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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

other states.


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 forever.
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 together. 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...