For the past year, David Leonard has had one main goal: to find a Philly cheesesteak that reminded him of home.
“I’d rather do one thing really, really good, than ten things not so good,” Leonard said.
There’s only one thing on the menu at Delco Dave’s: the Philly cheesesteak. Delco Dave’s also serves Birch Beer, a soda made from birch bark, similar to root beer. Birch Beer is a Pennsylvania staple and pairs perfectly with a cheesesteak.
Delco Dave’s Philly cheesesteak is unlike any other options in Lincoln; every ingredient and every detail goes towards creating an authentic Philadelphia experience. Leonard sources his rolls from a bakery called Amoroso’s – one of the oldest bakeries in Philadelphia. Many Philly cheesesteak vendors from Philadelphia use this bakery for their buns. He uses locally sourced beef, specifically ribeye, which he cuts himself. He also uses Cheez Whiz but is looking to expand his options.
“A Philly cheesesteak has one of the ‘Big Three,’” Leonard said, “You got white American, provolone and Cheez Whiz. I plan to have all three.”
Toppings include salted onions, mushrooms and cherry peppers. Not green peppers, cherry peppers – something Leonard is adamant about.
“Everyone out here wants to put green peppers on a cheesesteak like I’m not putting green peppers on a cheesesteak,” Leonard said. “If you want peppers on a cheesesteak, it’s cherry peppers. I’m not anti-pepper, some people say that, like oh ‘he doesn’t put peppers on his cheesesteak,’ I just put the right peppers on there,” Leonard said. “[Green peppers] just taste bad, they ruin everything!”
Delco Dave’s opened the doors of its current location on May 12. Leonard shares his establishment with Jeremy Smith, owner of SoCal Taco Shop. Both businesses operate in the same kitchen. Delco Dave’s is located behind, and connected to Gravity. You can access the storefront either through Gravity or through the alleyway behind Sartor Hamann. Gravity is open Friday and Saturday nights from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Though Delco Dave’s Steaks is hidden at the moment, Leonard has many ideas for signage in the near future, but until then he leans on word of mouth.
“We together are coming up with some signage and collaborations,” Leonard said. “We’re getting a sign that says ‘Hey come get your cheesesteaks and tacos here in the alley.’”
Delco Dave’s Steaks is open Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; on Fridays, Delco Dave’s Steaks always has its doors open by happy hour.