The Philadelphia Cheesesteak must be respected. That’s something I’ve come to learn as a denizen of Chicago, who thought for years that a Philly cheesesteak was simply an Italian beef. After being raked over the coals for my midwestern mistake, I know now that the simple yet succulent creation is a beast all its own, and in the case of Richard Lussi, worth bringing to the afterlife.
Lussi, a 76-year-old grandfather was a hardcore Pat’s King of Steaks enthusiast, to the point that he would drive hours to get two of the famous grinders/sandwiches (???) whenever he was even near Philadelphia. In his later years, his family asked him what he would bring to Heaven if he could. “He said, ‘What do you think? Pat’s cheesesteak! Pat’s wiz without — no onions because they’ll come back to haunt me,’” his grandson Dominic Lussi told Philly.com.
And so, when Lussi passed away last October, that’s exactly what he was buried with — two Philly cheesesteaks with cheeze wiz without the fried onions. The man’s favorite order. “It shocked some people that we did it, but not the people that really knew him,” John, Richard’s friend, said. “We joked about wondering if he was going to share the other one when he got to heaven.”
According to Pat’s owner Frank Olivieri Jr., who is related to the original creator of the cheesesteak, he was rightfully blown away by the news that a man wanted to be buried with his signature meal: “I’m flattered, bewildered, and proud that someone would hold the Philly cheesesteak and Pat’s Philly cheesesteak so dear that they want to take it to the afterlife with them. Maybe it’s a bribe for St. Peter.”
If the recommendation of a man who wanted to bring “Pat’s wiz without” to the afterlife is enough to entice an order, here’s how you should properly order one, so you don’t get sent to the back of the line.