Philly in C'ville: New cheesesteakery comes to Long Street

During their lunch break, some guys sit waiting at foldout tables with thin paper tablecloths at one of Charlottesville’s newest eateries, with a flavor that Lucious "Lou" Craig Renfrow couldn’t believe C’ville diners had been missing out on for so long– the flavor of a Philly cheesesteak.

One man looks up from his phone and asks another group of eager diners, "You guys been here before?"

"Yeah," another answers quickly, "It’s new, but great."

Renfrow opened Lou's Philly Steaks on July 1, and he's not bashful.

"The fact is that you could go as far as Philadelphia and you're not going to find a sandwich as good as here," Renfrow declares.

Renfrow first arrived in Charlottesville for one of his son's AAU basketball games and moved here six years ago. A towering, powerfully-built man hailing from West Philly, Renfrow grew up eating cheesesteaks at his favorite corner store, Miss Hattie's.

"Those are all the best places– corner stores," says Renfrow, crossing his arms definitively.

Like any corner store in West Philly, what Lou's lacks in ambiance may be compensated by the cheesesteaks with all the accoutrements (green peppers, onions, three different types of cheeses, etc.), a dozen different hoagies, fries, and fountain drinks. A meal costs about $10. 

One man sitting and enjoying a hoagie wonders aloud in reference to the purple and gold color scheme, “I should ask Lou why he likes JMU colors.”

Renfrow says he actually chose the colors as a tribute to Omega Psi Phi fraternity, and he decided to name his eatery as a tribute to his late father, who was named Lou.

A graduate of the top-rated Wharton school of business, Renfrow explains that he wants Lou's to make a statement as a small business in this community.

"I’m here to bring people together," says Renfrow. "And food can always bring people together."

Lou’s is located on 1305 Long Street (right next to All-American Car Wash) and operates from 9am to 8pm Monday through Friday– with the "Lou’s Lunch Special" providing one free sandwich for every six purchased from 10am to 3pm on weekdays.

Read more on: Lou's restaurant


Lou's will be my first stop the next time I drive in from Bumpass. Today or tomorrow!

Ate at Lou's yesterday, Cheese steaks as good as it gets! Had mine with provolone, going with authentic cheese whiz next time! lol I hope they do well!

There are a few decent cheesesteaks around town but I am definitely going to check this place out soon!

Met Lou waiting for the train last Sunday in DC - very nice guy, gave my kid a frisbee. Going to try these tomorrow!

How do they compare to the original Tony Luke's?

Service is slow. Not enough seating. No fountain drinks yet. Food is good.

@Marco. Stop being so whiney lazy and keep $20 in your pocket. You take money out of the small biz man and subsidize Citi-bank with your cards. And then I bet you complain about Big Corporate profits.

Interested, but 'cash only' is gonna be a problem.

he's working on getting a credit card machine. Right now he just says to pay him the next time you come into the store.

I'd like to point out that It wasn't until just recently that one of the most popular places in the area, Riverside Lunch, started taking credit cards!

Nobody..... absolutely nobody.... will ever match the steak and cheese hoagies that Lupo's used to make in this town.

My daughter is bringing me one from Lou's this evening, I will report back.

If it's as good or better than Lupo's, he has a new and faithful customer.

You all know that the fees charged by banks for processing nickle and dime charges would get up not far from what he already pays in sales taxes, except he has to eat those charges? Figure 3.5-4.0 percent once the basic fees are combined with individual transaction charges. And then there are the delays imposed by running each charge. The selling of America on plastic instead of currency is one of the various ways the FIRE economy parasitizes the real economy...

Jack & Jill down the street doesn't take credit cards either. They take cash or checks. There is an ATM machine there to get cash but it costs $2.50 in fees if you use it.

@Rick That's "Wiz" -- not "authentic Cheese Whiz" ... we'll see if Lou's can measure up to the old D'Alessandro's on Wendover Street, which used to be the best, but I hear it has changed hands. The Rendezvous on West King Street in Lancaster also had a great steak sandwich. So did Christian's, in Charlottesville -- long ago.

I'm not completely sure I was the first person to serve a cheese steak in Charlottesville -- but that's how I remember it. At Christian's, of course. In McIntyre Plaza. Where the Vietnamese place is now.

I might drive in today ...

As to cash only, that might be a tradition in West Philly; but in Charlottesville, taking a check works for almost every merchant. I am always amazed that "the people" want to pay Visa and Mastercard 3 cents on every dollar they spend. Or is it more now?

