Downtown Hidden Gems: Delco Dave's Steaks
Hidden in the alleyway behind Sartor Hamann, Delco Dave’s Steaks Brings Authentic Cheesesteaks to Lincoln.
A look into the hole-in-the-wall kitchen where Delco Dave's Steaks resides. Delco Dave's is located in the back of Gravity.
BY TESSA WISER
For the past year, David Leonard has had one main goal: to find a Philly cheesesteak that reminded him of home.
“I’d rather do one thing really really good, than ten things not so good,” Leonard said.
There’s only one thing on the menu at Delco Dave’s: the Philly cheesesteak.
In 2018 Philadelphia native David Leonard moved to Lincoln for his wife, a Lincoln native.
A classic Philly cheesesteak topped with cherry peppers, salted onions, and Cheez Whiz, with a side of Birch Beer. Delco Dave's may only serve one thing, but it is as good as it looks.
“I moved out here and I couldn’t find a Philly cheesesteak that I liked,” Leonard said. “And being born and raised in Philadelphia, it’s a signature dish. So I wanted to make a cheesesteak that I liked.”
Delco Dave’s Philly cheesesteak is unlike any other options in Lincoln; every ingredient and every detail goes towards creating an authentic Philadelphia experience.
Delco Dave’s also serves Birch Beer, a soda made from birch bark, similar to root beer. Birch Beer is a Pennsylvania staple and pairs perfectly with a cheesesteak.
David Leonard, owner of Delco Dave's Steaks.
Leonard sources his rolls from a bakery called Amoroso’s–one of the oldest bakeries in Philadelphia. Many Philly cheesesteak vendors from Philadelphia use this bakery for their buns.
He uses locally sourced beef, specifically ribeye, that he cuts himself. He also uses Cheez Whiz but is looking to expand his options.
“A Philly cheesesteak has one of the ‘Big Three’, Leonard said, “You got white American, provolone, and Cheez Whiz. I plan to have all three.”
Toppings include sauteed onions, mushrooms, and cherry peppers. Not green peppers, cherry peppers–something Leonard is adamant about.
“Everyone out here wants to put green peppers on a cheesesteak like I’m not putting green peppers on a cheesesteak,” Leonard said. “You want peppers on a cheesesteak, it's cherry peppers.”
Don’t expect green bell peppers to ever appear on the Delco Dave’s menu.
“I’m not anti-pepper, some people say that, like oh ‘he doesn’t put peppers on his cheesesteak,’ I just put the right peppers on there,” Leonard said. “[Green peppers] just taste bad, they ruin everything!”
Leonard made his first sale in September 2022 and had his first pop-up at the Tavern on the Square.
The main entrance of Delco Dave's Steaks and SoCal Taco Shop.
Delco Dave’s opened the doors of its current location on May 12, 2023. Leonard shares his establishment with Jeremy Smith, owner of SoCal Taco Shop. Both businesses operate in the same kitchen.
“We together are coming up with some signage and collaborations,” Leonard said. “We’re getting a sign that says ‘Hey come get your cheesesteaks and tacos here in the alley.”
Delco Dave’s is located behind, and connected to Gravity. You can access the storefront either through Gravity or through the alleyway behind Sartor Hamann.
Gravity is open Friday and Saturday nights from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Delco Dave's Steaks menu. All toppings are optional.
Delco Dave’s Steaks is hidden at the moment. Leonard has many ideas for signage in the near future, but until then he leans on word of mouth.
“I like to cut off samples, like I take a 12-inch cheesesteak, cut it down, and I just walk through a different business and offer samples,” Leonard said. “It works pretty well, sometimes we work out some sort of trade.”
Delco Dave’s Steaks is open Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; on Fridays, Delco Dave’s Steaks always has its doors open by happy hour.
In addition to the restaurant, Leonard still does the occasional pop-up. Find more information about where he’ll be on Delco Dave’s Steaks Facebook.
Delco Dave’s has had a recent spike in popularity from its appearance on Dad’s Man Cave, a podcast originating from Lincoln.
Leonard mentioned on the podcast that if you place an order and say “No Coast is the Best Coast,” you can get a dollar off your order.
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