One of Us: Frank Olivieri, Cheesesteak Royalty

Frank Olivieri | Illustration by Andy Friedman

My full name is … Frank Enrico Olivieri. My father is Frank Pasquale Olivieri, so technically I’m not Jr., but everybody still calls me Frank Jr.

I grew up in … Packer Park, deep in the south of South Philly.

These days, I live in … a condo on the Delaware, and I have a place on the beach in Margate.

Running a family business is … about as much fun as a bag of angry squirrels.

One thing I miss about the old neighborhood is … that you could call a peach a peach and the peach wouldn’t get offended.

The hardest thing about operating a business in this city is … dealing with people in government who know less than I do.

The best cheesesteak not at Pat’s is … Steve’s Prince of Steaks — the Bustleton location — and the White House in Atlantic City.

My standard order is … an inside-out with Whiz, a little meat and a little raw onion. Inside-out means you scoop the bread out of the roll.

My last fistfight … took place back when people in Philadelphia used to watch Flyers games on PRISM.

The most disgusting thing people put on cheesesteaks is … pepperoni.

I like to collect … Porsche 911s. New and old. It doesn’t matter. And I’m going to build a Factory Five Racing Cobra Roadster. I have it on order.

Mayor Kenney is … no longer on my Christmas card list. The soda tax is more ridiculous than Donald Trump being president.

Those garish Pat’s Steaks ads on SEPTA buses … are the best investment I ever made, but it is expensive as hell.

The furthest I’ve been from Philly has been … Maui. But when I was married and living in Marlton, it was like I was living in Siberia. I’m divorced now. But taken.

My favorite new restaurant in Philly has got to be … the resurrection of Friday Saturday Sunday. Blew my mind. Literally the best roast chicken I’ve ever had in my life.

One thing I really suck at is … dieting. And golf. After a year of lessons, my golf instructor tells me to take up swimming.

If I were going to open another business, it would probably be … a speakeasy-like no-menu restaurant of whatever I felt like making. At the Shore. The food there is pathetic. You go to Steve & Cookie’s and order the lamb chop lollipop appetizer and it comes out with three, and you’re trying to share it. The waiter says, Well, for a small upcharge, you can have another. I say, “Why don’t you just give me two and charge me less?”

If you really want to piss me off … put my ketchup on your Geno’s steak. Oh. My. God. People do it all the time. They walk over and use my condiments.

The last time I gambled … I lost everything that I had won at the Borgata the week before.

My most recent tattoo … is the Masonic symbol, but using knives and forks. It’s on my wrist, and I designed it myself. I am a Freemason of the 32nd Degree, and I’m also a Knight Templar.

People would be surprised to know that I love to listen to … Mozart, Beethoven and Bach.

To people who call my steaks crap … I say to them two words, and they’re not “Happy Birthday.”

Published as “One of Us: Frank Olivieri” in the May 2018 issue of Philadelphia magazine.

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