Gasbag recalls Lupos? I was a young child when I recall that grease pit! Best fries EVER.

But the best Cheese steak - it is in Philly and it is a toss up between Pat's King of Steaks and Geno's - for years one will be chosen #1 there and the other #2 and the others all fall behind.

It would be nice not to travel to Philly for authentic Cheese Steak though! :)

Da Subway on Pantops serv up a mean cheasesteak mane

Chelsea is going catch h-e-double-hockeysticks in this pathetic little town for her line: " Wharton School of Business." I can see another stupid op-ed from Tudor and Dragon Lady if they read that!

R.I.P.: Nick the cheesesteaks in Delaware County

Most people you see and assume are using "credit cards" really aren't. They are using the debit function of said card. I pay for most everything now with a debit card. Bet I haven't written 20 checks so far in 2012 for anything.

I will admit though, I have no clue how fees work with these debit cards. Does the bank collect a small fee for handing MY money over to the merchant?

Ch'ville Native, I was 16 and 17 during the last few years of Lupo's.

Pick up a few friends, a few steak hoagies, fries, ice cold beer..... and head to the Ridge Drive-In Theatre for a double feature.

Life was slow, easy and enjoyable back then. We all knew how to count and spell, we could never assume the schools would hand us a high school diploma whether we deserved it or not like they do nowadays. Drugs had not become a major problem. The population of Albemarle and Charlottesville was a fourth of what it is now. The business district pretty much ended once you passed the Post Office and The Caravan fast food joint (good food). We had clean water, and no water shortages. Everybody knew everybody else. The entire town knew what Aunt Bee had fixed Andy for dinner the night before. Young people could find good jobs with good benefits. We weren't a state attraction to the homeless and poor. The nation and state weren't buried in debt and taxing people to death on every paycheck. Every person you walked by wasn't in outer space with a cell phone stuck in their ear. Guys still told girls how nice they looked and actually opened the car doors for them. And oh yeah, you could go downtime shopping and park right on Main Street before they paved it with pedestrian bricks.

Compare all of this, including steak hoagies, to what we have now. It's sad. Life was good.

I had to check, Christian! I spelled "Whiz" correctly! Google it! lol

It is nice that everyone is being nostalgic, remembering places past, but that is what they are, past! All those places started out on a shoe string, just like Lou's. I'm sure someone said their not as good as someone before them. I've had Pat's, and Gino's and no doubt they are the best of Philly, but that is there and this is here! Lou's got a good Cheese Steak and I will stop in again next week!

... cash in hand! lol

where was Lupo's and what time period are we talking?

Purple & Gold is also the regal colors of the Upper Darby HS Royals. Just a few miles from the Philly Border. I'm psyched to visit Lou's!

Lupo's was on Emmett Street, right beside the overhead foot bridge near the John Paul Jones Arena. I think some sort of Asian restaurant is there now? If you're headed north on Emmett Street, it's the first building on the right after you pass under the overhead foot bridge.

Sorry, forgot to add time period. I used to visit there in the early 70's. I do not recall what year they went out of business though. It wasn't much later than the early 70s too though.

@Philly Guy...UD Royals, alma mater of Jim Croce and Todd Rundgren (among others).

Actually, Philly Guy, I think the little neighborhood steak shops (often owned by Greeks) had steaks that were way better than the touristy Geno's or Pat's.

At least this chap himself seems like the real deal. Look up a really nice obit in Philly papers from his dad's passing in 1992...he looks he came from great stock.

R.I.P.: Jim Croce

You're right Gas. Drugs not a major problem; we just ate brownies and went into Lupos to munch out peacefully, holding doors for the ladies, and playing whatever nitwit video games were available then (what was available then?). That was one killer, flour-dusted crust. And we didn't have weeks of 100 degree heat then either, and the rich folks paid some of the taxes. And you could go see Shaft and Blacula at the Cinema downtown. The End Time is upon us --wail and rend your tunics.

LOL When I first looked at Lou's logo with the purple background I had to ask, "Your not a Ravens fan are you? Cuz' you know that just would not be right!" I would have gone green, but that is just me!

if you go to Philly and think you're going to get the best cheesesteaks at Pat's or Geno's, you're doing it wrong

Credit/debit card fees for a small business are not overwhelming. The local banks offer pretty good rates, or a small business can utilize 3rd party apps for Ipad,smartphone etc. There are a myriad of options. Customers don't always carry cash. Why limit your customer base due to cashflow? I will most assuredly stop by for a cheesesteak this weekend.

