Chilly Willy Cheesesteaks

In Restaurants by Eric FontanaLeave a Comment


The question arises, what makes the Philly Cheesesteak so popular and why does it taste so darn good? Is it the thinly sliced, marbled Ribeye steak, or the hot, gooey cheese selection of either white American, cheese whiz, or provolone? Or is it the sauteed, sweet onions or fresh baked, Italian roll. The truth is it is a combination of everything. If you are from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, you take the art of the Philly Cheesesteak very seriously.

The Philadelphia Cheesesteak is served at a lot of places; however, most do not understand what it takes to make a true Philly Cheesesteak authentic. Owners, Will “Chilly” Vason and wife Roxanne Saunders-Vason, have brought their passion of cooking and love for people from the city of brotherly love to Steel Town. Everything about their cheesesteak is original just like in Philadelphia. Let us explore why there is no other place like Chilly Willy Cheesesteaks in all Western Pennsylvania.

The importance of an Italian roll – The type of bread used is often overlooked when it comes to making a sandwich. If you talk to any serious Cheesesteak connoisseur from Philadelphia, they will tell you that you must use an Italian roll. The Italian roll is soft on the inside and has a soft crust on the top. Will Vason, when asked about why Philadelphians are so adamant about the Italian roll, explained that this type of roll travels wells, meaning the sandwich can sit for a while and it will not get soggy and will not fall apart.

The steak – The gold standard meat to any Philly Cheesesteak is Ribeye steak. It is heavily marbled and full of flavor. Chilly Willy’s takes it up a notch and throws a curve ball when it comes to the steak they use. Most of the time, meat comes from female cows. Chilly Willy’s uses meat that comes from the male cow or “steer.” It is 100 percent USDA grain fed beef. The difference is because it is 100% grain fed, the meat is more tender. You can taste the quality of the meat when you bite into this cheesesteak.

Bringing it all together – The roll is extremely fresh, it is soft on the inside, yet sturdy and durable on the outside to withstand the mess of all the wonderful ingredients that make up the Cheesesteak. The steak is thinly sliced, plentiful, and cooked to perfection on the flat top. Chilly Willy’s also uses a special blend of seasonings, so you do not need to add salt n pepper to the cheesesteak. The onions are caramelized, but not overcooked, you want enough texture, however you do not want mush. There are also green peppers that are cooked in the same fashion. Take your pick between white American, cheese wiz, or provolone. The key with the Philly Cheesesteak is that all these above-mentioned elements should be balanced, one component should not overshadow the other. You want everything to come together to create an unmistakable Cheesesteak flavor. Chilly Willy’s brings everything together and gives you a true, authentic Philly Cheesesteak.

The menu – The standard cheesesteak is the number 2 which comes with your choice of cheese, and sauteed peppers and onions. Take it up a notch and try the Cadillac of cheesesteaks, the Cheesesteak Deluxe. It is item number 1 on the menu. It is the standard cheesesteak previously mentioned plus lettuce, tomato, mushrooms, mayo, and is finished with a special sauce. There are also chicken cheesesteaks, Pittsburgh style cheesesteaks with fries, salads, and fry options by themselves. Check out their website for the updated menu.

The Original Philadelphia Water Ice – The Philadelphia Water ice is as popular in Philadelphia as the cheesesteak. It is best described as a combination of Sorbet and a snow cone mixed. It is extremely refreshing and available in a multitude of flavors such as cherry, blueberry, lemon, mango, root beer, and Swedish fish to name a few. It is a fan favorite, and a perfect, light desert after your meal!

Community involvement – Chilly Willy’s also places key emphasis on giving back to the community. They have joined forces with Tiger Pause Youth Ministry in Beaver Falls, Pa. They invest in the lives of young men and woman spiritually, emotionally, and financially. They also stress the importance of teaching trades such as plumbing, carpentry, electrical, and restaurant. The goal is to prepare the youth for life’s challenges by using the wisdom of God to overcomes obstacles and become resilient to tackle any challenge that comes one’s way.

  • Taste and Flavor
  • Portion Size

My final take

The second you meet owner’s Will “Chilly” Vason and wife Roxanne Saunders-Vason you immediately feel the love and positive energy that pours from their hearts. They individually built their restaurant from start to finish with the help of young men and women. When you go to Chilly Willy Cheesesteaks, you are not only getting an authentic, Philly cheesesteak, you are interacting with owners and staff that want to make you happy and laugh. To further reiterate Will Vason’s passion for people and serving the community he quoted his philosophy as “people before profit, impact before income.” What a true hidden gem and must try destination to add to your list!

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