Philadelphia Citypaper Article

by Carolyn Wyman Published: March 3, 2010
Two local cheesesteak shops are taking an unprecedented approach to interior design.

Demi Kollias didn’t choose (or own) the building of the original Claymont Steak business, in Claymont, Del., which she bought in 2005. So her second location, which opened in December ’09, was her first chance to execute her vision of a steak shop comparable to the cafés in her native Greece. “In Europe and in Greece especially, even the places that serve sandwiches and soup have a nice environment,” says Kollias. “I wanted to do the same thing here.”

The shop’s chic-modern feel and vibrant colors are meant to appeal to the local student population, as is the 9-foot-long picture of the U of D football team that dominates the back wall, a striking riff on the steak shop tradition of 8-by-10 photos (of celebrity visitors, or, in the case of University City’s Abner’s, neighboring college sports teams). Both DiZio and Kollias say they’ve gotten nothing but positive feedback from customers, which include women, children and white-collar businessmen they believe are drawn in by the more upscale surroundings.

But, DiZio says, “Even the construction guys comment on how nice and clean it is.”