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Is Sophie's food truck near Penn still around?

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chowinpa May 19, 2010 02:00 PM

Greetings! A friend who graduated Penn in the mid-eighties wanted me to do some research and see if Sophie's food truck is still around. It was his favorite when he was in school and is craving one of their pizza steaks! Is Sophie's still around? The most recent info I could find was that it was near 34th and Chestnut on weekdays only. Any more updated info and details will be greatly appreciated! Many thanks in advance!

  1. p
    pk12345 Dec 3, 2012 03:43 PM

    I'm Sophie's grandson and will tell you after my grandfather passed, my grandmother (Sophie) sold the truck and moved back to Greece. Thanks to everyone for the kind words. FYI, George's son-in-law now operates a food cart in front of the Franklin Institute and continues making these same cheesesteaks..

    5 Replies
    1. re: pk12345
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      chowinpa Dec 9, 2012 05:36 PM

      pk12345 I was so excited to see your post! Thank you for your reply! My husband was thrilled at the thought of being able to have the cheesesteak that has only been a wonderful memory for so many years. He went to the Franklin Institute this weekend in search of the truck but didn't find anything. Do you have information on specific hours/cross streets?
      Thank you again. Our very best to your family.

      1. re: chowinpa
        d
        drjane Feb 5, 2013 04:53 PM

        My guess would be that the truck is only there on weekdays, when folks working in the area, e.g., Moore College of Art, and the city buildings on the other side of Logan Square, are looking for lunch. Weekends there are mostly tourists around who wouldn't know from lunch trucks.

      2. re: pk12345
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        swatch Feb 4, 2013 09:32 AM

        Thanks for the update. Back in 1984, I lived in Hill House across the street from Sophie's truck as a Freshman at Penn. During my four years at Penn, I was a regular customer of Sophie's and remember George and Sophie well. After college, I returned to LA and missed their Pizza steaks. I returned to Penn 5 years later and George remembered me and remembered that I was from LA. The next time I'm in Philly, I'll look for the truck outside the Franklin Institute. What is the name of the new truck?

        RIP George.

        1. re: pk12345
          c
          curiouskiwi Apr 12, 2013 01:03 AM

          Thanks for the update. I too was a Penn student back in the early 80s and just today, I was telling my daughter (named Sophie, funnily enough) about your grandparents and their cheesesteaks. We live in New Zealand, so she's never had a cheesesteak! My husband googled and found this forum. :) Here's a photo my friend took back in 1989 when we were all back on campus for homecoming and made a point to get pre-game cheesesteaks. Thought you might like it:
          http://www.flickr.com/photos/curiousk...

          1. re: pk12345
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            chowinpa Apr 16, 2013 03:40 PM

            Hi friends! After much searching we found the food truck! We were on our way to the Barnes and decided to explore around the Franklin Institute. We discovered a cart named Yanni's located on the northeast corner of 20th and Vine, next to the library. We told our story to the friendly man working the grill and he told us that he is George and Sophie's son-in-law! My husband shared all of his wonderful memories of the lunch truck at Penn and how all of his college friends keep asking about it. Yanni told us that he makes the steaks the same way George did and proved it by making the two of us delicious cheesesteaks! The cheesesteaks were great and a wonderful walk down memory lane! We will definitely go back because the steaks were fantastic and Yanni was a delight!

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            LisaPA May 19, 2010 02:56 PM

            I've worked in UCity since late 2005 and I've never heard of this place. I don't know if there are any food trucks at that corner now -- they've built a huge apartment building on the northwest corner that's set back off the street with a Starbucks right next to it. Most food trucks are on 38th, or on Spruce or Market, with a few next to the Penn gym.

            Here's a link with a map that shows all the trucks in the area. http://www.pennfoodtrucks.com/index.php

            7 Replies
            1. re: LisaPA
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              Boognish May 19, 2010 04:21 PM

              Yeah, I've never seen a food truck at 34 & Chestnut. I can't imagine one, actually. At least not now with all the traffic.

              1. re: Boognish
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                chowinpa May 19, 2010 04:45 PM

                Thank you both for your quick replies!
                Does anyone else remember this truck or know what happened to owners?
                My friends said the cheesesteaks were amazing!

                1. re: chowinpa
                  r
                  rocknroll52 May 20, 2010 07:27 AM

                  I graduated from Penn class of '80 and I remember this truck. It used to be parked outside Hill House on 34th St. I'd be amazed if it were still there. I remember her as being Greek and they had great spanakopita. Don't particularly recall the cheesesteaks...

                  1. re: rocknroll52
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                    chopinpa May 21, 2010 06:45 PM

                    When Penn organized the location of the campus trucks, and built little plazas for some of them, Sophie's moved to the NE corner of 33rd & Spruce, right next to Franklin Field. But they haven't been there for awhile; don't know why they stopped serving the campus.

                    They did make a great cheese steak!

                  2. re: chowinpa
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                    dtuna42 Aug 18, 2010 09:34 PM

                    I used to work for Sophie when I was a kid- they moved - dad died a few years ago. I think Sophie went to Florida wit kids but could have returned. They herded all the trucks to certain areas a few year back and thinks aren't the same...

                    1. re: dtuna42
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                      JanePond Jan 4, 2012 03:45 PM

                      Sophie's Food Truck used to be right outside HUP on 34th St in the early 80's. She was also the first to have a truck running all night so those on 11-7 and other shifts could enjoy her food. Long gone, apparently. She and her family used to run a Deli in Schenectady, NY.

                      1. re: JanePond
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                        dtuna42 Jan 4, 2012 05:12 PM

                        That is the same Sophie - from Schenectady, NY, last name is Zarbolis. The truck moved around to different locations, the last place they were when I worked for them was on Market Street, around the 3600 - 3700 block area.

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