May 9, 2012 | 3198 views
Ribeye Bros. call Island Park home
New restaurant brings cheesesteaks to the South Shore
Long before Long Beach resident Damian Walsh Jr. opened up his cheesesteak restaurant in Island Park, he and his friends used to frequent Mr. Philly in Oceanside.
When Mr. Philly closed, Walsh and his friends were left without a local place to get their cheesesteak fix. So, like many bored college students with nothing to do on a Friday night would, the foursome used to drive down to Philadelphia.
“Just to get cheesesteaks,” Walsh said.
That college love for cheesesteaks has since grown into Ribeye Bros. Cheesesteaks, located on Broadway in Island Park, just off Austin Boulevard.
The idea for opening up a restaurant was rather spontaneous. Walsh said he was driving down Austin Boulevard one day when he saw the space that would soon become his restaurant. He pulled over and was looking around when a man drove up and started talking to him.
“I said, ‘I was looking at this space. Do you happen to know the landlord?’” said Walsh. “And he said, ‘I am the landlord.’” The two started talking about rent, and Walsh took the idea back to his cheesesteak-loving friends. Within a week, they had a lease signed and a business starting.
The business just opened at the end of April, but its official grand opening is being planned for the week before Memorial Day.
Walsh and his friends used their experience of driving to Philadelphia and sampling all of the different varieties of cheesesteaks there to craft their own. They use lightly seasoned rib eye steak on loaves of bread from Lakewood Bakeries in Farmingdale, a vendor that Walsh painstakingly selected after testing many different bakers.
“When perfecting the cheesesteak, we wound up seeing all the different cuts of steak you could put in them that taste better,” said Walsh. “The places where I enjoyed the cheesesteaks more, because we started going to all different places, I liked the rib eye meat. So when I do my cheesesteaks, it’s just a little bit of salt and pepper on the rib eye and the old fashioned Cheez Whiz.”
Though the restaurant has only been open three weeks, the business has been good. Walsh said he already has regulars coming in, some who came for lunch and dinner in the first five days he was open.