Open since 2006 on the corner of A1A and Oakland Park Blvd. in the Galt Ocean Mile, the Cheesesteak Experience has been slinging authentic Philly cheese steaks with South Philly sirloin, rolls from the Amoroso bakery (shipped daily) and Cheez Whiz. The "Whiz wit?" ethos has never been more resplendent in Broward County than within the confines of this quaint but delicious eatery.
Routinely on Clean Plate Charlie's radar and voted by readers as this year's best cheese steak, it is with a heavy heart that we inform that the Cheesesteak Experience is no more.
Or at least isn't for the time being on that particular corner. John Strauss, the Philly native who's taken on the paternal role of grill master from his parents Jeff and Bobbie Strauss, and the Cheesesteak Experience are another in a rapidly increasing line of eateries facing turmoil with their landlords.
Boasting enough sandwiches, or rather, hoagies, to keep the most die-hard connoisseurs happy, the Cheesesteak Experience has always prided itself in doing things right. Philadelphia is a serious food town and the inhabitants of the City of Brotherly Love can be a little, well, un-brotherly when it comes to defending the city's foodie rep.
Last week, on their Facebook page, John announced the following on behalf of the restaurant:
"To all our valued and adored customers... this is our last week here in Ft. Lauderdale. We are shutting down our location due to the problem we have been involved in with our contractor and landlord. We will be opening up another shop in a different location somewhere in Broward County. This is not the end for us but a blessing in disguise. Of course this was not in our plans but something had to be done with our unfortunate situation. We want to extend our deepest appreciation for the love and support you all have shown us..."
The restaurant stopped ordering food supplies and shuttered down effectively last Friday.
Strauss tells New Times that starting this past March, the Cheesesteak Experience's contractor, also a tenant of their landlady, began accusing the restaurant of owing money and demanding a sum larger than what was owed. Mr. Strauss has asked to keep the landlady and contractor's names off the record until he can secure legal counsel, but he provided images of a returned check and a letter sent to him. The letter says a lien was filed against him.
A message left for the landlord was not returned.
Strauss says, "Basically, he's asking for more money than we owed and got the landlady on his side. It's very convenient that his office is in her building. Our rent checks began to be returned with eviction notices and it all seems deliberate. We've been paying on time and started putting the checks into an escrow account." The good-natured Philadelphian, says that this past Sunday, August 31, the landlady "texted me asking to consider staying."
In any case, the son's activity on the Facebook threads -- answering personally customer's concerns and queries -- gives us hope that the bona fide gooeyness of their delicious sandwiches will not be absent from Broward County for too long.