As far as Philly goes, I still say SouthStreet and Tony Luke's has the best cheesesteaks but it has been a year since I been to Philly. Here it is hard to find a good cheesesteak as it is to find good bbq and it is sad we have little good choices in the bbq area as well. The College Inn has an ok cheesesteak which is not the best but still ok and next to that I would say Tubbys, but after that you are taking your chances. I am excited to see how this place is and hope he does well.

"Cheese Whiz" is correctly spelled with an "h" but "wiz wit" is how it was pronounced as in "You want wiz wit dat?" ... the accent does vary somewhat in different areas of Philly, but I really never ran into "Whiz" ...

Does anyone else think it strange that a Wharton grad would open a sandwich shop with no drink machine? He using portion controlled pressed sandwich "steaks" -- ?

The Caravan! Home of the humpburger!

"wiz wit" in Philly actually means "Cheese Whiz, with onions"

@Christian Gehman--I remember your beignets. My first encounter with them. yum. I was a mere college-child.

@emmajane -- alas for the good old days~! the beignets were easy - just pate a choux with little orange flavoring added. Dropped by spoons into the fryer. They turn over of their own accord as they puff up. Seems to me I remember that one could hardly get a decent coffee in Charlottesville back then. Even though many things have really changed for the better, I really miss the U.D. And the old Riverside. You know what happened with the U.D., right?

Lupos was opened probably in the mid 1960s - across the street from the "pregnant clam" - U Hall. And Caravan - home of the hump burger, they were there for years - off 29 North and they closed down in the 1980s.

@Rick, there is nothing wrong with appreciation for the past perhaps it could improve the future?

Gasbag - thanks for the memories. I was a tot at that time and just recall my parents who were young at that time taking me to some of those places. You are right though - we could do a whole lot better today if some things were implemented as they were then.

And those from Philly - vote on the best each years - it is always Pats or Ginos' - that is a fact, undisputed. It also comes down to preference too though there is something about having a cheese steak in Philly vs. C' watching a movie at home vs. in the theater - or drive in!

(BTW - C'ville used to have a drive in - where Kroger is now at the corner of 29 Hydraulic.)

When I saw the headline, I immediately wondered if Lupo's would be mentioned. Lupo's opened in about 1965 and that was the first pizza many locals ever ate. The Cheesesteak sandwiches did not reference Philly back then. I haven't heard the "Pregnant Crab" term used in ages either. I saw Janis Joplin there, The Turtles in the middle of the afternoon, The Beach Boys and Rod Stewart when he was still a rocker. I would be willing to bet a visit to Lupo's was part of all those big nights.

Cruising the Caravan, such memories. My high school girlfriend lived right up behind there, she used to sneak out and meet me for a bit of...... and then we would grab a burger.

$9.00 for a basic cheesesteak. No chips, no drink. $9. It tasted good.

Should you end up near Lakeland AFB in San Antonio, check out You'z Guys, they fly the rolls and the meat in from Philly and Tastee Cakes

@cville native -- "And those from Philly - vote on the best each years - it is always Pats or Ginos'" -- this is a laughable sophistry perpetrated mainly by tourists -- and given the lie by anyone who ever visited Dalessandro's or even the Retreat over in Lancaster. Hundreds of places in Philadelphia and the Philly metro area, which includes parts of New Jersey across the Walt Whitman Bridge, serve better subs AND better steaks. Gino's and Pat's were both good in their day, FOR A WHILE. Then they got to be more for the tourists. A real question would be -- do they use prepackaged wafer-cut sandwich "steaks"? Or do they cook them up the right way?

mmmmm Tastykakes! "All the good things wrapped up in one." I'm a pushover for a Butterscotch Krimpet!

Have any of you actually EATEN here? It's not very good, at all. The Steak-ums like steak was mediocre at best and way overpriced for $9. Get some real steak for those kind of prices.

Had to ask for a water to drink literally 5 times. I understand that they're just getting started, but it seemed like they didn't have it very together at all. Lots of shouting and miscommunication between the sandwich makers and the owner.

Also, place wasn't very clean. If you're going to hang huge "Grand Opening" signs, you could at least take the time to Windex your doors and windows.

