First Look: Joe's Steaks + Soda Opens in Fishtown

Hand-cut fries, vegan cheesesteaks and black-bean burgers
March 31, 2015
by Danya Henninger

On April 1, Joe’s Steaks + Soda Shop (the Northeast favorite formerly known as Chink’s) opens its second location at the corner of Frankford and Girard in Fishtown. A menu of classics made exactly like those on Torresdale Avenue will be complemented by additions suited to the hip neighborhood — think hand-cut fries, vegan cheesesteaks and a black-bean burger.

Although all fixtures are modern and furniture is new, the atmosphere of the 70-seat interior feels cozily old-school. Fantastic teal and orange signage was done in a vintage style, and comfy tan booths sit next to brick-tile walls. Owner Joe Groh’s son, Patrick Groh, will oversee the food at the new venture, and Zagat 30 Under 30 honoree Stefani Mahoney will be GM. 

Flip through for a look inside and a peek at the menu.

1 W. Girard Ave.; 215-423-5637


Just like the original — meaning really great. Chopped onions (if you want them), plus rib-eye slices that are cooked to order and chopped ever so slightly before being topped with your choice of cheese and slid into a Liscio’s roll. Gluten-free rolls from Sweet Christine’s are also available ($8.50).

Hand-Cut Fries

Fresh-cut fries aren’t easy to do right, but Groh and team have cracked the code. Skin-on Russet potatoes are blanched and then fried a second time to order, and the process creates a bowl of fries that are crispy but not greasy ($6.75). A side of Cheez Whiz is an optional add-on.

Vegan Cheesesteak

Groh and Mahoney sampled a half-dozen of Philly’s best meat-free cheesesteaks on their quest to create their own, and gleaned several tips along the way. “Steak” from purveyor Vegadelphia is cooked with mushrooms in vegan mayo to make it extra creamy, and provolone-style Daiya dairy-free “cheese” actually melts into the mix, which is piled on a vegan roll from Baker Street Bread ($11).

Black-Bean Burger

A dish even meat-eaters will love. Housemade patties containing black beans, oats, vegetables and spices are topped with a thick, spicy guacamole and served on a challah-style bun. At $6, it’s a steal.

Chocolate Milkshake

The multiple frothing machines lined up behind the counter are so modern you can hardly hear them hum, but the creamy, sweet drinks they produce are as old-school as you can get ($4.95). Classic and seasonal flavors are all made with Turkey Hill ice cream, which is also available in sundaes, egg creams or ice cream sodas.

Reminiscent of a ‘50s-era soda fountain, the interior features seating at booths, tables and spinning stools along the counter.

A row of photographs above the booths features black-and-white scenes from the Tacony shop and views of Philadelphia from the past half-century. 

Tucked between the main dining room and the prep kitchen is another set of tables, backed by a wall-size shot of Joe’s original location. You can even glimpse founder Samuel “Chink” Sherman in the mirror.

Patrick Groh doesn’t call himself a chef, but he is in charge of all the food at Joe’s sophomore venture. Also on his menu are hot dogs, burgers, sausage sandwiches and chicken cheesesteaks.

Located right across from Johnny Brenda’s and just a few doors down from Frankford Hall, the cheesesteak joint should be popular with the after-bar crowd — it will serve through late-night on Thursday-Saturday.

Hours will be 11 AM-10 PM, Sunday-Wednesday, and 10 AM-3 AM, Thursday-Saturday.

veggie burgers