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Interview with John Paul Founder of Liberty Philly Cheesesteak

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Interview with John Paul Founder of Liberty Philly Cheesesteak

Introducing an iconic part of American cuisine to the streets of London, we catch up with founder of the Liberty Cheesesteak company to talk about the future of Liberty Cheesesteak, Philadelphia and what actually makes an authentic Philly Cheesesteak sandwich?

 

TC: What’s your Background?
JP: I Been living in London for 8 years working in corporate. My family is from South Philly, home of the most amazing Italian food. I wanted a genuine Philly cheesesteak and just couldn’t find one, I was upset that Philly food was under represented in London.
London has over 8 million people so I thought to myself let me give it a shot and see what happens.
So we launched the concept in March 2014.

TC: How hard was it to make an authentic Philly Cheesesteak in London?
JP: As simple as a cheesesteak may sound it takes very specific ingredients to get it right.
It was challenging because the ingredients aren’t easily available in London, so we had to create them from scratch in a lot of cases.
We started in a mobile market at first and had lines around the block to our amazement. Over time we then evolved into a truck.

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TC: What are the plans for the future of Liberty Cheesesteak?
JP: In the first quarter of 2017 we plan to open a Philly style Dive Bar concept in Soho.

TC: Sounds interesting, we don’t really use the term ‘Dive Bar’ in London could you elaborate a bit more?
JP: A dive bar is a little, comfortable, un-pretentious kind of tavern where working class, blue collar individuals come together to socialise. Philly does these very well.
So in a nutshell it’s cosy place where you get a shot, a beer, great food and hang out.
A Philadelphian American experience in London with really good food.

TC: I was told by a member of your staff that you say that the Wiz cheese is so good it could be put on a sandal and make it taste great?
JP: (laughs)
TC: Have you tried it on a sandal?
JP: No not yet (both laughs).
Our Wiz cheese is very delicious its made of 2 different types of cheese and 13 flavouring ingredients, we have even had people bring their food from other establishments in Spitalfields Market and ask for some of our Wiz cheese on their burgers, fries and even toast.

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TC: Will there be any additions to the menu?
JP: At the moment its about practicality, the truck is small so we are limited to how diverse our menu can be at the moment, so the main focus is on the cheesesteak and to just make that our staple and get people in the city very familiar with it at first as not to confuse people.
The dive bar will have a full menu but for now we are slowly adding to the menu over time, some things for our costumers are to look out for are:

Chicken Cheesesteak
South Philly Italian Roast Pork
Italian Hoagie Sandwich
South Philly Style Cannoli and a dessert menu is in the works

TC: Most traditional foods or dishes have a custom to them, what’s the best way to eat the iconic Philly Cheesesteak?
JP: The Philly Hunch (both laugh)
TC: What is the Philly Hunch?
JP: Eating whilst seated with a hunch in your back as to not get the delicious contents of your Philly Cheesesteak on your clothes (both laugh)




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