Yes, I ate there Thursday night. I was not impressed either. I do not anticipate being a return customer. For less or equal cost, Tubbys and Tip Top have better and larger.

Steak Ums would be what I call pre-packaged wafer cut "sandwich steaks" -- shipped direct from Brazil, maybe (these days). This would not be an authentic way to make a cheese sandwich. How were the subs?

So sorry, that would be The Rendezvous on West King Street in Lancaster ... not the Retreat.

@Christian Gehman: I know the UD closed awhile back, but no other details--what happened? You're right about the coffee, but who knew from coffee back then? Or wine, for that matter...I remember Mateus......

The UD's infamous "grills with" doughnut & ice cream treat lives in New Orleans at the High Hat Cafe

@Gasbag, I'm not a big fan of Tubby's but Tip Top, that is another story ... but I have not had a Cheese steak there. Anyway, I'm going back to Lou's at least one more time! My sandwich was good and I like to help new business, as for the price .... eh, I've spent $16 for a sandwich in NY! Of course, it had enough pastrami to feed four on it, and I ate the whole thing! You just can't get a sandwich like that here!

@Pam Friedman -- as for the UD, my understanding is that the end began like this: like many other Cvillains, the owners of the UD purchased bonds promising a very good rate of return from a local developer. I can't remember his name this morning -- same fellow who brought in the Laingwall Building System plant and had property on the hill to west of 5th Street Extended just before I-64. The UD owners got ready to retire, thought they might buy a motel in Florida. Went down there. Found the right place. Made an offer -- put up their bonds as collateral. The bank down there looked into the assets on offer, including the bonds and would give a mortgage. And the whole scheme came unraveled, bonds and all, in Charlottesville. Elwood Breeden died in 2011; his obit is on the Hill & Wood site; he was no kin to the Old Lynchburg Road Breedens, far's I know.

@Pam Friedman sorry - bank would NOT give a mortgage ...

Oh--sounds like the O'Neill bond debacle. I remember hearing about that; a number of local folks got 'stuck' with them, including my folks to a small extent. Sad story, good people.

@some of the posts...
Please don't tell me that this new place is selling steaks for $9 a sandwich...please! I will wait until I visit kin in Delco and get a large (that is 18", folks!) cheesesteak at Paul Revere's for $7.75. And it is not Steak-Umms.

This could be a case of another Wharton grad who vends second-rate goods on us but markets them as pure gold (the other Wharton grad owns a lot of casinos and a local winery). Say it ain't so, Joe!

R.I.P.: Gary Papa

@ emmajane ... thank you ... now and then a name escapes me. I don't think Frank was ENTIRELY dishonest -- to start with. More likely he just over-extended at the wrong moment and went down in flames, like the Hindenburg - carrying a lot of passengers along with him. Real estate in Charlottesville goes up and down, sometimes quite wildly. I'm guessing the Laingwall business might have done a lot to help sink him. Probably required a large capital input and then the market for new buildings suddenly diminished. Any idea what happened to the Laingwall plant out there on 5th Street? It was a good idea, Legos for grownups ... Let's get Christian Breeden to build a huge Buddha of the Blue Ridge ... using the Laingwall Building System?

You know what I love about Charlottesville? The absolute world class bitchiness of the folks there. More posts on this little new business story that any other story in The Hook's last issue. I'll be there in the Fall again this year and I'll go see Lou if he can survive the critical onslaught until then.

Curious how many of my fellow commenters were born at Martha Jefferson or UVa Med. Center?

Martha Jefferson, 1952, Dr. Birdsong attending.

@Max, too bad there isn't a "thumbs up" button!

Yah, you'd think they might improve the comments page technology .... The Hoook may be among the South's best towns for foood, but ... maybe not for computer savvy publishers?
-- "CraigFergusonIsFromNewJersey"

I only married one of the Jefferson descendants; our child was born at MCV ...

Re: born at UVa or MJH...Are we to assume that "outsiders"--in addition to not being able to bitch--should also not start businesses here as well? Look, if you bring Creole here, any Nawleeans natives around will be hypercritical. A good steak afficionado (like a good Reuben critic from NYC) will spot good product versus not-so-good. I'm still trying to digest $9 for a regular-sized cheesesteak. That returns me to the days of the $9 turkey sandwich at Fuel Co.

This town is a liberal enclave. In the words of Inspector Callahan, that means "nag, nag, nag."

