Owner Chris Holland grew up in Philadelphia and thinks of his restaurant, South-A- Philly, as a little taste of home.
Holland has been with the restaurant since it opened eight years ago and has been the owner for the past two years. He moved to St. Augustine for business opportunities.
Not surprisingly, Holland is a Philadelphia Phillies fan and there is baseball memorabilia throughout the pub.
The 32- seat pub has two flat-screen TVs, and the viewing is good no matter where you sit. The seating is informal and comfortable. A traditional pinball machine is a fun addition to the atmosphere.
According to Holland, The Philly cheese steak was considered the poor man’s sandwich and grew out of the industrial revolution. A worker could cobble together meat, onions and cheese on a roll for a substantial meal that was easily transportable.
South-A-Philly serves a premier version of the Philly cheese steak using rib-eye. The menu has a note declaring that peppers are unheard of on a traditional Philly cheese steak but they are happy to add them.
South-A-Philly offers plenty of sandwich options, and the appetizer menu has its own version of funnel cake and about seven different versions of french fries to choose from.
Wine and beer are served and the pub stays open until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
How would you describe the restaurant’s atmosphere?
We are laid back and have that friendly Philly attitude. We are sports orientated, and you can catch a game on our two flat-screen TVs. There are a lot of locals who come in. This is a great place for families. Food is served quick and the prices fit family budgets.
What is your food philosophy?
The menu is 70 percent sandwiches, and the bread is the most important part. We special order Italian bread rolls from South Jersey. Our food is fresh, and the menu is versatile. Along with several kinds of cheese steak sandwiches we have hoagies and deli sandwiches.
What type of cuisine do you specialize in?
Our deli sandwiches, cheese steaks and hoagies cover just about all the sandwich fare you might find in the Northeast. The traditional Philly cheese steak anchors our menu. You can order a cheese steak with, say, chicken or pepperoni. We started with traditional and stepped outside of the box with many other types.
What is your signature dish?
We specialize in the original Philly cheese steak upgrading the meat to rib-eye, add fried onions and cheese on a specialty roll and you have the most popular sandwich in the U.S.
What would you recommend for a first timer?
The Italian hoagie is outstanding. It comes on our special Italian roll with Genoa salami, corteghino, capocolla, provolone and oregano. Add prosciutto and you have our ultimate Italian hoagie.