for sand­wiches, and the shop is wildly pop­u­lar.

The Tony Luke’s on Frank­ford Av­en­ue is not ac­tu­ally the first one in the North­east. Back in the late 1990s, a shop opened at 2998 Welsh Road in Holme Circle, but it was com­pany owned, not a fran­chise. That loc­a­tion is now a Dunkin’ Donuts.

Today, there are 22 Tony Luke’s loc­a­tions. Oth­er loc­a­tions in­clude Cit­izens Bank Park, Lin­coln Fin­an­cial Field, Temple Uni­versity and Phil­adelphia In­ter­na­tion­al Air­port.

Tony Luke’s has got­ten shout-outs from some celebrit­ies. Ra­chael Ray said on her TV show that the Roast Pork Itali­an is her fa­vor­ite item at Tony Luke’s. Mu­si­cian Questlove said Tony Luke’s makes the best cheesesteak in Phil­adelphia.

Tony Luke gives a lot of cred­it to his chief op­er­at­ing of­ficer, John Moser, a Fath­er Judge gradu­ate who works count­less hours a week.

As for in­di­vidu­al fran­chise shops, he said one key to suc­cess is to have an own­er/op­er­at­or.

“They’re a great fam­ily who is work­ing hard,” he said of the Mc­Caf­fer­tys. “Tony Luke’s cre­ated the brand, but the North­east is theirs. This is the North­east Tony Luke’s. You should sup­port your own.”

Tony Luke, 54, said any­one can open a food store, but cus­tom­er ser­vice and at­ten­tion to de­tail are para­mount. He doesn’t want cus­tom­ers to think they are just a dol­lar bill. That’s why cus­tom­ers at his shops are al­ways asked their names when or­der­ing.

The busi­ness­man re­calls, when he was a kid, busi­nesses bend­ing over back­wards to sat­is­fy cus­tom­ers and get or­ders right.

The same holds true today, he said, adding that so­cial me­dia is a big part of mod­ern busi­ness. The loc­al shop pro­motes it­self on the Tony Luke’s May­fair page on Face­book.

The loc­al Tony Luke’s has some loy­al re­peat cus­tom­ers, but the Mc­Caf­fer­tys be­lieve that most folks in the North­east don’t know the shop is open.

They be­lieve that once a cus­tom­er walks in­to the shop, he or she will be back, based largely on the product.

Tony Luke, of course, is proud of his product.

“I’m Itali­an. Everything re­volves around the kit­chen. To Itali­ans, food is love,” he said.

Tony Luke said that any­one who wants their sand­wich made in two minutes should go some­where else. His shops don’t serve fast food. They are, he said, for people will­ing to wait for a good sand­wich.

“Noth­ing is pre-made. That steak doesn’t hit the grill un­til you or­der it,” he said, prom­ising a juicy steak sand­wich cooked at low tem­per­at­ure in sev­en minutes. ••

You can reach Tom Waring at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

The Tony Luke’s ® brand and franchise company are owned and promoted by Anthony Lucidonio, Jr., also known as Tony Luke, Jr. The restaurant location at Front Street and Oregon Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is not affiliated in any way with the Tony Luke’s ® brand or franchise company and is independently owned and operated by Anthony Lucidonio, Sr. and Nicholas Lucidonio. Any and all inquiries related to the restaurant at Front Street and Oregon Avenue should be directed to Anthony Lucidonio, Sr. and/or Nicholas Lucidonio.