R.I.P.: Wally Bruner

Your notion that the South generally, or Charlottesville in particular, have ever been more "liberal" than New York State is totally mistaken. Far from being a "liberal enclave" Charlottesville is just one of the brainiest cities in America. And -- alas for the anti-liberal point of view that you seem to be mourning -- the facts often trend toward liberalism. Liberalism means prosperity and free enterprise for all. Not just the 99.9%.

$9 for a good Philly Cheesesteak is not beyond the pale, particularly if he is using quality ingredients. Have you noticed the price of beef & cheese lately? Prices are through the roof! That's not to mention the start up costs, equipment, and taxes, I could go on and on.... But, instead I think I'll just hop in my car , drive down to Long St. and enjoy a small taste of "back home".

the only thing "of america" is the overrated and out of control hyperbole associated with nothing more than average retail and certainly pleasing but not exceptional scenery.

@Max -- Everyone eats. Many are passionate about the steak sandwich of their dreams. Of course, many people will eat Steak'Ums and think they're pretty good. I'll give Lou a few more days before I review the fare. Sounds like he opened in a bit of a wiggle. But Hey! -- when I opened Christian's, I had no idea it would be so very popular, so very suddenly. I think we did $1,700 one day at lunch. I had no time for catering. One partner couldn't handle the stress, the other proved more than a bit light-fingered as to money, roast beef and Heineken. So I made him an offer he couldn't refuse. Before long he sold his interest to Henry Corretta -- a man who looked so much like me that even his dog thought I was Henry "until it got up close." Whatever happened to Henry? What happened to the Charlottesville Restaurant Association? What happened to Paul from Shoney's ?? Milt Butts? DS is gone -- but they did name a significant Nintendo game after him, I hear. Maybe I should just rename myself Rip van Winkle ... ? 35 years can seem like a VERY long time.

@Christian Gehman...I never implied that Cville was more liberal than NYC. Just look at the pathetic mayor there and you quickly see how liberalism has run rampant there (any women's groups want to complain about this MAN's restricting of choice about how to feed your newborn?). Northeast cities are generally liberal leaning (Boston, NYC, Philly, etc.); that goes a long way to explaining their deterioration since "The Great Society" began its handiwork. Additionally, anyone who thinks Cville is not a bastion of liberalism is blind. But please tell me that you were in jest when you called this city one of the "brainiest cities in America." It is a college town--no more, no less. Same as Ann Arbor, Berkeley, Madison, et. al. Please don't hit us with that tired liberal rant implying the conservatives are not as "intellectually nuanced" as libs.

Now, more importantly, can someone who knows cheesesteaks confirm if they are using "Steak-Umm" like meats?

And I can get a good large Philly cheesteak in the western suburbs of Philly for $7.75 (and I mean good AND large).

R.I.P.: Harry S. Gross

"And I can get a good large Philly cheesteak in the western suburbs of Philly for $7.75 (and I mean good AND large)."
I doubt it Liberalace. I have reached out to my friends in Upper Darby for confirmation. It's not the Pat's and Geno's of the world that made the cheesesteak great. It was the nuance of neighborhood corner store, tavern, and local color that makes them superb. Sure Aunt Annies buttery soft pretzels are decadent, but it ain't in the neighborhood...

Hey, I didn't vote up Charlottesville as a brainiest city ... even when I lived there .... You might like to review your understanding of liberalism, since evidently your approach to the social ills caused by the top 1% hogging the harvest and sending jobs overseas haven't yet penetrated to your level of the state-osphere. As for me, I started out a Goldwater Republican and then moved farther to the right. "Here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it." Calling people names doesn't pass for an argument in most parts of Charlottesville, but since it's possible you've actually had a thought or two more than the Teahadis have drummed up of late, I'll invite you to the next party ....

