Pat’s Steaks Owner to (Finally!) Open Second Location

And if this one is a big success, Frank Olivieri is looking to go national.

Pat's Steaks owner Frank Olivieri, who says he's bringing his family's famous cheesesteaks to Penn State

Pat’s Steaks owner Frank Olivieri, who says he’s ready to expand his family’s cheesesteak empire, possibly nationwide. (Photo courtesy Team Kielinski)

UPDATE 9/25: Pat’s Steaks owner Frank Olivieri has decided to pull out of the Penn State expansion deal. Read the full story here.

Last week proved to be a big one in the annals of Philadelphia cheesesteak history, what with the surprise announcement that the OG Jim’s cheesesteak shop in West Philly was reopening as Jim’s West followed by the news that this reopening plan was coming with plenty of drama and legal threats. Well, that’s not all the cheesesteak news these waning days of summer are bringing us. We just learned that Pat’s Steaks owner Frank Olivieri is planning to open his first-ever second location.

Olivieri, a South Philadelphia resident, is the grandson of Harry Olivieri and the grand nephew of Pat Olivieri, the duo who invented Philadelphia’s most famous sandwich back in the 1930s. And now, Olivieri says he’s bringing the family’s cheesesteaks to Penn State.

This won’t be some Pat’s Steaks cheesesteak counter at Beaver Stadium. This Pat’s Steaks at Penn State will be a standalone store. And it’s not a franchise. Olivieri is partnering with Rouge owner Rob Wasserman on the Pat’s Steaks Penn State location. Wasserman is already involved in some restaurant operations at Penn State in the form of his Snap Custom Pizza and Big Dean’s Hot Chicken, the Dean in the name being former Rouge chef Dean Dupis, who is also involved with the Best of Philly-winning Delco Steaks.

And if the Penn State Pat’s Steaks location is a success?

“If it works out well, we plan on opening throughout the country,” says Olivieri. “But not franchises. By opening these the way we are, it allows me to keep an eye on the shops more than I could if they were franchises. Franchises come with all sorts of rules and regulations. And you lose some control.”

This is Olivieri’s first effort to open another Pat’s Steaks. But other family members have made attempts. One relative tried their luck with a Pat’s Steaks in Atlantic City. Didn’t last. Another tried to open a Pat’s Steaks International franchise, which fizzled out. According to Olivieri, his late cousin opened a Pat’s Steaks offshoot on South Street that failed. Then he opened a cheesesteak shop at Reading Terminal Market that is no longer.

The Penn State campus area has no shortage of cheesesteak offerings — included one that just opened last year, co-opting our “It’s a Philly Thing” 2022 Eagles motto as their official slogan (boooo!) — though certainly none with the history or name recognition of Pat’s Steaks. I mean, hell, Pat’s was in Rocky!

For more on the storied past of the official sandwich of Philadelphia, be sure to read our article “The Cheesesteak Cometh: An Oral History of the Cheesesteak.”