PHILADELPHIA - December 13, 2013 - (BUSINESS WIRE) - Food Network superstar Guy Fieri knows a good thing when he tastes it. Now, cheesesteak lovers outside of Philadelphia will be able to enjoy cheesesteaks from Wit or Witout Philly Cheesesteaks, which he proclaimed the city's best.
New on the Philly cheesesteak scene, Wit or Witout (you want that "wit onions" or "witout onions?") quickly won acclaim and awards, including Philadelphia Magazine's "Best of Philly." That prompted famed Philadelphia restaurateur Tony Altamore, owner of seven Tony Roni's Italian restaurants, to buy the two-unit chain earlier this year. A few months later Jim Sahene, former TCBY president and current Bruster's Real Ice Cream chief executive, came on board to help Altamore develop and franchise the brand.
Sahene brought in an experienced team of marketing, franchising and operations professionals. Working with Altamore, they expanded the menu, revamped the restaurant's design, developed operating systems and created marketing and franchise strategies.
"When I go into these so-called cheesesteak places in other cities, I always leave saying, 'that wasn't a real cheesesteak – I dunno what the #!X%$#*! that was,'" said Altamore. "It's time the rest of the country finally gets to eat a really freakin' great Philly cheesesteak with some good Philly attitude thrown in."
According to Sahene, the sandwich segment is ripe for a unique player. "There's nothing out there like 'Wit or Witout,' either in food or environment," he said. "The concept will succeed because it offers a truly great product served in a fun, entertaining setting."
Philadelphia created the cheesesteak, but Wit or Witout has evolved it for today's tastes. Sure, the steaks are made with high quality ingredients from the city's best bakers and butchers. But Altamore has added in his own seasonings and sauces, and he's created unique versions like "Sturgers," a one-of-a kind Philly steak burger, and a Chipotle chicken cheesesteak.
Then there's the Philly-speaking staff. Forget "Hi, how are you?" At Wit or Witout you get a "Yo." And a smile. The bright, colorful restaurant is plastered with fun Philly graphics and scenes.
Marketed as "born and raised in Philly," Altamore and Sahene said Wit or Witout is the only authentic Philadelphia cheesesteak franchise. "My passion has always been great food and great Philly attitude, and that will make Wit or Witout successful," Altamore said. According to Sahene, the concept has a low cost of entry and is well suited to a variety of urban and suburban settings.
The first Wit our Witout opened in 2009. A third unit is scheduled to open next month in Hamilton, N.J. Initial franchise territories are in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and New York. Click here for franchise information.
Photos and interviews available.
Brad Ritter Communications