Trenton Style Steak Sandwich

Cheese Steak Trenton Style (Pete's Steak House)

Pete's Steak House, 1855 N Olden Ave ext, Ewing, NJ
Open 7 days, M-Sa 7 AM - 9 PM; Su 7 AM - 8 PM
(609) 771-6747   Website    Google Maps

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(Updated July 2015)
There’s something about a grilled steak with melted cheese on a torpedo roll that satisfies any carnivore’s cravings. Surprisingly, it’s not sandwich that was popular outside of the lower Delaware Valley until Philly marketed its version to the rest of the world. Now most of the world thinks of the “Philly Cheese Steak”. However, there is a Trenton variant that is authentic and delicious in its own right.

The Pete’s Steak House we find here traces its origins to the original Pete’s Steak House on Hudson St in Chambersburg. The owner here was one of two partners in the 3-store chain that had eventually developed from that store. When the partners decided to close Chambersburg, they split: one took this restaurant in Ewing, the other took over Pete’s Steakhouse Tavern in Hamilton. The food, menu, and decor of this restaurant is nearly identical to what you used to find in the ‘Burg.

The original Pete’s was founded after WW II by a former army cook. The foundation of its business was serving sandwiches to workers between shifts at the Roebling Wirerope plant. Pete’s claims to have independently invented the steak sandwich. Whether you believe that or not, the key difference between a Pete’s sandwich and a classic Philly cheese steak is that the Trenton-style sandwich keeps the steak more or less intact; whereas the steak in a Philly cheesesteak is always chopped up at the end of the grilling process.

Whatever the differences, Pete’s delivers a REALLY GOOD Trenton-style Cheesesteak even if it is in Ewing.

  1. Pete’s uses fresh-sliced, high quality steak, not a preformed, frozen slab of shaved beef.
  2. Like a “Philly” cheesesteak, Pete’s will top your sandwich with Provolone or Cheese Whiz. However, they’ll also top it with American or mozzarella. But, hey, this is Trenton-style! We recommend the Provolone, which has a lovely, sharp kick, and costs no more than American.
  3. Pete’s offers a range of fixings including onions, mushrooms, and peppers. The mushrooms are fresh (never canned). I’ll quibble slightly with the onions, which I prefer grilled raw. Pete’s pre-grills the onions, then warms them on the grill before serving.

All that said, Pete’s sandwich is great, if a tad small. Hungry guys will probably want to order the larger sizes.

In addition to cheese steaks, Pete’s serves authentic tomato pies (by the slice, or made to order). Pete’s has been nominated for our Tomato Pie competition, so we’ll have more to say about this soon. They also have burgers, fish and chips (freshly batter dipped fish filets, Wed-Fri only), and do a variety of other sandwiches including an Italian roast pork with broccoli rabe.

Prices are reasonable for the quality.

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Burgers/Sandwiches | Pizza/Tomato Pie | Restaurants

11 thoughts on “Cheese Steak Trenton Style”

  1. Ranking Pete’s in contention with traditional Philly cheesesteak haunts is an absolute joke. Lame at best…I will never return. Hiddentrenton.com is doing their readers a great disservice by recommending this greasy spoon!

    1. Motivated by this comment, I went back to Pete’s and ate a sandwich. I found the the restaurant was clean and well run, the menu is the same, and the owner/manager is still one of the original partners from the ‘Burg. I did decide to rewrite the review: Pete’s makes a good cheesesteak, but it’s NOT Philly-style, something I didn’t understand at the time. We’re happy to continue recommending this restaurant.

  2. i worked at petes in ewing as an origanal employee.the place was always very clean.the food was always amazing.it was opened by the same owner as the one in the burg, and is still run by some of the same people who started it.they used top notch products and gave great portions.

