It must be a Philly thing. I'm not a native Philadelphian, so I guess I just don't fully appreciate the cheesesteak mystic. The latest Cheesesteak War is not over competitive steakmasters or bigoted vendors, see It's a No-No, Ge-no. Instead, it's over the ouster of the man who's family invented cheesesteaks from his stand at the venerable Reading Terminal Market.
As described in this Inky article, Rick's Steaks owner sues over ouster from market:
The owner of Rick's Steaks, which has lost its lease at Reading Terminal Market, announced yesterday that he was taking his beef with the market's management to court. Rick Olivieri filed for a temporary restraining order aimed at keeping the market's management from forcing Rick's Steaks to leave when his lease expires today, according to his lawyer, Bill Harvey.The Reading Terminal Market merchants are behind Oliveri, As Rick’s faces ouster from Reading Terminal ... Merchants vow support, including:* * * *
The market board decided last month not to renew Olivieri's lease. It said Luke would bring a more prominent face to the market. Olivieri's restaurant has been in the market for 25 years.
"I think this is definitely personal," said Olivieri, who claims the board is evicting him because he vocally opposed new lease terms while he was president of the Reading Terminal Merchants Association. The disputed terms included extended workday hours and required reporting of monthly sales figures.
The Amish merchants in Reading Terminal announced that in protest of the board's decision, the 19th annual Dutch Festival set for Aug. 8 through 11 was canceled.See also, Market forcing out one of its veterans and Cheesesteak clash at Reading Market.
David Esh, owner-operator of the Hatville Deli and a representative of the market's Amish merchants, said in a statement yesterday: "Dutch Fest is a celebration and, quite honestly, we are not in a mood to celebrate."
In addition, 5,000 customers signed a petition in support of Rick's Steaks in recent weeks, according to Olivieri.
Olivieri is a grandson of Pasquale "Pat" Olivieri, who is credited with inventing the Philadelphia cheesesteak with his brother, Harry, about 75 years ago.
For more on the cheese wid controversy, see Foobooz, as well as the discussion at the forum, eG Forums.
Will Bunch of Attytood thinks the whole thing is ridiculously overhyped, which is absolutely true. But we're talking cheesesteaks and Philly -- what do you expect? At least this time, it's not a battle over boycotting of immigrants. See No Cheese Wid for me. However, as Philadelphia Will Do noted:
I think we all know who's to blame: The Pennsylvania Dutch. They're always up to no good!