Rick Olivieri, ‘Prince of Steaks’, Dies at 57

Sad local note. Michael Klein, writing for The Philadelphia Inquirer:

Rick Olivieri, 57, a grandson of cheesesteak inventor Pat Olivieri and the former owner of the popular Rick’s Steaks at Reading Terminal Market, died Sunday, June 12, at his Drexel Hill home after a 10-year battle with early onset frontotemporal dementia.

“He fought it for every minute,” said his wife, Debi, who met Mr. Olivieri in summer 1984, shortly after she took a job at the Bassetts turkey stand a few aisles away from Olivieri Prince of Steaks, where Mr. Olivieri had worked for his father, Herb, a son of Pasquale “Pat” Olivieri of Pat’s King of Steaks fame. (Pat’s, at Ninth and Wharton Streets for 90 years, is operated by Frank Olivieri, his cousin.)

Rick’s was, hands-down, the best cheesesteak I’ve ever had. First, each sandwich was grilled fresh — your steak only started grilling after you ordered. This meant lines were long at lunchtime, but the sandwiches were impeccable. Second, Rick’s used really good steak — a special cut of ribeye from a local butcher here in Philly. Third — and this is key — they were reasonably portioned. There are a lot of good cheesesteak joints here, but most of them pack way too much meat into each sandwich. Rick’s used exactly six thin slices on each sandwich — just right.

Lastly is the fact that Rick was always there, seemingly always manning the grill himself. I ate at Rick’s dozens of times. There might have been someone else manning the grill once.

Thursday, 23 June 2022