Philadelphia has Pat’s King of Steaks and Geno’s Steaks but when it comes to eating a Philly cheesesteak in North Texas, there’s another name to consider -- Fred’s.
“This the closest you can get a cheese steak this side of the Delaware River,” said Dave Buck after devouring his Philly cheesesteak.
Owner Fred Walker lived in a building on seventeenth and Girard Street in North Philly. Growing up in the notoriously tough neighborhood, he used to meet up with friends at their favorite neighborhood cheesesteak spot. That’s where he watched, learned and devoured enough cheesesteaks to give him the much-needed cred when he opened his Plano store nine years ago. He used to have a restaurant across the street from Jesuit High School in North Dallas, but shut it down after Starbucks opened shop.
Fans of Fred’s sandwiches come from as far away as Denton, McKinney, Allen and Fort Worth to satiate their cheesesteak cravings. His brightly colored steak shop is even popular with current and former professional athletes.
“Jim Jeff came into my store. The first time he came in, you could see the expression on his face … he placed his order, sat down but when he sat down he kind of looked up at the Eagle Wall and then his head went down immediately and he said ‘Oh, I’ve got to deal with this,” Walker told us.
People who grew up in the “City of Brotherly Love” aren’t the easiest crowd to please when it comes to their city’s celebrated sandwich. But Fred’s has won over most former Philly residents who have stopped in for a taste of home.
“It’s the closest thing we can get to what we had back in Philadelphia,” said Mike Gawlik, who grew up in Pennsylvania.
According to Kevin Holt, who learned how to make a Philly cheesesteak from Walker, Fred’s is “better than Pat’s and has more character than Geno’s.”
Fred’s has reached out to both iconic East Coast restaurants in hopes of having a ‘steak down’, but neither eatery has responded.
Fred's Downtown Philly
2229 W 15th St
Plano, TX 75075