Photo by A Few Fishes
Get Friz Wit’s sandwich at Pizzeria Beddia this Sunday, May 29th, from noon until they’re sold out. Cheesesteaks are $12 (cash only) with complimentary beer tastings by Slyfox.
Whenever out-of-town friends come to visit, I ask them to think of few things they’d like to do while in Philadelphia. Of course, someone always mentions the cheesesteak and I face a dilemma: go along with it, explain the Pat’s/Geno’s rivalry and let them have their pick? Or give them my honest opinion: we’d be better off avoiding the sandwich altogether.
Ari Miller, chef and Philly native, felt similarly about cheesesteaks. “They’re almost an insult to the depth of culinary value that is occurring in Philly right now,” he says, “And for better or worse, we’re stuck together.” Since he doesn’t see our city shaking the sandwich association anytime soon, he thought he’d make a good cheesesteak, like the ones he remembered eating as a kid.
And so began Friz Wit (the name’s a vague nod to frizzled beef): a cheesesteak that catches up with our city’s culinary ambition. The ingredients are quality – which, of course, means local. Miller sources steak from Kensington Quarters and onions from the Fair Food Farmstand. He makes cheese sauce from scratch using Hidden Hills raw Buttercup Gouda and Sly Fox 360 IPA; it’s a tangy, creamy goodness as far from whiz as you can get.
Miller’s sandwich is a true Philly cheesesteak, and it has all the flavor of unprocessed, deftly handled, local ingredients. “It’s still greasy and messy – it’s an actual cheesesteak – you just don’t feel gross afterwards,” Miller laughs, “You feel like you ate real food.”
You can experience Friz Wit at Pizzeria Beddia this Sunday, May 29th, from noon until they’re sold out. Cheesesteaks are $12 (cash only) with complimentary beer tastings by Slyfox.
For now, my demand exceeds supply for these cheesesteaks – they’re hard to come by. Miller takes over the food cart at Garage in South Philly (a Passyunk cheesesteak trivalry!) occasionally, and he posts all Friz Wit-related events here.
There’s a bigger vision for the cheesesteak project, but Miller’s not sure what form it will take just yet. More regular pop-ups? A brick and mortar location? “One of the important things about the sandwich is that it’s not an industrial product,” he says, “So it’s not going to become one.”
For now I’ll continue to follow Friz Wit around the city and eat Miller’s cheesesteak any chance I get.