By Joy Bergman

It’s a good feeling when you first take a bite of a Philly Cheesesteak.And not just any cheesesteak – a real cheesesteak with real Philadelphian ingredients. The fulfilling kind that leaves you full and satisfied. The all-consuming kind where it’s so good you don’t even need to speak. The authentic kind cooked by a Philadelphian native who knows how to make it “just right,” and in my opinion, even better. This is the kind of cheesesteak that Best of Philly off of Seven Springs Boulevard in Woodgate Plaza serves. 

The quality of the real Philly meat tastes fantastic, and the cheese melts into the perfect combination of flavor surrounding the authentic Amoroso roll. If you want a true and delicious Philly Cheesesteak in a family environment, you’ve come to the right place. Go for the beloved classic cheesesteak, with beef or chicken, or opt for one “with extra mushrooms,” as Best of Philly customer, Lawrence P. recommends. But no matter what you try – whether it be the fresh cut fries from the slicer (with cheese or gravy!), or some other fun sides like jalapeno poppers or onion rings, know dedication has been added to the recipe, as new owner Ben Cellini works hard to provide a cheesesteak experience unmatched in all of Florida. 

In fact, Best of Philly’s most popular item is “The Florida” Cheesesteak, an unforgettable sandwich containing onions, mushrooms, and sweet peppers! The Florida Cheesesteak “does this thing where it just makes your mouth water,” says Ben, who also enjoys gobbling up one of these delectable sandwiches when he gets the chance. And you know that if Ben, a Philadelphian native likes it, it’s gonna be good! “I’m just proud of the product,” Ben says, and of course, so many others are pleased too.

Since taking over Best of Philly in March, Ben has continued to amaze regulars that have been going to the Cheesesteak house since former owner Mike was running it. And old fans of Mike’s like Russ A., prove how much they’re impressed with the new ownership: “Ben & staff Truly keeping that tradition of excellence Mike had initiated from day one,” He writes. “A L O T of places make cheesesteaks, and I pass right by them on the way to Ben’s at Best of Philly. (Not unusual to drive 35 mins or more just to get one) AND THEY’RE always always 5 [star].” My family can also personally attest to how well Ben has kept things going, as we have been frequenting Best of Philly for almost ten years!

We love that Ben follows the same fantastic recipes and offers almost the exact same menu! But there is even more to be excited about, as something new is showing up at Best of Philly – and that is desserts! Other than the already yummy tastykakes from Philly, some new treats, all made by Ben’s wife, are popping up in the restaurant. To give you an idea of what to keep your eyes open for, especially on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, include: Lemon Pound Cake, Red Velvet Cake, Brownies, Chocolate Banana Nut Cake, Lemon Sponge, Cinnamon Swirl, and German Chocolate. But that’s still not all – an Italian family like Ben’s is not going to forget other goodies like Pizzelles and Biscotti’s! 

Ben’s Italian heritage even shows through his full name, “Benvenuto,” which translates to
“Welcome” in Italian! Interestingly enough, Italian roots actually trace back to the Philly Cheesesteak itself, when two Italian brothers, Pat and Harry, crafted the original steak sandwich in Philly in the thirties. And just a little while after they opened their restaurant, Ben’s grandfather, a true Italian known by many as “Reynolds,” came to America and opened his own Philly Cheesesteak shop in the ‘40s. He called the restaurant, “Rinaldo’s Hoagie Shop,” which is still serving customers in South Philly today. Though Ben’s family no longer owns the establishment, the cheesesteak legacy continues to live on here at family-owned Best of Philly in Tampa Bay!

Some customers, like Jeff, believe Best of Philly has the “Best cheesesteaks in the Tri-County Area.” And he is not alone – others from Philly compare the sandwiches as something worth writing home about or even something worth bringing home! Check out this review by big Best of Philly fan, “Philly Joe”: “I’ve lived in FL for 25 yrs. and have tried a lot of so called Philly cheesesteaks. This is by far the best I’ve had. The rolls are from Philly, the meat is from Philly. They make them big as well. What you get at Best of Philly would be considered double meat anywhere in Philly. I’m telling you they are packed. The best referral I can give you is that I have a friend that visits from Philly and he brings these cheesesteaks back home with him!!! How’s that for a testimonial? I’ve referred many people there and none have been disappointed. Take it from me, I was born and raised in Philly. Enjoy, Philly Joe.”

As Ben does say, Best of Philly’s cheesesteaks rival his old home of South Philly when it comes to flavor and quality. Another cheesesteak enthusiast named Sharon agrees: “Best of Philly has amazing cheesesteaks!!! Only place I’ve found after 13 years in Florida that is comparable to the ones from home (and is actually better than some of the places I used to order from up there!).”

You obviously can’t go wrong with a Philly Cheesesteak from Best of Philly, but keep in mind that the hoagie shop offers a variety of other satisfying selections on their menu, whether it be a good ole’ hamburger, a meatball parm, a cold hoagie or a turkey club! Best of Philly also offers cash specials and combos of chips, fries, and sodas to complete your meal. And for those who just want to kick back without having to step foot anywhere, the cheesesteak house delivers to the local area! Order a delicious and filling meal of $10 or more, and your delivery fee is only a $1! Best of Philly is currently open Tuesday through Saturday, from 11:30AM to 8:00PM, with deliveries ending at 7:30.

In spite of Covid 19, Ben has continued to keep Best of Philly’s growing number of customers happy, and people like first-timer Amanda P., are impressed. She writes, “…from the moment I stepped in the door I was met with warm smiles & friendly people. Ordered cheesesteaks to go and they did not disappoint. Perfect balance of meat and cheese in every bite. We’ll be returning for sure.”

Now if you’ve never tried a Philly Cheesesteak before and you step inside Best of Philly, Ben may warn you that, “You might not want to try it.” And then you might ask yourself – why would the owner of Best of Philly Cheesesteak House with some of the best said Phillies in Florida and even in Philly, according to some, say such a thing? Well, the answer is real simple, as Ben shows: “’ Cause once you eat one, you’ll be back every week.” 

Best of Philly Cheesesteak House is located on 2321 Seven Springs BLVD., New Port Richey.

Visit them online at www.bestofphillycheesesteakhouse.webs.com. Place an order today at 727-376-3828!