Want The Authentic Philly Cheesesteak Experience Without The Three-Hour Flight? Just Head to Desoto.
Dallas is full of foodies. Instagram is telling of that.
But there's an inherent problem with these Instagram foodies: They often only go to the “coolest” places around town — the kind of place where you standing around for hours while waiting for a seat. All of that is fine and dandy, of course. And we're just as guilty of doing that as everyone else.
But there are plenty of other amazing restaurants just a few minutes past the fringe of the city limits. And, at these places, you won't have to stand in a long line. They're the kind of places where the owner wears all hats, serving as the chef, the buyer and the bus boy at once.
One such place that's well worth your time: Desoto Philly Cheesesteak Co.
Located in DeSoto (duh), right off Hampton Road and tucked away in the corner of an industrial shopping strip, it can be kind of a tough place to find. There's no huge sign visible from the street — just a small banner dug into the ground that you could definitely miss if you weren't looking for it.
But, against all street marketing odds, DeSoto Philly Cheesesteak Co. is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.
“I'm not from Philly,” owner Jeff Fortenbury says when asked about the secret to his business' longevity. “But I'm not an idiot. Cheesesteak is to East Coasters as BBQ is to Texans. And, if I'm going to serve this stuff, I better do it right or they'll let me know.”
So, yeah, he does it right. The first couple of years in business, Fortenbury was Desoto Philly Cheesesteak Co.'s sole employee, and he brought in just enough business to cover his expenses. Over the past 10 years, though, he has continuously grown in business. And not once, he says, has he earned less in any given month than he did the month before. More impressive: He's accomplished this much without every advertising his business, without ever building a website for it, and without ever posting an online menu either. Only recently has he added a Facebook page to his business' repertoire. So, for the most part, his business's entire expansion model has been through word-of-mouth marketing. Lucky for Fortenbury, the word on his food had almost always been good. And deservedly so.
“We made it on the quality of our food,” Fortenbury says. “And a little bit of personality.”
His restaurant's menu is simple. All the place offers is cheesesteaks, hoagies and burgers. But it's the little things this guy has done to make it a true Philly experience. Each cheesesteak is made on an Amoroso Baking Co. roll. It's that same roll that the first cheesesteaks were served on in Philadelphia. He ships them in every week. He also serves Hank's soda, Herr's chips and Tastykakes treats — all tried and true East Coast brands.
Best of all? Despite going to the extent that he does to import in all of these original Philly cheesesteak hallmarks, his prices are great and the food is amazing.
The experience is one of a kind, too. Finding a place like this just minutes from down town Dallas is refreshing. So, too, is the fact that these Philly cheesesteaks — probably the closest thing you'll find to the original in all of Texas — are now so readily available here in town.
Who knew that an extra 15-minute drive south of Dallas could equate to the same foodie experience you'd get by hopping on a three-hour flight to Philadelphia?
No one on Instagram, that's for sure. But, hey, you don't stay open for 10 years if you're not doing something right.