Joe’s Steaks and Soda Shop, the restaurant in Northeast Philly formerly known as Chink’s, has been slinging some of Philly’s best cheesesteaks since 1949. To mark its upcoming 70th anniversary, owner Joe Groh is attempting to* mash together iconic Philly foods in sandwich and milkshake form. His celebratory concoctions will be available at both the original location, 6030 Torresdale Avenue, and at the newer Joe’s in Fishtown (1 W. Girard Avenue). Groh took the shop over in 1999 after almost 20 years working there, changing the name in 2013.
First up in the anniversary lineup is a birch beer milkshake made with ice cream from Little Baby’s, available any day this month. In June, Groh is buying up honey-glazed doughnuts from Federal Donuts — the kind you get why you buy Federal Donuts’ fried chicken — for a doughnut cheesesteak available on Tuesdays only.
July, August, and September bring more milkshakes: a Why I Love Philly shake with a Little Baby’s flavor incorporating Peanut Chews, Tastykakes, and Pretzels, a cherry wooder ice shake made with John’s Water Ice, and a coffee milkshake featuring La Colombe coffee, topped with a Tastykake mini-doughnut.
In October, head to Joe’s on Tuesdays for a cheesesteak on a pretzel bun. November brings cheesesteaks with scrapple (also Tuesdays only). In December, Joe’s is using Termini Brothers Bakery cannoli in a milkshake.
Come January 2019, on Tuesdays, Groh is using kielbaba from Czerw’s, the shop that’s been smoking its own kielbasa in Port Richmond since 1938, for a kielbasa cheesesteak.
In February, chocolate-covered potato chip milkshakes with Herr’s potato chips are on the menu. In April, the shake is Butterscotch Krimpet-flavored. And in between, on Tuesdays in March, stop by Joe’s for what might be the best of the 70th anniversary offerings: Groh is getting pound cakes from Stock’s Bakery in Port Richmond and stuffing steak and cheese between two thick, buttery slices.
*Update May 18, 2018, 2:15 p.m.: In response to the statement from a publicist for Joe’s Steaks that included “Joe’s is just using the product,” Lost Bread Co. contacted Eater to clarify that Lost Bread Co. is not collaborating with Joe’s Steaks on this in any way and has never sold pretzel rolls, or other products, to Joe’s Steaks.
Update May 18, 2018, 2:08 p.m.: Federal Donuts also reached out to Eater to clarify that the doughnut and fried chicken chain is not involved in Joe’s Steaks’ anniversary offerings. The company explains: “While Federal Donuts was not told and will not be taking part in this, we would like to wish Joe’s Steaks a Happy 70th Birthday. We’re totally flattered, but we were saving Federal Donuts cheesesteaks for our 70th Birthday in 2081.”
Update: May 18, 2018, 10:46 a.m.: This article originally included a mention of Lost Bread Co. Lost Bread Co. asked to be removed, explaining the bakery is not working with Joe’s Steaks. A publicist for Joe’s Steaks confirms: “Joe’s is just using the product, it is not a collaboration with any other brands.”