A Philly is the Atlanta-based fast-food chain's name for its copy of our cheesesteak. In a written statement, Arby's senior vice president of advertising and marketing Bob Kraut called Philly "a simple but meaningful name . . . that would resonate with our customers."
But not only does Philly not sound like a cheesesteak, it doesn't taste like one. First, it's made with roast beef, not steak, topped with peppers, onions, Swiss cheese and garlic mayo on an Amoroso's roll. No steak: Pat's and Geno's use rib-eye. No sharp Provolone. No long hots. Definitely no Cheez Whiz.
At least the bread is local.
But Swiss? Aioli? According to Arby's statement, their slick, drippy cheese (the Swiss should sue) "provides a mild cheese flavor," and the "garlic aioli was chosen to add a subtle flavor." Arby's declares the roast beef faker "remains true to most Philly sandwiches."
The problem isn't just the ingredients. It's the name.
"No one calls friggin' cheesesteaks Phillys," said lifelong local Michaelangelo Ilagan, "That pisses me off . . . They're wrongly using the name of the city of Philadelphia, and its people."
The Geekadelphia blogger and web designer started a blog, www.thisisnotacheesesteak.tumblr.com, 15 days ago with a post deriding Arby's imitation creation. Since then, online visitors have been submitting photos and descriptions of cheesesteak wannabes nationwide. In two weeks, the site has received more than 32,000 hits.
Apparently, even out-of-town cheesesteak fans believe fakers like Arby's Philly are taking our city's name in vain. Their message? You can be from Philly. You can visit. You can move here. You can move away. You can even try to be like us. Just don't call yourself "Philly" when clearly, you're not.