-- Thomas Jefferson to William Roscoe, 27 December 1820

@liberalace -- I don't know why you keep downing Mayor Bloomberg. He has a very worthwhile financial newspaper named after him. He has his own financial empire. He's brought New York back into the world of the living. It's no easy matter to keep getting re-elected in a city where one of your major boroughs, Staten Island, is still half dump. Boston's a little bit cozier and much more crooked than ever Virginia has been yet, even back when the sainted Governor Godwin got elected the first time, or during the long stretch when politics here were dominated by the Byrd Machine. Virginia as a whole is substantially more entertaining AND much more liberal than upstate New York. For example, anything north of Boiceville, where I went to high school, would regard Virginia as "very liberal." New York has not yet elected a black governor. The Virginia ABC Board did manage to keep a good deal of organized crime activity out of the hospitality industry, and Clarence Roberts used to regale me with tales of busting stills "with .38s blazing." Your notion of "liberals" or "liberalism" seems derived from an over-consumption of the daily name-calling of Rush Rant, or maybe you've been watching too much "news" on the Phone Hacker's channel. Let's leave crime to the criminals! might be the only sensible proposition yet advanced by Milt Gaffney, who can probably get elected only if all six helicopters crash in the desert. Oh wait, that was the liberal peanut farmer from Georgia. I honestly can't seem to remember what decade I'm IN -- any more than you can honestly remember expressing an opinion not previously regurgitated on a Rush Rant. Good luck to you -- send on your address and I'll pass along the party invitation. Sometime in November. You really still hoping Americans won't re-elect The Man Who Got Bin Laden? If you eat enough Steak-Ums you might actually believe it. And I apologize in advance for mis-characterizing your political philosophy as "Me First-ism" because, since you actually seem to have some feeling for a real steak sandwich, there may be hope for you -- somewhere in Philadelphia. On Wendover Street, maybe. I don't know, though -- I hear Dalessandro's changed hands and often that gives me a sense of foreboding, just like it did when Grant Cosner may he rest in peace, decided to sell the Riverside down the river. Or up the hill, actually ... which turned out worse.

@ Gehman "married one of the Jefferson descendants",
That would either be a "Coles" or was that one of Thom and Sally's kids?

My 5xgreat grandfather's brother was TJ's secretary and is often referred to as Jefferson's "adopted son".

I love it, BELOVED GRAVELY, 1984 1st edition - value $5

Yep, I made a ton of money on that tell all tabloid novel about my best friend .... why I know so much about working for lawyers. God and bad.

Hey, it's just a cute romance about a boy and his law tractor. Now, the Gravely family - down in Lynchburg? -- pronounces their name like "Gravel" ... not like as in "an open grave" ....

@CG...I don't know why you keep downing Rush Limbaugh; he has a self-built empire and a hugely successful radio network. And whatever the other reference--I suppose it is Fox TV--I don't know why you disparage them; they have only built a news empire that has outranked the other supposed "news networks" consistently for years now.

And to disparage my opinions...typical fo your ilk (if your posts are sincere). For every insult you paint on a conservative media person I can wing one at the transsexual (the one who looks like a little Russian boy) on MSNBC or the overly-concussed ex-NFLer placed to mumble his rantings on MSNBC.

As for "The man who got bin Laden?" Is that the same man who trumpets the fact that successes are not brought about individually, but with the help of many others? Shouldn't we say the "team who got bin Laden?"

And, I hope you are relatively young with your "me first-ism" observation. If you really think that politicians at the highest levels--regardless of party--are for anyone but themselves, you've gotta be a youngster. I believe our current president, despite having earned nearly $1,000,000 in 2011, filed a tax return that put him near the 20 percent rate. Based on his income, he should have paid 28 percent. I suppose he took those "me first" legal deductions; and I suspect he did not write a check to the Treasury for the difference.

Finally, I never said New York was liberal. I said "Northeastern US cities" are liberal. PA is liberal on the two edges, but solidly conservative between the two largest cities (by voting patterns, at least). And if you don't think Philly is as corrupt as Boston, or NYC is not as corrupt, you're mistaken.

R.I.P.: Frank L. Rizzo

Back to Lou's, I went to check this place out. First off he has stickers on the front door showing he takes Credit Cards although he does not. Ordered a cheesesteak, fries and a drink. The fries were so soggy and nasty tasting I couldn't get the first one down. They had been fried in oil that was way too old and not hot enough. I had two bites of the soggy nasty cheesesteak before I had to throw that away. This has been my worst food experience in this town bar none. I'd be suprised if this place makes it through the fall. He may be a wharton grad, but sure can not cook.

Good cheesesteak, good fries. Price, eh. There are certainly kinks to work out. We were confused by the signs on the door saying they accepted Visa, when in fact they don't. Since you pay after eating, we had to go home to get a checkbook to pay for our meal, and the customer in front of us had to do the same. Very odd.

@Liberaace -- I applaud your enthusiasm! and hope you find a good steak sandwich in this lifetime. Far from wanting to "down" Rush Limbaugh, I applaud the notion that he'll soon be making much more money on the internet - where the porn producers could have a field day sponsoring his opinions. You really seem to be taking TV news a bit too seriously; you might try reading Philip K. Dick or Heinlein for a change -- perhaps you'll find their books have a more enduring application to reality.

