Lakewood, you’re getting a cheesesteak spot. Here’s everything to know about the menu and more
Lakewood, you’re getting a Philly cheesesteak sandwich shop. Go Philly will open its Lakewood location Tuesday (February 4) at 7421 Custer Road W.
Where to Dine Pierce County members have been buzzing for months about the opening (join the conversation here). Finally, here’s everything you need to know before you go.
Go Philly opened its first location on Tacoma Avenue in 2013 – with a line around the block. Owner Jason Kinlow was shocked by the response. At the time, I wasn’t. I knew every time I wrote about cheesesteaks, the people flocked to whatever new spot was serving the sandwich, If you’ve never had one, it’s a gut bomb of a sandwich made with chopped steak, a tangle of grilled onions and peppers and finished with a swipe of gooey cheese on a roll.
“I’m grateful people embraced what we were doing, but we were overwhelmed,” said Kinlow with a laugh earlier this week as he recalled the crazy opening week in 2013 that had him running low on ingredients and frustrating his customers.
Kinlow ticked off a list of things that still needed to get done before Go Philly Lakewood’s opening day on Tuesday. He learned his lessons in 2013. This opening, he’s keeping things manageable for himself and his staff.
He said he’ll open with the full menu, but will limit the hours of service from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays for the first few weeks. Lunch service, he expects, will be crazy. Expect regular hours to start by early March or a bit sooner (it depends on how busy they are).
Kinlow intends to keep the original Tacoma Avenue location open for now, but he expects to have news about what’s in store for his Tacoma location in the next handful of weeks (stay tuned).
BACK STORY OF ANOTHER PHILLY PLACE
Kinlow’s story is not a story about a Philly native who missed a taste of home, although you can find that story in downtown Tacoma. Just at another cheesesteak stop. Side story: Native Philadelphian Scott Parker and wife Michelle opened Straight From Philly in late 2018 at 1126 Commerce St. and the sandwich shop is basically an homage to Parker’s obsession with getting every detail of a cheesesteak correct, all the way down to the Amoroso rolls, which they import. If you haven’t been to Straight From Philly, you need to go for the 25 kinds of cheesesteaks and 11 kinds of loaded fries on the menu.
BACK TO GO PHILLY
Consider Kinlow’s story a story of a local kid seeing a need waiting to be filled: A city in need of a sloppy cheesesteak and a fast food stop for wings (at the time, there were few like that here). Kinlow was born and raised in Tacoma and is a Lincoln High School graduate. He also happens to be a great friend of Jon Kitna, the legendary local football player. Kinlow is a barber by trade and wound up, though his connection with Kitna, a barber to the Seahawks.
It was through that connection to the Seahawks that he started thinking he needed to bring a taste of Philly to Tacoma. “This story starts back to the first time we made it to the Super Bowl,” said Kinlow. “I flew out to a Monday night football game in Philadelphia. We hung out and ate cheesesteaks all weekend. In my heart, I always wanted a little take-out stop and it just came to me over that weekend. That’s what I want to do. Wings and cheesesteaks.”
He grew up eating cheesesteaks because his grandfather is from West Philly. He took what he learned from summer trips to Philadelphia as a kid and threw in quite a bit of eating research. “Over the next couple of years, I did my own research and started practicing.” He added wings to the menu – his garlic-parmesan wings are a must try – and also added a pastrami sandwich, fried okra, hush puppies and fried catfish.
The format at the new Lakewood spot will be exactly like the tiny Tacoma Avenue location where diners order at the counter and then find their own seat. While the Tacoma Avenue location has 12 seats, the Lakewood location will be four times bigger. Kinlow’s Lakewood store will have 50 seats inside with additional seating on a patio when the weather warms. I hate to break the news to those of you who refuse to get out of your car when you eat and love the Tacoma Avenue’s drive-thru, but there will be no drive-thru window at the Lakewood location. While there isn’t a drive-thru, Kinlow said, “We do have a pick-up window for those that have called in their orders and for Door Dash and Uber Eats drivers. They can come to the window and get their orders.”
The menu will be the same mix of cheesesteak sandwiches with eight variations of steak sandwiches, including an original ($9.95), a supreme ($11.95) and buffalo cheesesteak ($10.50). Sandwiches come with the option of chicken. Cheese choices include American, provolone or Cheez Whiz. There’s also a hot pastrami ($11.95), plus a catfish po’ boy sandwich ($10.50).
Moving onto the wings side of the menu, there are 10 styles of wings in orders of 6, 10 or 20 ($7.50/$12.50/$24.99). There’s also fried cod and chips ($8.99), fried shrimp ($11.99) and catfish ($11.99 to $15.99), which Kinlow said is the sneaker hit on the menu. And, because he loves them, there’s also fried okra ($4.99) and hush puppies ($4.99).
BARGAIN TIP: On the lunch menu is a terrific deal for a first visit – a small cheesesteak sandwich with fries and soda for $8.95, available from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Lakewood location: 7421 Custer Road W., Lakewood; 253-449-3100
Tacoma location: 1402 Tacoma Ave. S., Tacoma; 253-572-3000