The simple but effective menu contains all the necessities while heeding George Washington's warning against party politics and foreign entaglements. All-ribeye steak or marinated chicken sandwiches come topped your choice of cheese (Cheez Whiz, provolone, American, pepper jack) in authentic Philly fashion. An original steak starts at $6.55, with variations such as the pizza steak or Cajun chicken costing a bit extra ($6.55–$7.24). Complete the experience with an order of fresh-cut naked fries ($2.10). Take a cheesesteak break with one of many specialty sandwiches, such as the meatball and provolone ($6.30) or the veggie (grilled onions, mushrooms, and peppers topped with melted cheese, lettuce and tomato, $5.62). Skip sandwiches altogether for greener-pastured specialty salads ($5.38–$7.01), or feed finicky child eaters off the simple kids' menu.
In the most basic of terms, kitchens are places where ingredients come together to create a satisfying whole; the marriage of Pat and Brigitte Joyce, co-owners of 17th Street Cafe, proves that this pairing of complements is not always limited to the food. In 1988, Pat was starring as the café's executive chef when Brigitte joined his kitchen staff. Over their years working together, their love simmered on slow, low heat until they were finally married in 1995. Seven years after tying the knot, the couple jumped at the chance to own a piece of their shared history and took over 17th Street Cafe, which they now operate as a labor of love on many levels.
Today, two staple entrees—the pork chop au poivre and the veal with crab—are the lone holdovers from the original owners' menu. These favorites of long-time regulars join a revamped menu crafted from sustainable and organic ingredients whenever possible. Pat's current favorite—chicken- and asiago-stuffed pasta "pillows" served in an aioli sauce—exemplifies this new approach, which tends to add an innovative twist to traditional fare such as pasta, seafood, veal, and chops. Lunch also hosts a wide array of fan favorites, including the stuffed Portabella–a large mushroom cap filled with zucchini, sweet peppers, onions, carrots, artichoke hearts, domestic mushrooms, and spinach topped with asiago cheese. Chefs Ed and Lance craft creative burgers to sate midday appetites as well. Longtime patrons opt for the Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner burger, cooked to order and topped with peanut butter, a fried egg, bacon, American cheese, lettuce, and tomato.
Inside the dining space, chocolate-brown and gold walls flank dark oak tables, lending the space a Mediterranean look that has been featured in several film and jeans commercials. Location scouts aren’t the only guests to have taken notice of the delicious entrees and cool ambiance—players from the Pittsburgh Penguins can often be spotted dining on puck-sized veal cutlets at nearby tables.