Northeast Ohio franchise “The Original Steaks & Hoagies” opened its first Lake County location on May 31, offering genuine cheesesteaks “from Philly to the Land.”
Although a “soft open” took place the evening before, the restaurant opened its doors Friday morning with an offer to give away certificates to the first 50 guests, allowing them a free cheesesteak every month for one year. Some guests arrived as early as 6 a.m., they said.
This new location, at 35400 Vine Street in Eastlake, marks the franchise’s sixth in the Cleveland/Akron area.
“I think Eastlake is looking for something,” said Jeff Wiseman, the franchise owner. “They’ve kind of got a lot of food out here, but not a lot of fresh food… Once we talked about it, bringing something new to this community, that was really what we were looking for — to bring our fresh product to a community that’s kind of been waiting for it.”
All of the ingredients for the cheesesteaks are brought in from Philadelphia, Wiseman said. The way the sandwiches are made also comes from Philadelphia. The restaurant began there before a franchise was started in Ohio.
“(It) is the only real Philly cheesesteak in Northeast Ohio,” Wiseman said. “It’s actually the way that the cheesesteak is made is where the authenticity really comes into play.”
The first restaurant in the area was started in Twinsburg, before being bought by Wiseman and his business partner. Then they began to open new locations.
“(We) wanted to take something that was small and give everybody in the Cleveland/Akron area an opportunity to eat something and see what a real cheesesteak is supposed to be,” Wiseman said
The restaurant also offers salads, wraps and bowls complete with cheesesteak ingredients. The sandwiches are built-to-order.
Wiseman said that everyone being hired for the restaurant will be local.
“We’ll probably hire about 15 people from the Lake County area,” he said. “So that’ll be good for the city as well.”
The restaurant is a piece of Eastlake’s growing Vine Street efforts, as the city seeks to bring more businesses along the street and the Vineyards Plaza.
“Hopefully they’ll do good and stay doing good,” Eastlake Mayor Dennis Morley said about the restaurant.”From my perspective, obviously I’d like to get a few more restaurants in (Vineyards). For mom-and-pop stores, I think that’s kind of hard because of the Walmart. But you never know, you get the right business, anything can happen. And that’s the good thing with this steak and hoagie place. The closest one is all the way out in Twinsburg.”
The Original Steaks & Hoagies also does “dine and donate” fundraisers and the Eastlake location plans to be a part of the chamber of commerce to maintain community involvement.
“We really want to make people understand (that) it’s all about family, mom and pop,” Wiseman said. “Kind of getting away from the everyday chain sandwich place and going to something that’s going to give you fresh ingredients, and with that, that custom feeling. We walk the food out to your table, we ask you how your food is. That’s kind of the way we do business.”