  3. I had three beers and a double steak sandwich, 22 bucks with tip. Not bad, not great- the place was packed on a Monday and people seemed pretty happy to be there- they definitely have a lot of regulars. Id go there again- steak sandwich is a little drier than the traditional cheese steak and also a little chewier. All in all- not a terrible place.

    1. You must be describing Pete’s Steakhouse Tavern in Hamilton, as the Ewing location does not have a liquor license. While it shares a common origin with this restaurant, it’s now under separate ownership. It’s on our list to review.

  4. Another note to tag onto Pete’s… the original one, formerly on Hudson Street in Chambersburg is gone. The location on North Olden Avenue in Ewing, while opened by the family who started on Hudson, sold that location to other operators (as noted by Chris C below).

    The chapter of the story that is missing is that once the Hudson Street location closed, the family opened a new, expanded location in Hamilton. 523 Whitehorse Avenue is where you can now find Pete’s Steak House Tavern; for those familiar with the area, this is the building the formerly was the home of Monte’s, right at the intersection where Whitehorse-Mercerville Road splits off from Whitehorse Avenue. The menu is expanded at this location compared to the previous locations, and is supported with a liquor license and full bar.

  5. This place is awful!!!!! It isn’t the best steak, more like the worst!! I have tried it twice and will never go back. The service is awful, the steaks are dried up, over cooked, and very light on the meat. Plus the place is filthy dirty. STAY AWAY!!

  6. Hey, I run the Pete’s Steak House in Ewing Facebook page. First of all, Pete’s steaks are not made with processed meat or cheese. We only use the best quality meat and cheese. We have recently added more meat to them as well and the same quality fresh baked rolls! 🙂 We also have great hand turned shakes that you need to try and a great new onion ring recipe! Please come in again, and join our facebook site for specials and updated news on Pete’s in Ewing!

  7. You do know that Pete’s Steak House on Hudson Street is closed, don’t you? A great loss to what’s left of the Burg.

    Editor’s comment: Marge, I wasn’t aware and I’m sad that it’s closed. However, I think it would be more accurate to speak of “what’s left of the ‘old’ Burg”. There’s actually a lot of good stuff happening there, though none of it is Italian.

    I’ve gotten restaurant food dozens of times in the last year just around the corner from Pete’s on S. Clinton at the Guate Rico Deli. It’s truly extraordinary, and is much better value than Pete’s. Not as nice to sit down in, though you can comfortably sit down at MiTierra on the next block, and its food is really good too, and still better value than Pete’s, though not as mind boggling reasonable as Guate Rico. Of course we’re talking tacos, tostadas, and pupusas, not steak sandwiches and tomato pie.

    When I did have a hankering for a cheesesteak (and with my cholesterol levels, it is thankfully not very often) I would head up to JoJo’s. When I want a tomato pie, I go to Papa’s (as do you). In thinking back over the past three years, I think I’ve eaten at Pete’s twice following the initial review in Hidden Trenton. So while part of me is sad that Pete’s is gone, I guess I’m not going to miss it much. Anyway, one can always go to Ewing and pretend you’re in Chambersburg (not!).

  8. Sorry folks. Pete’s Cheesesteaks are vastly overrated. I tried them several times, they were light on the meat (processed) and very greasy. Service was pretty lame as well.

    Maybe they were having a bad day (or days), but they are to good cheesesteaks as Olive Garden is to real Italian food.

    Editors Comment:  We’ll have to check into Pete’s to make sure standards haven’t fallen.  I know for sure every time I’ve been there, the meat was real beef, not processed.  I do agree with the comments about the size of the steak sandwich.  Pete’s aren’t big, though you can pay extra for extra beef (recommended).  This means for hearty eaters Pete’s isn’t a bargain, it’s priced about where most places are.  For light eaters, however, it’s a great deal.

  9. Pete’s has delicious steaks, the best outside of Philly. The fish and chips (Wed-Fri) are made fresh to order, hand battered, and some of the best I have had in the USA. Plus their tomato pie is surprisingly good as well. Recommended.

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