Famous Philly cheesesteak shop greased

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PHILADELPHIA -- A longtime cheesesteak shop with family ties to the inventors of the famous sandwich has gotten the final order to leave a historic downtown market and will be replaced with another cheesesteak shop.

Reading Terminal Market officials gave Rick Olivieri a final hearing Wednesday and also spent the week discussing their reasons for the change, spokesman Kevin Feeley said. The board then reaffirmed its decision not to renew the lease of Rick's Philly Steaks, he said.

"The board's decision is final," Mr. Feeley said. The 104-year-old farmers' market, underneath what was once a massive train station, plans to replace Rick's with Tony Luke's Old Philly Style Sandwiches, a locally owned chain.

Mr. Olivieri, owner of the 25-year-old sandwich shop, said he did not know whether he had to leave by Wednesday. He earlier vowed to would fight the eviction in court and said Friday he planned to meet with attorneys.

Mr. Olivieri is the grandson of Pasquale "Pat" Olivieri, who founded the cheesesteak shop with his brother back in 1933. He headed the market's merchants association for six years and suggested that his lease may have been terminated because he often clashed with the management.

Market officials have denied any such reason and said they wanted to bring in "a premier cheesesteak shop."

A rally scheduled last weekend in support of Rick's Philly Steaks was called off after the meeting was scheduled between Mr. Olivieri and market officials.


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