Sparrow's Philly Cheesesteaks
First impressions count, and Sparrow’s Philly Cheesesteaks makes a dramatic first impression. When you walk into the restaurant in St Kilda, the first thing you see is a giant grill. Although the offerings here include everything from American-style brewed coffee to hockey matches on the TV at night, the grill is the heart and soul of the operation.
Sammy Lynch and Geno Sparrow own The Catfish in Fitzroy, known for its Philly cheesesteaks, and also have a Sparrow’s Philly Cheesesteaks food truck that appears at festivals around Melbourne. The St Kilda spot finally took the Philadelphia favourite south of the river.
In fact, Lynch claims there’s nowhere else in the country does Philly cheesesteaks in the traditional manner. The pair uses imported American cheese and a quality meat for the sandwich, which is based around meat, cheese and onion on a soft hoagie roll. Even die-hard Philly fans have given the thumbs up, he says.
There’s a range of indoor and outdoor seating, but the vibe remains intimate. For the inside space – which only seats around 20 people – there’s a series of custom-upholstered family-style booths. There’s a mural of photographs of Philadelphia taken by Sparrow’s friend and Philly local Robert Fitzgerald. As the final touch, a mounted flat-screen television plays a variety of American sports matches – from hockey to football –in the evenings.