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Philadelphia's in Westmoreland gets a whole lot bigger

by: RITA A. LEONARD - Philadelphia's Steaks & Hoagies, across from QFC in Westmoreland, is currently undergoing a huge expansion.Steve Moore, owner of Philadelphia’s Steaks & Hoagies across from QFC Market in Westmoreland, is excited about the major expansion under way at his 25-year-old business.

The huge addition built onto the back of the restaurant will house Moore Beer Brewing, and more than double the building’s size. “I looked into expanding the business five years ago, and finally decided to just build it here, on property that I already own,” he says.

Philadelphia's has been popular since it opened – focusing on hearty Philadelphia-style cheesesteak sandwiches and dinner menu items. The décor is comprised of an array of historical Americana from the days of the American Revolution, when Philadelphia was “the place to be” for people like Benjamin Franklin and John Adams.

Moore plans to upgrade and re-brand the brewery area of the building, making it an integral part of the dining experience. “We’re looking to create a different ambiance for the evening crowd,” he reveals.

The expansion, begun last October by BnK Construction, has drawn interest from the neighborhood, and has progressed nearly to completion. During the February 16th annual “Zwickelmania Oregon Brewery Tour”, Moore was delighted to showcase the new space to visitors.

“We had over l50 people come this year,” he says, “That was more than ten times the number we’ve ever had before. We’ve been brewing Moore Beer since 1994, and we were the 14th brewery in the state.”

The tall, 3,000-square-foot addition will have a separate entrance from the restaurant, at 6410 S.E. Milwaukie Avenue. “It will comprise four separate dining levels in addition to the brewery, and folks can watch brewers in the ‘Tank Garden’ doing everything from grinding grain in the mill room to pounding shut the beer barrels,” explains Moore. “We’ll age the beer in oak barrels in the Barrel Room, which can double as a special banquet room for 8 to 10 people.

“In addition to the Barrel Room, there will be a Tasting Room on another landing that will open into the existing restaurant. We need to build a bar out there, and we hope to create another small kitchen for a more upscale dinner menu. There will also be a mezzanine seating area overlooking the brewery activities – where people can actually see, smell, feel, and hear the operations,” adds Moore. “This is what will set us apart as a dining destination,” he enthuses. “You'll actually be in the brewery and event space. If we roll our catering cart outside into the courtyard, we’ll be able to handle up to 75 customers during a major event. People in Portland enjoy the outdoor dining experience, and we plan to capitalize on that, in nice weather.”

You can see the flicker of dreams becoming reality in Moore’s eyes. “I’ve been active in the restaurant association for many years,” he said. “Regulations are starting to limit young entrepreneurs at the entry level, but I’ve lived my own American Dream. I want to use my business perspective to help others develop their small business dreams, too.”

The new Brewery/Restaurant addition will open this spring with limited hours, but Moore hopes to develop a new routine for his unique vision. “We’ll start with weekends and a couple of evenings’ service, aiming for a sensory dining-out experience,” he says. “This can range from eight people in a private room, to a more expansive event venue.

“The garage area gives us room to expand our catering business, both on and off the premises. I'm planning to offer big-time brewery tours, with lots of complementary beer. It’ll be a great experience.”