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A flag always flies at Philadelphias in Westmoreland

by: Rita A. Leonard Steve Moore, owner of Philadelphia’s Steaks & Hoagies in Westmoreland, stands beside a replica of our country’s first flag.

On Veteran's Day, the celebrated 11-11-11 this year, as usual sidewalk flags were flying in most of the business districts served by THE BEE, courtesy of the Scouts and the Lions Clubs.

But inside one business in Westmoreland, the flag flies not just on a few holidays a year, but every day.

At Philadelphia's Steaks and Hoagies at 6410 S.E. Milwaukie Avenue, a flag greets visitors at the door. Owner of the restaurant since 1987 Steve Moore explains that 'it's a copy of the original 13-star 'Betsy Ross' flag, for which the City of Philadelphia is famous.' That 13-star flag, and our current 50-star flag, both appear on the seal of the Veteran's Administration - linking veterans of the American Revolution to those from America's more recent conflicts.

As it happens, Moore's enthusiasm for Philadelphia's fare is natural and life-long. He was raised in Philadelphia, 'the city of Brotherly Love.'

'I grew up eating Philly cheese-steak sandwiches, which happen to be our best-seller here. I still have relatives back there, and when our family went back to locate Philadelphia memorabilia to decorate the restaurant, we spent one whole day shopping, and hit the jackpot!'

The walls of Philadelphia's Steaks and Hoagies are a veritable museum of historical Americana. There's a Betsy Ross area, a Ben Franklin area, a Mummer's (fraternal organization) section, a Revolutionary War area, and a section with memorabilia from several Philadelphia sports teams.

There are posters of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Dutch items, a Hershey's chocolate display, and a wall dedicated to the Original Bookbinder's Restaurant - the oldest restaurant in Philadelphia.

'Customers still bring in historical items for me,' says Moore. 'Just recently, one man gave me a bunch of Philadelphia sports pennants, and another brought in a large black-and-white framed photo of the local baseball stadium. Sometimes I check out eBay, and have picked up some neat items from there, too. I especially like the 20+ commemorative American Revolution plate collection on display on the upper level.'

Moore has led Llewellyn students on field trips through the restaurant, quizzing them on their knowledge of American history. 'Do you know who they are?' he'll ask, pointing to Betsy Ross or Ben Franklin. 'Do you know what this is?' he'll inquire, pointing to a large Liberty Bell lamp. Later, after the students wash their hands, Moore shows them how to make a hoagie, which they wrap and bring home.

Though he's owned the restaurant since 1987, Steve Moore purchased the building it's in later, in 1991, and in 1994 it became one of Portland's pioneer brew pubs with a three-barrel capacity. Currently, Moore is working with architects to build a 2,000-sq.-ft addition at the back of the restaurant, to upgrade to being a seven barrel brewery.

Although the restaurant is open 7 days a week, providing customers their Philadelphia cuisine, Moore added, of the day on which we did this interview, 'Veteran's Day is always a very busy day for us.'

Philadelphia's is open every day from 9 am till 10 pm, and until 11 pm on Friday and Saturday nights.