SOUTH STREET STEAKS IN COLLEGE PARK
For anyone who's not a Philadelphia native, the copious amounts of Cheez Whiz that South Street Steaks co-owner Jamie Rash slathers onto a Philly-style cheese steak sandwich might be cause for alarm. Ignore your better instincts and order one anyway.
It's a big, delicious, drippy combination -- one 10-inch sandwich required nine napkins -- that fast disappears from the tray. "People from here get leery, kind of scared," cook Trevor Holland said as he gave the pot of warm Cheez Whiz a stir. But customers are catching on to his signature dish, he said. "Power of persuasion, you know?"
Rash, 24, and co-owner Danny Uhr, 25, grew up in Philadelphia, eating cheese steaks in some of that city's legendary sandwich spots, such as Jim's Steaks on South Street. That's where they got the name for their six-month-old College Park restaurant. And it's also one of several spots in Philly that Rash and Uhr took Michelle Rinas to persuade her to become a third partner. "I'd never had a cheese steak before," said Rinas, 24, of Columbia. Soon after the restaurant opened, she was eating two a day.
So what makes a Philly cheese steak sandwich? "It's all in the bread," Rash said. South Street's soft, flaky crusted loaves, from the Philadelphia-based Amoroso Baking Co., are perfect for soaking up the cheese and pan drippings. "Some people say it's the Jersey water. I don't know what it is, but everywhere in Philadelphia you find great bread that you can't find elsewhere," Rash said.
A large griddle beneath a stainless steel hood dominates South Street's small, spare green and white interior. There, Rash and Holland, wielding a wide spatula in each hand, take turns tossing thin slices of fried rib-eye steak, about a half-pound per sandwich. They can be ordered without cheese ($5.59) or with a choice or mixture of American cheese, provolone or Cheez Whiz ($6.19), or with cheese and toppings such as mushrooms and hot peppers ($6.65). They should never be ordered without onions.
-- Matt McMillen
South Street Steaks, 7313B Baltimore Ave., College Park. Open Monday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 a.m.; Saturday, noon to 3 a.m.; Sunday, noon to 10 p.m. Call 301-209-7007; go tohttp:/