Friday, July 25, 2008

Yo! Joey's II - You bin out there yet?

Rocky Balboa didn't know about Joey's II right here in Phoenixville but he would've fought the traffic on the Schuylkill Expressway to knock down a couple a Frank and Donna Kalatchny's great sandwiches!

My family has many favorites, among them the Death by Cheesteak, and the Philadelphia Eagle wings. I wanted to try a hybrid combination of two of their wet sauces and found the staff to be most accomodating with my request. They were outta this world!

If you haven't given Joey's a try, please check their link to the right on this blog for the menu. They deliver, too!

Yo! When you order, tell them Karen sent you!

Joey's II

The 'Burbs: Joey's II

By: Ken Alan

When it comes to my buddy Bill, here’s all you need to know: The man loves meat and he will travel very great distances to eat it.

Growing up and living his first three decades in the Philadelphia suburbs, Bill had quickly become the quintessential carnivore. He would seek out foods that once had a face - specifically roast beef and especially cheesesteaks.

Through the years we shared together in our teens, as college roommates and later, as hell-raising twenty-something local lads, Bill would continually drive me all around to find the perfect steak sandwich. We’d trek late nights and weekends to Tony Luke’s, to Jim’s Steaks and most everywhere else – from Pat’s and Geno’s in South Philly, to our personal fave (Larry’s “Home of the Belly Filler” near St. Joe’s U.); up toward the northeast and down into Delaware.

So fevered he’s been for a great sammich’ Bill once made me go on a gonzo road trip with him all the way to Halifax, Nova Scotia (no lie), just because he had read about a place serving a steak sandwich that was boasted to be “better than South Philly.” Eighteen-hundred miles later we ate that dreadful Steak-Um on a Kaiser roll imitator. At least they had cold Moosehead on tap to enjoy before that long trip home.

Growing up, there were some tasty places nearby, but being from the ‘burbs, none of them had quite the chew, heft or grilled flavor of the real thing invariably being served ten miles east of us in the big city.

Bill split the Philly scene several years ago but swore he would travel here anytime there was something worth cashing in the airline miles. I didn’t think much about it until I began to hear recent rumblings out of Phoenixville (of all places) about Joey’s II, where the motto is “we’re not asking you to BE a Philly fan…Just EAT like one!” By the ghost of Pat Olivieri (the dude who invented the blessed steak sandwich), they are indeed getting it right at Joey’s.

So right in fact, Bill immediately scheduled a weekender trip to come see me all the way from Nashua, NH. I’ll say this for him: The man’s got his priorities in line.

Owned by Frank and Donna Kalatchny, two friendly locals with great addy-tude, Joey’s tries hard to be the real Philly deal, right down to its authentic Amoroso’s Italian rolls, Frank’s sodas, Dietz & Watson deli meats/cheeses, Tastykakes and Goldenberg Peanut Chews. The place, conveniently situated next to a Rita’s Water Ice stand on Route 23 just outside of town, can get cramped and kind of sweltering inside. There is a smattering of high top tables and the requisite signed photos of local luminaries and sports stars. “Rocky” plays on the corner TV screen while the sound of “Yo!” and “Wit’ or Wit’out” resounds throughout the place. And, on the countertop, a clunky little version of the Liberty Bell rests, there with a hammer to ring (as the sign reads) if you’ve had really good service.

Now, I wouldn’t be writing about a cheesesteak place and Bill would not be jetting down to this area if Joey’s weren’t worth raving about. The steaks served are a beefy six-incher (half) and a gut-busting 12” (whole); order wit’ American, Provolone or Cheez Whiz. The Joey’s secret lies partly in the beef – 100 percent Rib eye steak (thick-cut and not chopped into microscopic flecks like some places do); in that soft Italian torpedo roll, and in the seasoning of that sizzling grill.

Bill ordered a half with American and fried onions while extolling some true c/s wisdom: “I don’t care what they say in South Philly” this gourmand of the grill emoted – “processed liquid cheese food has no business being on something as natural as a steak sandwich.”

Bite, chew, ruminate - repeat, then he’s on to a zesty wild Buffalo chicken steak half, overflowing like a red/white runny mountain of blue cheese-drenched chicken in a tangy wing sauce, fried onions, lettuce, tomato and provolone. Meanwhile, I gamely enjoy succulent roast pork with sharp provolone – better than most – not quite up there with Tony Luke’s.

“Holy Mother of God” Bill solemnly intones to himself. He’s spotted his Holy Grail - scrapple served on a light baguette. Crispy-fried on the outside and buttery within, scrapple to some may be er, an acquired taste; to Bill it is Philly foie gras. What can I say? The dude loves Habbersett scrapple.

Prices are fine at Joey’s: less than a finn for a cheesesteak and $9.99 for the 76er steak, which comes with broccoli rabe, cheese, and long hots.

Next time, we’ll try a Clubber Lang roast beef hoagie, or maybe, either the wet or dry rub “Philadelphia Eagles” wings.

“Not bad” my cheesesteak-inhaling friend proclaims as he orders one more sandwich to go. “Definitely as good as Jim’s Steaks.”

It is and they are at Joey’s II, so good that Bill considers stopping by the original Joey’s one day in the near future. It’s located in Michigan and he has some clients out there anyway.

**Ken Alan is a corporate concierge, the founding member of the Philadelphia Concierge Association and a hospitality writer for several regional publications.


Karen said...

Received via email.

From Anonymous:

You hit the nail on the head with this ad Karen... Love the place !

What a hit and Rita's for dessert !

Ken A does a great job with his ol' newsletter and glad to see you got him on your post.

Keep a prayin' for the HG property!

Anonymous said...

I don't know Karen. I've been there about 6 times for wings and at least 3 of those times I came home to find the wrong sauce. I do like the huge baked potato with the cheesesteak on top.

Karen said...


How could I forget the baked STUFFED potato??

The best, A.C.! A complete meal!

Just call back on your order, I know they will be more than happy to help you.