Australia's obsession with U.S-style food is no secret — obscene burgers, smoky barbecued meat and deep-fried chicken have dominated Sydney menus for years. But there is another item, popularised in the US-state of Philadelphia, that is starting to see a surge in popularity on local shores.
Back in 2012, while living in Philly, home of the cheesesteak, local restaurateur Antonio Tarzia was struck by the community's love for the cheesy roll that first created by Italian immigrants back in the 1930s. Upon returning to Australia, Tarzia wanted to give his hometown another North American late-night food alternative.
"Antonio wanted to bring this to Australia as an Italian-American alternative to a kebab," says Frank's co-owner Carmelina Catanzariti. "And the response has been phenomenal."
The first Frank's store opened in Wetherill Park in July 2017 — right next door to Tarzia and Catanzariti's restaurant Grano and cafe The Factoria. Just ten months later, Frank's went mobile with the addition of the vintage Mercedes bus. The bright red bus, adorned with a pop-culture mural, rolls through the streets of Sydney's city and inner western suburbs each week between Thursdays and Sundays. There are also plans in the works to open a second Sydney storefront and expand to Melbourne by year's end.
Philly cheesesteaks are serious business in the States, and Tarzia and Catanzariti wanted to make sure that everything was done the right way when bringing the concept to Australia. While they use premium Australian rib eye for the steak, a great cheesesteak also relies on its bread and cheese. Frank's imports the original hoagie rolls direct from Philadelphia, while also flying in the infamous Cheez Whiz straight from the USA.
On the menu, the signature sandwich is the mushroom cheesesteak with Cheez Whiz and onion. You'll also find hot dogs and trumped up cheesesteaks such as the Pizza Cheesesteak, which adds mushrooms, peppers and bolognese sauce to the mix. Staying true to the American fast food mantra, you'll also find loaded fries and deep fried Oreos on the menu, too.
Keep an eye on Frank's Facebook and Instagram to find out where the bus is setting up shop next, or visit the permanent shopfront at 1003 Canley Vale Road, Wetherill Park.