Yelp.com / Danielle R.
Way South Philly serves up the ever-so American treat, Philly cheesesteaks. What makes this trailer's cheesesteaks so delicious?
Many Austin food trailers go out of their way to give the public a type of food they have never tried before. Words like ‘fusion’ and ‘gourmet’ have become common adjectives when describing many of Austin’s most popular trailers.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are many trailers that do not feel the need to invent something new and know that they still have the ability to tantalize taste buds with classic dishes that focus on the basics. In a lot on East 6th Street, there is a little red trailer called Way South Philly that is proudly sticking to the basics and serving up one of the most uniquely American of sandwiches: the Philly cheesesteak.
The Philly cheesesteak is about as American as apple pie and bourbon. Since 1930, when Philadelphia hot dog vendor Pat Olivieri decided to toss some scraps of beef on his grill and caught the nose of a passing cab driver, the Philly cheesesteak has become one of America’s most popular sandwiches. Almost every American restaurant and deli seems to have a Philly cheesesteak in some form or another. The simple combination of steak, peppers, onions, and cheese is enough to satisfy any eater (except maybe vegetarians, sorry!). It may not be the most exciting sandwich ever, but Americans sure as hell love it. In fact, they love it so much that they are willing to feud over the merits of the sandwich. The popularity of the cheesesteak has naturally led to a never-ending debate over what truly makes a traditional Philly cheesesteak. People argue over the type of meat, cheese, rolls, and even the way the peppers are cut!
Way South Philly food trailer owner Willy Pearce proudly serves up what he considers to be a traditional Philly cheesesteak, and at the only trailer in Austin doing it. According to Pearce, the Philly cheesesteak must consist of grilled sirloin steak, caramelized onions and grilled peppers, only seasoned with salt and pepper. The single most important element of the cheesesteak (and what most likely distinguishes Way South Philly from all other Austin cheesesteaks) is the Amoroso roll. Amoroso rolls are famous in Philadelphia and are considered by most to be the official roll of the Philly cheesesteak. In other words, you could eat a million cheesesteaks, but unless they are served up on an Amoroso roll, they will never be a genuine Philly cheesesteak.
Willy Pearce has Amoroso rolls shipped in from Philadelphia every single day. To prepare the roll, he opens it up, covers the inside with a little bit of butter and lightly browns it on the grill. He then spreads Cheez Whiz “coast to coast,” or on both sides of the roll. The cheese covered roll makes a very comfortable bed for the large portion of steak and veggies laid on top.
I found the “Balboa” (the traditional Philly cheesesteak) to be simple and delicious. Normally I don’t dig Cheez Whiz, but after talking to a few Philly transplants at the trailer and biting in to my own cheesesteak, I can say I am definitely a fan of the Whiz.
For those who seek more than just the traditional cheesesteak, Willy offers several other variations that are equally tasty. You can have your choice of cheese, and there are plenty of add-ons to throw in to the mix if you’re so inclined. I tried the "Tommy Gunn", which is a cheesesteak with bacon and pepperoni added, and I had Willy throw some mozzarella cheese in there. The blend of meats was spicy, smoky, and savory. I was literally salivating during every bite. Willy also threw me a curve ball with the "Mickey", which is basically the Balboa served on top of a small mountain of tater tots, and it was sinfully good.
It may not be “gourmet” or “fusion,” but Way South Philly is damn tasty and a great addition to the Austin food scene. If you visit the trailer, you can hang out, drink a beer if you like, play some games, and even take part in Willy’s movie nights.