Photo by Maria Young
When we put together the 2017 Readers’ Choice ballot, cheesesteak was not included among the original 20 categories. We were saving it for next month’s Food Issue, but the voters spoke loud and clear in the voting process, raving about the cheesesteaks from Lorenzo’s Pizza, 900 Christian St. Being that this is the Readers’ Choice Issue, there is always room for one more.
“It’s just an honor to be recognized,” owner Keith Vello said. “There are a lot of pizza and sandwich shops out there that focus on cheesesteaks. It’s definitely an honor that people voted for us.”
Keith’s father, George, purchased Lorenzo’s Pizza 39 years ago, and kept building on the already popular location. While other cheesesteak joints around town are considered tourist destinations, this spot, which sits at the gateway to South Ninth Street Italian Market, continue to leave a lasting impression with customers. Vello noted they sell about three to four dozen cheesesteaks during weekdays and eight dozen on Saturdays.
Besides making sandwiches, the Lorenzo’s team has a loyal customer base 60 to 70 strong, many of whom they know on a first-name basis. Vello also knows when the mailman comes in, there is a very good chance he is going to order a cheesesteak with fried onions and hot peppers on the side. He also noted the cheesesteak with fried onions and sweet peppers is a popular seller.
Instead of being just another corner sandwich and pizza joint, the ingredients are a big part of what earns Lorenzo’s high praise. Vello said they use high-quality meats, with the rolls from South Jersey-based Liscio’s Bakery serving as the foundation for the award-winning cheesesteak. American is the go-to cheese, but provolone and whiz are also available. All sandwiches are made as you order.
There are about 20 seats inside,with additional seating outside, allowing customers to enjoy their cheesesteak fresh off the grill. Vello also noted that they have a strong take-out business.
John’s Roast Pork staked its claim for second place while Tony Luke’s got a meaty taste of third.