Saying he "misses being in the thick of it," Tony Luke Jr. is getting back into the daily grind of the cheesesteak business.
Luke — an actor who spent years as the public face of his family's South Philadelphia sandwich shop before a falling-out — recently took over the franchised Tony Luke's location in the Crossings at Twin Oaks in Sicklerville (663 Cross Keys Rd.), which he plans to reopen March 24 - National Cheesesteak Day. He will offer free sandwiches that day from noon to 6 p.m.
"For lack of better word, I'm looking at this as Tony Luke's 2.0," he said.
This store, his new home base, will have a multimedia room equipped with a camera so he can chat on his YouTube channel with guests, as well as a sort of cheesesteak museum honoring Pat's King of Steaks and others instrumental in the sandwich's popularity.
He said the shop's menu will be streamlined to include only the core sandwiches and fries. "I don't know anyone who comes to Tony Luke's for a salad or a burger," he said. The regular menu will be offered starting March 25.
Luke (Anthony Lucidonio Jr.) and his father and brother Nicky have been embroiled in litigation for more than a year over business dealings - a topic that he declined to discuss.
Acting wise, Luke and fellow Philadelphian Craig Shoemaker are working on a buddy-comedy/reality series for BBC Worldwide called Funny Food (premise: Luke shows Shoemaker how food is made at great hideaway eateries, and Shoemaker takes Luke to comedy venues to see if he can deliver).
Luke will open for Shoemaker for five shows March 30 to April 1 at Helium.