The Cheese Steak Shop...
A brief history
The Cheese Steak Shop began in San Francisco in 1982
on Divisadero St.
The location was decided upon by current owner and CEO
Keith Layton and former partner Jerry Potter in the purely
scientific process of "whoever would have us".
The above method proved worthy for the 2nd store in
Berkeley as well... Well, we're still in the same location in
Berkeley, and only one block down from the original location in San Francisco,
so the scientific method has served us well over the years.
Both of those stores were open in 1982. Subsequent openings from 1983-1996
included Walnut Creek, Concord, Oakland, Pleasanton, Pittsburg, San Jose,
Castro Valley, and Pinole. All stores are in the San Francisco Bay Area in California.
In the Year 2000, Steve Oakes, another native Philadelphia product (Chester, PA)
hooked up with Layton (Coatesville, PA) to talk about how Steve could fit into the
organization. After discussions over many lunches (Oakes never paid), it was
decided that franchising would be the most logical path to build upon the current
foundation of 10 stores.
In 2002, we were finally approved by the State of California Department of
Corporations to sell franchises. The first franchise was sold that year with 3 more
fairly quickly to follow.
Franchised stores are now open and thriving, and more will continue to be added.
At the current time, we are active in Northern California and looking to expand in
How Philly Cheese Steaks
Became A Coast-to-Coast
The Cheese Steak Shop,
“The Real Deal.”
by Kathryn Jones
Not many cheese steak shops outside of
Philadelphia can say they serve an authentic
cheese steak sandwich, but the Cheese Steak
Franchise Corp. of Pleasant Hill, Calif., does.
President Steve Oakes and his partner,
founder Keith Layton, were born and
raised in the Philadelphia area, so they
know a good cheese steak when they
see one. “We get a lot of comments
about the fact that we’re the best in
the West,” Oakes says.
When Layton – a chef by trade – relocated to
San Francisco, he missed cheese steak
sandwiches so much he decided to open his own
restaurant in 1982. The Cheese Steak Shop was
an instant success.
It was nearly 30 years ago...
1981 to be exact. Keith and
Kathy Layton dreamed of
opening an authentic Philly
Cheese Steak Shop in sunny
California. They were certain
West Coast taste buds would
never forget their first
experience savoring a real
Philly cheese steak and would
keep coming back for more.
But the Laytons had a serious
problem. lf that first taste
proved to be anything lessthan
authentic, their opportunity to
conquer the West would be lost
Cheese Steaks: From Philly to the Philippines
By J.M. Brown Correspondent
Posted: 05/11/2011 02:37:27 PM PDT
Updated: 05/12/2011 10:54:07 AM PDT
For 22 years, Margaret "Mai" Uy couldn't get the taste out of her head.
Sizzling steak blended with bubbling provolone. Zesty grilled onions paired with the
sting of hot peppers. The crunch of a hoagie that keeps the hot-and-tangy mix
The Philadelphia-style cheese steak is a combination of flavors that the Saint Mary's
College alumna now wants to bank on. This summer, years after returning to her
native Philippines, Uy plans to open her own cheese steak shop featuring her
favorite sandwich made by the Hercules-based Cheese Steak Shop franchise.
"I tried different cheese steaks available in Manila, and they are really not the same,
" Uy said during a recent return trip to the Bay Area. "A lot of people have advised
me: Why not get a recipe from the Internet and open a cheese steak shop? But it's
not the real thing. It's not the real taste."
Uy, 40, who had her first cheese steak at the company's Walnut Creek store in 1989,
said she expects to open her first shop in Manila in July. She plans to open two other
stores and eventually market the concept to other franchisees.
"We have a slogan in our stores," said Steve Oakes, president of the Cheese Steak
Shop chain. "Caution, may be habit forming.' It was to her."
The company, with 24 stores in Northern California, has annual sales of nearly
$14 million, Oakes said. The company also has stores under construction in
Palo Alto, Elk Grove and Larkspur, and it hopes to open two more in the Bay Area in
addition to the Manila franchise by the end of 2012. READ MORE...