Probably "Lou" didn't actually major in restaurant management at Wharton .... If he's actually using Steak-Ums then he should revisit a few of the better spots in Philadelphia, Lancaster and Jersey. Just for research.

You know what's amazing is how easy it is today to get a credit card processing service through things like Intuit GoPayment and Square? Lou get with the program.

Sound's like Geno needs to send down a squad to revoke his right to use "Philly" as descriptive term. I've lost 12 pounds since july 4 so right now cheesesteak and roast beef po boys and muffalettas are off the menu. The muffaletta is America's finest sandwich when done right. Like Stein's Deli on Magazine. Run by a Philly boy, he uses great meats and cheeses and makes his own olive relish from many kinds of olives and a garlic smack. His ciabatta is not traditional but really I like it better that the usually seedy big Italian roll you get at Central Grocery or most places around NOLA.

Gave it a second try yesterday, will not return.

@Christian, Edge or whatever your name is...I have found a good--sorry, a great cheesesteak...Paul Revere's Pizza in Lansdowne, PA. BTW, a regular cheesesteak there is currently $6.20 for a regular size. Not sure why you think that, because I am skeptical of Lou's, that I have never had a good cheesesteak. There used to be a place in Lynchburg called Danny's Steaks. He ran ads that touted "he grew up in Philly and married a Lynchburg gal...he flies his rolls in fresh from Amoroso's...etc." I tried him and, sorry, not!

And, if Lou grew up in Philly and went to Wharton (which he did), then he needn't travel anywhere but down the street to research a good steak. The Wharton thing, actually, holds little water with me; W. Wilson Goode also went to Penn.

Now, maybe you should go back to food criticism. You seem to do better in debating quiches.

R.I.P.: Dorothea Dix

While enjoying two great cheeseburgers with properly crispy fries at The Riverside on Hazel Street, I saw several steak sandwiches pass by ... will wonders never cease? And the whole place was packed! Every seat was taken! And there were a good handful of junior Riversiders in their high chairs! Several customers were sitting outside despite the sun. So I guess the move up the hill actually turned out for the better ... finally. But hey -- you can get extremely soggy, badly cooked REVOLTING fries at The Five Guys over at Barracks Road. Or any other Five Guys outlet. 'Nough to make you steer clear of them any time you're in Charlottesville. Also, at Five Guys the burgers are too thick. The In'n'Out beats them any day. I hear you can get a cheese steak made with shaved rib eye at Mojo's somewhere in Richmond. That's too far to drive for most Cvillains, especially in the summer. With less reason than there used to be?... when I was reviewing restaurants for Style Magazine. My rule is, I never go in a place all starry-eyed hoping for terrific eats until after the first month's shakedown stumble. It's just not fair to the owner. Some places open badly but then straighten up. I remember, I was in the kitchen the day the kids from Crafters Gallery opened their restaurant at the corner on 250 where you turn for Crozet. First customer wanted a glass of water. Four people got busy ..... Lou may get it together. Or he may not. If he keeps using Steak-Ums I won't eat there anyway (and he might not last long). Have to try to keep the standards up. Especially in "one of the brainiest cities" that is also on Southern Living's list of foodiest towns. Two Gallants is live on as I type this -- bon appetit to all of you. .

@Max -- I had a halfway decent muffaletta at the Nordstrom's Cafe at Shortpump not long ago. Though it did remind me of something I used to serve at Christian's long ago.

"Gave it a second try yesterday, will not return" sounds like a death knell ... but the Riverside will still be terrific next year. For cheeseburgers, anyway.

Anyone wonder if Lou reads these comments? Someone might print them out and leave them off ... might help him create the perfect cheese steak of our dreams.

You are all wrong, the best Philly cheesesteak comes from the Varsity in West Chester, PA. Real steak, great rolls and tasty spices.

This is a college town. It is also a foodie town. There are a lot of smart people here. However, smart doesn't equate with great taste in food. You have to have some background in food to know when it is good. Most people in this town are too fickle to keep most of the good places to eat in business.

Let's all wich Lou good luck and see if he can't cut a deal with The Donald to sell cheesesteaks with the Trump wine!

As for payments processing for the new Lou's cheese steakery, Dwolla might be best -- transactions under $10 are free ...