Last year, Frontier Airlines began offering twice-weekly nonstop flights between Sarasota Bradenton International Airport and Philadelphia International Airport, with a round-trip ticket for around $200. A great deal, but for an even more budget-friendly introduction to the City of Brotherly Love, just point your car to Sarasota’s South Trail and stop in at Gentile Bros. Authentic Philadelphia Cheesesteaks & Hoagies.
More than a sandwich shop, Gentile Bros. is a shrine to all things Philadelphia. Photos of iconic moments from Phillies, Eagles, 76ers and Flyers history hang on the walls, next to images of the Liberty Bell and the downtown skyline and instructions on how to properly order a cheesesteak. A traditional cheesesteak ($8.40) should come slathered in Cheez Whiz, a friend recommends. He also suggests ordering mine “wit,” which translates as “with onions.”
The sandwich emerges from Gentile’s small back kitchen in no time. The cheesesteak is so juicy that its contents soak into the soft bread and onto the wax paper in which it’s wrapped. There are no plates at Gentile Bros., so I open my gift right on the table and take a bite. The beef is soft and finely chopped; the onions add sweetness. It’s easy to understand why a city might feel more than a little civic pride over such a creation. Gritty, the Flyers mascot, would love it.
Gentile Bros. Authentic Philadelphia Cheesesteaks & Hoagies | 7523 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, (941) 926-0441, gentilesteaks.com