Even on a sticky summer afternoon when temperatures scrape triple digits, Malik's Philly's Phamous Cheesesteaks still draws plenty of customers.
First founded by Spurs' alum Malik Rose, the business has been revived as a popular food truck by Rose's cousin Robert Rose and wife McKayla, who run the truck themselves. While Malik is no longer directly involved with Philly's, the couple has maintained a steadily rising clientele and, since starting operations in December 2013, has reached the point where expansion is in the works.
"We just recently opened up a little shop over on the West Side [on] Military and Marbach inside the Chevron," co-owner McKayla Rose said. "We've been opened for three months and looking to expand again as soon as we get that perfected. We'll keep on moving around town in the mean time."
The cheesesteaks themselves are highly customizable with every condiment imaginable, but the most popular among customers and owners is the Original Philly, made with finely chopped rib-eye beef steak, melted white American cheese, grilled onion and mayo soaked into a soft, white hoagie.
If you want a free side of respect from the Philly natives, there are three ingredients to never forget to add: salt, pepper and ketchup.
"You always know someone is from Philly if they ask for it with salt, pepper [and] ketchup. That's how they eat it up there," McKayla said, as Robert at the grill chimed in: "That's the only way to eat it."
While the new location is a big leap, the truck is still a valuable asset. Six days a week, the Roses trek to a different location around San Antonio and are supported greatly by a regular customer base. South, West, Stone Oak, UTSA, SeaWorld — name the spot, they're there. The best part about a food truck is the ability to quickly adapt to new settings.
"If a spot isn't good you, pull out," Rose said. "The cool thing about the food truck is that we know where to open restaurants because we're able to go around the city and kind of fill it out. We're able to grow our customer base by showing up on those sides of town so we know where our best sales are [and] we know where people like to have us," Rose said.
The freedom that comes with the truck also means dealing with some disadvantages, such as unpredictable weather conditions and limited storage. The truck becomes most uncomfortable during summer and winter but it doesn't stop customers, who will either call or text ahead to put in orders for pickup and inquire about locations.
"We're pretty fortunate to have customers who are pretty devoted and dedicated to finding us ... they still beat the heat or the storms, whatever it is," Rose said.
Malik Rose is long gone from the Spurs, but his Philly legacy lives on in SA.
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.