April 14, 2023 | OPINION | By Sam Treat
Located conveniently next to a 7/11, a gas station, a ‘NY Pizza By the Slice,’ and a sit down Mexican restaurant, Taste of Philly is par for the course in terms of locations for quality food in Colorado Springs.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, one must put away their bias against restaurants in strip malls, adjoining gas stations, or next to car repair stores if they truly want to indulge in the food scene here. Having learned that lesson early on in my Springs cuisine quests, I entered Taste of Philly free of judgment and full of hunger.
Taste of Philly’s walls are adorned with photos of the Philadelphia skyline, notable Philly celebrities, and plenty of Philadelphia Phillies, Philadelphia 76ers, and Philadelphia Eagles memorabilia. The decor gave a sense of authenticity to the entire proceeding, only augmented by the plain tables and minimal effort towards cultivating any other vibe than purely the Philadelphia one. The tables, I was glad to see, were relatively full.
I subscribe to the belief that you can tell a lot about the restaurant (and its food) by the people who eat there. Taste of Philly’s visible clientele base seemed to consist of almost entirely grown men eating by themselves, often wearing construction vests or work attire. Almost all of them kept their eyes down, engaged with nothing except their meals. This was heartening to me; it stands to reason that if grown men who worked a full day of construction find satiation in the meaty and cheesy goodness here, then I would too.
As is always the case with someone as selfless and audience-minded as myself, I decided to try more than one sandwich to get a grander scope of quality and flavor. The Pepper Philly, a mixture of onions, bell peppers, American cheese, and of course steak, was my homage to the traditional cheesesteak. Philadelphians read no further, as my next order was the Chicken Philly (an attempt to placate some non-red meat eating “friends”).
All sandwiches are available in the 10” or 12” options, and neither disappoints in quantity. Both of my choices came wrapped tightly in tinfoil and butcher paper, maintaining the submarine shape of the bread and the warmth of the recently cooked meat. Perfectly packed for a to-go meal, the sandwich was still steaming when I unwrapped it at home.
Upon unwrapping, I first inspected the most crucial element of any sandwich – the bread. Firm and browned, the bread did not stumble under the weight of its responsibility. The steak in the sandwich was perfectly cooked, and the onions and peppers were finely chopped, so well mixed in with the meat and melted cheese that each bite became a medley of flavors. The chicken, on the other hand, was a bit lacking. As is this case with most substitutes, the chicken didn’t possess the rich flavor that steak does. Furthermore, chicken with American cheese is simply not as quality of a combination as it is with beef.
That being said, for those avoiding red meat, the Chicken Philly is still a decent option (you can even get a Buffalo Chicken Philly, for those craving heat). The Pepper Philly was phenomenal. The 12” was a massive meal, only added to by the amount of meat that fell out of my sandwich while eating, making a fork necessary to finish it off.
The menu contains a bevy of side choices, but I decided to go with the classic: french fries. At a very affordable price of $4, I got an entire Styrofoam box of French fries. Like the skinnier, peel-less fries of McDonald’s, they were crisped and salty. Unfortunately, no sauce was provided, so make sure you bring your own supply of condiments for fried eating.
Located only minutes from campus, Taste of Philly is a place for hearty, filling sandwiches and a unique, authentic environment. Their online ordering system is free of unexpected charges and is easy to use. The simplicity of the menu is not a negative; it just means that Taste of Philly is dedicated to doing a few things right. They prepare high quality sandwiches and tasty fried sides. Sometimes, that’s all you really need.