Specialty Philly cheesesteak dive opens in mall

The medium Philly cheesesteak features a combination of thin tender steak, grilled onions, green peppers, mushrooms and white American cheese.

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If you find yourself craving a specialty Philly cheesesteak in the Lake Charles area, look no further than Charley’s Philly Steaks.

The Ohio-based restaurant chain opened in May in the Prien Lake Mall food court, and I headed over there last Wednesday to check it out.

My knowledge of cheesesteaks had up to that point been quite limited. I didn’t realize all the possibilities that a sub-style sandwich with a Philly flair could afford.

In addition to the traditional cheesesteak, the menu featured the Pepperoni Steak, Bacon Three Cheese Steak, Barbecue Cheddar Steak, Chicken Philly, Veggie Delight, the Turkey Cheddar Melt and a handful of others.

I went back and forth on my order, but decided to play it safe. I chose a medium classic cheesesteak all the way. It came with steak, grilled onions, green peppers, mushrooms and white American cheese. I tacked on a side of fries and a large lemonade, which brought my total to $15.59.

The fries were thick cut with a satisfying crunch that proved to be an excellent side to the sandwich. 

Devin DronettPage Designer and Photographer
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The signature lemonade added a refreshing contrast to the bold flavors of the sandwich. 

Devin DronettPage Designer and Photographer
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The layout of the kitchen enabled me to watch the sandwich come together, from the time the meat hit the open grill to when the melted cheese brought the disparate meat and veggie parts together into one simmering, delicious mess.

The bread was just the right density: not too fluffy, not too thick. The meat was clearly fresh and high grade; it had none of the extra, fatty fillers of lesser cheesesteaks. The fries were thick cut, and the veggies were proportionate and flavorful.

The only change I’d suggest would be adding more cheese, but all in all it was a first-class sandwich.

I’ve never been to Philly, so I can’t speak to whether Charley’s Philly Steaks is “authentic.” But I can testify that its ingredients are high-quality and its flavors superb.

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