40 Halifax Street
Petersburg, VA 23803
It is seldom that I venture up Sycamore street in Petersburg to Halifax street but after my meal at A Taste of Philly I think that I may begin to venture up there a little more often. From the outside, well from the inside too, A Taste of Philly looks sketchy and when I say sketchy I mean SKETCHY. With bared windows and a hand painted sign, Amanda would not go the first time I tried to eat here. A few months later I talked my little brother into joining me to try out what I heard were the best cheese steaks in the Tri-Cities.
A Taste of Philly is not really located in the “bad” part of Petersburg but is right in between the nice downtown area and the rundown (the rest) part of Petersburg. The inside of the restaurant matches the outside of the restaurant with a huge hand painted menu and hand painted signs on the walls that assured you that the owners and workers are from Philly and that they did not sell pork. While the signs and menu made the restaurant look dirty it was actually very clean and pretty well kept. Behind the counter there was a young boy manning the grill who looked no older than 15 a young lady at the cash register and about 5 young children running around.
The menu ranged from chicken wings to fried fish and of course Philly Cheese steaks with both chicken or beef. Because it is called A Taste of Philly Alex and I decided to split a beef cheese steak. There were three sizes, Small, Regular and the Belly Buster. We opted for the belly buster with fried onions and mushrooms, mayo and a side of tater tots. It came out to just under $20.00. Alex and I both watched in amazement as the young boy on the grill dumped what looked like a mountain of steak on the grill and began chopping it up and adding the onions, mushrooms and cheese like a true cheese steak artist. The grill looked like grill at the state fair.
It was not too long before we received our 18 inches of deliciousness and our freshly fried tater tots. Not only was the sub 18 inches long it was also choked full of meat, it seemed like there was three pounds of meats stuffed inside of that monster. A lot of times places make things huge and sacrifice taste and freshness. This was not the case this time. The bread seemed fresh and the meat and onions and mushrooms were cooked perfectly with just the right amount of cheese. I was a little disappointed that it was not cheese wiz like at Pat’s or Gino’s in Philadelphia. It came with mayo already on it which made everything very creamy and melded together. I topped mine with ketchup as well. The cheese steak was phenomenal. The tater tots on the other hand while freshly fried and cooked the exact right amount of time tasted faintly of fish. They really did not taste bad but the fishy flavor did not exactly go with the cheese steak.
Overall I would recommend checking out A Taste of Philly, just go before it gets dark because the neighborhood is a little seedy. The food is excellent and freshly prepared and it is always good to help out a family run restaurant that is keeping money and business in the community.