• Philadelphia's Wit or Witout Cheesesteak chain expanding

Cheesesteak lovers outside of Philadelphia will be able to enjoy cheesesteaks from Wit or Witout Philly Cheesesteaks, the concept that Food Network's Guy Fieri once called the city's best.

A recent newcomer on the Philly cheesesteak scene, Wit or Witout has quickly won acclaim and awards, including Philadelphia Magazine's "Best of Philly." That's what prompted famed Philadelphia restaurateur Tony Altamore, owner of seven Tony Roni's Italian restaurants, to buy the two-unit chain earlier this year, according to a company press release. A few months later Jim Sahene, former TCBY president and current Bruster's Real Ice Cream chief executive, came on board to help Altamore develop and franchise the brand.

Sahene brought in a team of marketing, franchising and operations professionals. Working with Altamore, they expanded the menu, revamped the restaurant's design, developed operating systems and created marketing and franchise strategies, the release said.

"When I go into these so-called cheesesteak places in other cities, I always leave saying, 'that wasn't a real cheesesteak – I dunno what the #!X%$#*! that was,'" said Altamore. "It's time the rest of the country finally gets to eat a really freakin' good Philly cheesesteak with some good Philly attitude thrown in."

According to Sahene, the sandwich segment is ripe for a unique player.

"There's nothing out there like 'Wit or Witout,' either in food or environment," he said. "The concept will succeed because it offers a truly great product served in a fun, entertaining setting. Philadelphia created the cheesesteak, but Wit or Witout has evolved it for today's tastes."

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