Jimmy G’s closes popular cheesesteak shop on North Broad without a word

The building at the Ridge Avenue intersection is now for sale.

Jimmy G's Steaks at Broad and Ridge

Jimmy G's Steaks at Broad and Ridge

Mark Henninger / Imagic Digital
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Jimmy G’s Steaks bowed out without a word.

No post on its Facebook page. No notice on its website. No “thank you” to customers for wolfing down their cheesesteaks and fries on North Broad for nearly eight years.

To this day, customers routinely journey out to the late-night steak joint on North Broad street only to walk away hungry and confused. It wasn’t until recently that Google even caught up and marked the North Broad business “temporarily closed.”

Local businesses have called it quits during the pandemic for a number of reasons. Was revenue decline? Worker shortage? Or simply high time to hang up the hat?

Multiple attempts to reach the owners — father and son duo Glen and Nick Strafella, who run a check cashing business nearby — were unsuccessful. But a for sale sign went up on the building in late July.

“The owner said he wanted to retire,” realtor Daniel Devine with 20/20 Real Estate told Billy Penn.

Several bidders are actively looking at the $2.2 million triangular property at 695 N. Broad St., the realtor added, but for now it’s unclear what’s to come for the growing intersection.

In the near-decade since Jimmy G’s opened at Broad and Ridge Avenue, the crossing has gained an Aldi supermarket and two apartment towers. The blocks around it have filled up with restaurants, including a liquor-licensed outpost of Santucci’s Pizza, contemporary small plates cafe Clementine’s, and Italian fine dining spot Cicala.

The Strafella family didn’t necessarily get into the steak business for their culinary passion.

Father and son Strafella first “bought the building to thwart a possible competitor” to their company United Financial Services Group in the check-cashing business, the Inquirer reported in 2014. According to the paper, family friend Jimmy Markasis helped convert the old building into a sandwich shop.

Jimmy G's closed its doors during summer 2021 without any signs or posts on social media

Jimmy G's closed its doors during summer 2021 without any signs or posts on social media

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

The owners touted Jimmy G’s as “the first true North Philadelphia cheesesteak restaurant concept,” despite numerous precursors. For example, Max’s Steaks is considered a North Philly institution at Broad and Erie.

The Strafellas built their customer base three miles south.

When doors opened in November 2013, that stretch of Broad Street was much less populated. In a city swollen with cheesesteakeries, that held appeal — plus the location was in the shadow of the then-redeveloping Divine Lorraine Hotel, and right next to the Fairmount subway stop.

With a walk-up window and distinctive red-and-white signage, Jimmy G’s looked a bit like a northside version of Pat’s or Geno’s. They were open later than most in the area, too, slinging steaks until 3 a.m. on the weekends.

The now-defunct menu, which also included fries, chicken cutlets, and lamb tzatziki steaks, won some accolades, with Philadelphia magazine in 2014 rating the cheesesteak “very good.”

The steak shop’s name won’t disappear immediately — at least not in federal court. This week, a former Jimmy G’s employee filed a lawsuit in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania alleging that she was sexually harassed by her supervisor there in 2019, an incident the lawsuit claims management handled improperly.

It was not immediately clear from court records if the defendants had retained an attorney.

Ian Bryson, an attorney for the former employee, said: “Despite the closing of the restaurant, we intend to pursue justice on behalf of our client.”

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