TNT Diner

New Philly sandwich spot opens with 25 kinds of cheesesteaks and 11 loaded fries

Straight From Philly in downtown Tacoma.
Straight From Philly in downtown Tacoma.

A restaurant specializing in Philly cheesesteaks is hard to come by in these parts.

It doesn’t help that more cheesesteak cafes have closed than opened in the last decade.

Philly Joe’s. DelBrocco’s. Koto N Philly. All gone. Go Philly is the only cheesesteak restaurant to open in the last five years.

So this should be of interest.

The area’s newest cheesesteak destination, Straight From Philly, plans to officially open Tuesday (Nov. 20) in downtown Tacoma.

It’ll open with a menu of 25 kinds of Philly-style cheesesteak sandwiches and a lengthy list of burgers, gyros, loaded fries, fried pickles and hoagie sandwiches.

The restaurant is from Michelle and Scott Parker, who moved to Tacoma this summer. Scott Parker is a Philly native.

Their 24-seat restaurant will be downtown at 1126 Commerce St. That’s the former home of Vostok Dumpling House and next door to Dunagan Brewing, which celebrates its third anniversary this month. Mad Hat Tea is nearby, too.

The order-at-the-counter restaurant will be fast casual.

Cheesesteaks are an East Coast favorite made on sturdy rolls and filled with thinly sliced grilled steak, peppers, onions and cheese. At Straight From Phillly, the usual cheesesteak toppers — peppers (sweet/banana/bell/hot), onions and cheese — will be offered. But there’s also cheesesteaks with pineapple, ham, gravy, bacon, pastrami and capicola.

The sandwiches will be made with a base of thinly cut, grilled steak or grilled chicken. Cheesesteaks will be served on Amoroso’s rolls imported from Philadelphia. Those are specialty rolls with a distinctive chewy texture. Sandwiches come standard with American, but diners can upgrade to provolone or Cheese Whiz.

Cheesesteaks range from a basic $8.45 steak-and-onion sandwich to an extravagant $12.95 loaded version.

They’ll also sell gyro sandwiches ($8.65 to $9.65) and eight burgers that includes a bacon cheeseburger, mushroom-Swiss, bacon-blue and a Greek themed burger ($7.95 to $8.95, with fries). Hoagie sandwiches will be made on Amoroso’s rolls dressed East Coast style ($9.95, with chips).

A popular subcategory probably will be the selection of 11 loaded fries ($4.25 to $6.95). Toppers for those include steak and whiz ($6.95), garlic and Parmesan ($4.95), bacon and cheese ($4.95), steak and gravy ($6.95) and jalapeno, cheese and chili ($5.95). A daily $7.95 special will cater to downtown office workers on the go.

The Parker family’s path to restaurant ownership follows the same for plenty of transplants who miss the food they grew up eating. In Texas, Scott had a tough time finding cheesesteaks, so they opened their own sandwich cafe in 2010. When they moved to Nevada, they opened another.

Those restaurants still are operating in their respective states, but with new owners.

Moving to the Pacific Northwest has been a longtime goal for the family, and finding the space in downtown Tacoma was the prompt they needed to move the family here. They’ll operate the restaurant with two of their four children.

Straight from Philly

Where: 1126 Commerce St., Tacoma

Info: 253-292-1991 or

Opening: Tuesday (Nov. 20)

Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and 2-8 p.m. Saturday to start, but hours might change after opening.

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Sue Kidd has been The News Tribune’s restaurant critic since 2008. She dines anonymously and The News Tribune pays for all meals. Sue is a South Sound native. She writes about new restaurants, openings and closures and knows where to find the best tacos in every neighborhood.