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Rick's serves cheese steaks with a smile

jojacobs@vagazette.com

Rick’s Cheese Steak Shop pairs good food with good attitudes, creating a space that provides a hearty welcome for customers as they walk in and full stomachs as they walk out, owner Catherine Pistone said.

Founded by a family of Philadelphians, Rick’s takes its food, and especially its namesake menu item, seriously. Quality extends from meats and cheeses down to the bread the sandwiches are served on, Pistone said.

“We know a little bit of what we do,” she said. “You’ve got to have a great roll.”

Others noticed Rick’s attention to quality. The sandwich shop won the Best Cheese Steak category in this year’s The Virginia Gazette’s Best of Williamsburg contest.

Employees make sure to say hello to every customer who enters the store. They strive to remember names of new faces and are quick to recognize the shop’s regulars. A focus on interaction without a hint of fast-food hurry sets Rick’s apart from other similar restaurants, Pistone said.

“We make it personal,” she said.

Rick’s menu hasn’t changed much since it began establishing stores in eastern Virginia about 20 years ago, and portions are always large, providing a one-two punch of dependability and value that keeps customers coming back for more, Pistone said.

Rick’s owes its success in large part to being a family-owned business. It’s something that keeps the operation going smoothly and appealing to customers, said Mary Pistone, Catherine Pistone’s daughter and right-hand woman.

“It’s nice working with your kids,” Catherine Pistone said. “We kind of help each other out.”

Though Rick’s has locations across the region, the Pistones feel right at home in Williamsburg, where the customers are nice and Rick’s fits into the city’s business scene, Catherine Pistone said.

“I just feel like America is built on small businesses. And I think we contribute to Williamsburg,” she said.

Rick’s Cheese Steak Shop

Location: 603 Prince George St.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday through Thursday. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday.

Phone: 757-221-9566.

Jacobs can be reached by phone at 757-298-6007.

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