Get your Philly cheesesteak on - in Bahrain
December 9th, 2010
07:15 PM ET
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Nothing says Philly grub more than the cheesesteak. And now they’ll be available in the Middle East – Bahrain to be exact.

The Philly cheesesteak has been around the City of Brotherly Love for some 80 years. Tony Luke’s, the iconic Philadelphia sandwich shop on the city’s South Side, is celebrating its touching down in Riffa with a grand opening on Dec. 12.

More locations are expected to open over the next few months in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The opening in Bahrain is the first of 60 cheesesteak shops planned for the Middle East and North Africa — all indoors, and all halal.

“Who doesn’t like meat, cheese and onions? The combination just goes together so good,” said Tony Luke III while working the grill during a recent lunch rush. “I’m happy that we get to share the cheesesteak around the world.”

Tony Luke’s is the baby on the block, with only 20 years of serving under the belt compared to the decades of Geno’s and Pat’s. Still, the new kids aren’t anything to sneeze at considering the Tony Luke’s family recipe has caught the attention of critics from Gourmet magazine to the New York Times.

“The cheesesteak is as part of Philadelphia as the Liberty Bell,” said Tony Luke, Jr., co-owner, adding that he was approached about the venture after patrons from the Middle East ate at his shop. “I wanted the world to see what it was like to have a cheesesteak, and little by little I’m starting to get there.”

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Filed under: Bite • Cheesesteak • Cuisines • Middle Eastern • Philadelphia • Regional Sandwiches • Sandwiches


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soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. The_Mick

    There are small restaurants in various cities around the Middle East serving "shawarma", where a large piece of beef or lamb is sitting and roasting on a large spindle, which is spun and thinly sliced and placed on bread for you with veggies and condiments. I've had it in Bethlehem, Cairo, and Kusadasi, Turkey. It's just a sauce and cheese or so away from Philly Cheesesteak.

    December 10, 2010 at 10:43 am |
    • Beth

      Sorry, Mick. That is not a cheesesteak. A cheesesteak is make from extremely thinly sliced ribeye steak (not from a larger cut of meat) which is fried (as opposed to roasted), chopped up and served with American or Provolone cheese on a specific type of long, hard roll. What you wind up with has a very different taste from shawarma (which I've had and is delicious, by the way). However, if your point is that middle eastern people would go for a cheesesteak because of this other sandwich, that I can agree with. ... oh, and there's no sauce on a cheesesteak, just ketchup. Occasionally people put marinara sauce on it, but most Philadelphians agree that's just wrong.

      December 15, 2010 at 10:46 am |
      • Um

        I thought traditional cheesesteaks were made with cheese whiz.

        December 15, 2010 at 10:49 am |
  2. James

    Mybe some of those Al Queda clowns will drop in for a bite and they can get a nice Philly welcome with some brass rings or a designer whacking.

    December 10, 2010 at 10:36 am |
    • Dave

      James, as an American currently living and working in Bahrain, I'd like to say thanks for making all Americans (and there are a lot) over here look so good. I'm glad you have taken the time to realize that Bahrain is a very pro-western and pro-American country. Well done. And yes, I am looking forward to something that reminds me of home and Philly.

      December 10, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
      • Maha

        Thanks Dave , I'm a Bahrani Girl and I agree with you . I was studying in the US when I got called a terrorist and a Terrorist Supporter , I don't even look like a terrorist ; or what ever they portray a terrorist to look like , I'm just an ordinary girl who wears jeans and polos to school ( I'm not implying that girls who choose to wear a viel are by any means terrorists ) but once they knew I'm arab ; everything changed , I told them I'm from Bahrain , and when don't have terrorists in Bahrain ; but you guessed it no one knows where Bahrain is in the first place but anyways I dunno why a post about a restaraunt changed into a political debate but I have to put my two cents here :) lastly people who have visited Bahrain know what Bahrain is all about and that's all it matters and ignorance harms the beholder more than anything or anyone else .

        December 13, 2010 at 7:36 am |
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