BY LEA THOMPSON
The cheesesteak—a sandwich made with thinly sliced ribeye steak, cheese and an Amoroso roll—may be synonymous with Philadelphia, but thanks to Robert and McKayla Rose, the husband-and-wife team behind Philly’s Phamous food truck, the sandwich has found a home in San Antonio. Robert, a cousin of Spurs alum Malik Rose, moved to San Antonio in 2003 to help open Malik’s Philly’s Phamous Cheesesteaks, but he stayed on to follow his own dreams. The couple opened their own truck in 2014, and the lines for cheesy, customizable bites and treats have only continued to grow. “It’s been a challenge for Texans to open their minds and appetites to (the cheesesteak) but once they do, they love it.” Robert says. “And the next time they come back, they bring their family.”
What inspired you to open a cheesesteak food truck in San Antonio?
I was born and raised in Philly, but I moved (to San Antonio) to help my cousin Malik start his business. After he was done with the opening, I felt that I (still) needed a great Philly cheesesteak business in my life. I already had experience working in the food truck business, but decided to continue with what I knew: cheesesteaks.
Can you describe your cheesesteak-making process?
This is cattle country so it starts with quality steak, and you gotta put love in it. You can tell the guys (working) on the grill love what they’re doing. We chop, season and cook the steak on the grill, and allow cheese to melt. Then we put the bread on the grill, flip it over, cut it in half and send it out. The bread is imported from South Philly—it’s made by Amoroso’s, and it’s more of a hoagie roll—but everyone jokes that it’s more about what goes into the bread: the water and ingredients from Philly, that make it special. You have to make sure the seasoning ratio is right. Simple is best.
What is your biggest seller at Philly’s Phamous? What flavors do you offer?
We always have the “original” cheesesteak, but we offer any flavor for any palette. We offer a variety of veggies, sauces, meats and cheeses. The most popular item is the “Malik” sandwich, made with extra steak, American cheese, grilled peppers and mushroom, served with mayo, toasted roll, and that’s it.
What can Philly’s Phamous fans look forward?
We are excited to be more available to our customers in 2017 with a consistent location, as well as still traveling (with a second truck) throughout the city. Customers can visit our permanent location at The Rose Bush, (2301 San Pedro Ave.), which includes a food truck patio with both indoor and outdoor seating. We’re also looking forward to opening our own Italian ice shop inside The Rose Bush very soon, to provide San Antonio with one of Philly’s most sought-after sweet treats.
This article appears in the May 2017 issue of San Antonio Magazine