How Tony Luke Jr. Built a Philly Cheesesteak Empire

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Aug. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Tony Luke Jr., co-founder of Tony Luke's, explains how he created a Philly cheesesteak empire. He speaks with Pimm Fox on "Taking Stock." (Source: Bloomberg)

Appearing on reality food television programs.

Joining me now to discuss the story behind his business career.

Thanks for being here.

It is great to be here.

What caught you into the food business?

My dad would make roast pork and roast beef for different parties and people would love his stuff.

Why don't you start doing a sandwich shop so my dad had a commissary for lunch trucks and i had a little italian restaurant and he said let's do something as a family.

When people say he build the business from the ground up we literally build the this is from the ground up.

We found this piece of ground in an area where no one wanted to go on no food places -- go on, no food places in the area.

We did the power work and the cement work and we would build and go to work and save some money and build it and it took two years to get it open.

We did the worst thing you could do which is open the doors with zero capital.

We had $1500 and the fat -- cash register and that was it.

I lost my home and my car and i had to -- me and my wife and three children had to move in with my dad is we could not take a salary.

We all worked together and we did as many jobs as we can in the business and we struggled the first year to keep the doors open.

Second year, same thing.

A little bit better but not much.

Ever think of giving up?


giving up is not in my vocabulary.

That was drilled in my head.

You never stop.

In 1995 philadelphia magazine voted as the best pork and cheesesteak and business -- and "gq magazine" voted us best.

And business -- tripled and in 2005 i decided i wanted to really expand.

We have 21 open locations and 15 signed to open and we are in hundreds of supermarkets and the actual sliced ribeye and we have two stores in bahrain.

You did not necessarily want to start in the food business.

You wanted to become an actor.

I started out as a musician and an actor and got into the food business and went reverse.

Started with the food and started doing movies again and some tv stuff and guest spots on different tv food shows and i was lucky enough to be one of the hosts for this year's frankenfood on spike tv.

It is two or more unusual ingredients that come together in a unique way.

Some of the people who come on the show are amazing.

Some of the food is incredible but some is so bad i thank god everyday for the "frankenfood" spitter bucket.

Once a goes in they can be there for two seconds.

If it is that bad right into the bucket it goes.

Some of the best dishes were from people who had no: area experience whatsoever.

-- culinary experience whatsoever.

Who makes the best cheesesteak in philadelphia?

We make the best cheesesteak that we can.

I tell everyone go to everyone and find one that works for you.

Where are all good friends and there is plenty for everyone.

There is a big appetite for

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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