we have a good friend who is originally from Philly. She has mentioned that there isn’t really good cheesesteak outside of Philly but has recently unearthed the most authentic one to be found in Orlando at The Cheesesteak Factory (no, not cheeseCake-cheeseSteak). We set a lunch date for Sunday afternoon and headed out. The Cheesesteak Factory is kind of in an old gas station or something-very stripmallish and painted in psychedelic swirls of milky paint. I guess it doesn’t inspire much more than the moniker of dive. In the great style of Orlando it is also something of an attraction-beyond the food and into the entertainment venue.*
Walking in the first thing we noticed were the ‘Rules’ – kind of funny really, if you order wrong or talk on the phone there will be consequences. We figured out we wanted to split a 12″ sandwich with onions, banana peppers and hot sauce with a side of tots and away we went.
Sitting in our booth there were a few other guests – kind of Jersey Shore sort of guys who were a little bit commanding of the energy in the place. We could hear the chef/owner chopping the meat in the kitchen and the food came out fairly quickly. A huge steaming sandwich heaped with meat. It was filled with silky cheese and the meat was really tender. He brings in the rolls fresh from Philly somehow and they are a middle weight bread, not too crusty with nice chew. Overall a really enjoyable lunch despite the strange swagger of the owner and other guests. In general we are used to a somewhat more refined, and I suppose, rarefied, dining experience. This has its place and I can see where the food is totally craveable-cheesy, salty, chewy, savory. It hits the right notes that bring you back even to a place you’ve never been before.
*on a side note – this is the first cheesesteak ever for us