Walk-up cheesesteak spot is expanding with another Charlotte location, new menu items

Cheat’s Cheesesteaks, which launched in 2020 to bring a taste of Philadelphia to the Queen City, will open a second location this summer in South End. The Charlotte hoagie shop has also expanded its menu to offer more choices.

“When we opened Cheat’s, we realized we had a special restaurant that served guests from all walks of life,” said Ryan Hart, operating partner and creative director for 1957 Hospitality Group, which owns Cheat’s.

“We wanted to create a culture in Charlotte where you can bring your family; a spot in the neighborhood where you could walk to and enjoy freshly made food.”

The casual grab-and-go restaurant started as a pop-up shop before opening its first location in Plaza Midwood in 2022. The goal was to always go multi-unit, Hart said.

“We’ve proven that our cheesesteak is in demand, and we can do it really well,” Hart said. “South End was our original target location and where the name came from. … It’s right on the rail trail, so we thought we could offer a cheat day for runners along the track.”

Located at 2127 Hawkins St., the South End site will be about double the size of the current location, with the same walk-up window-style service and ample outdoor seating. The restaurant will add indoor restrooms and other features to stand out in a tough market.

“Thankfully, we’re coming in with the strongest menu items we’ve had, and we’re ready to compete at the highest level in South End,” Hart said.

More sizes on the menu

Since Cheat’s inception, Hart and his team have been listening to customers and taking suggestions to heart. This week, the team is rolling out an updated menu that features two sizes of their award-winning cheesesteaks and hoagies, new sandwiches and combo pricing.

“We love feedback and have a proven track record of listening to our guests,” Hart said, noting the changes were made as a direct result of customer feedback and lessons learned. “We challenged ourselves at Cheat’s to create a new menu that takes affordability and value while still using the high-quality ingredients that make our food special. We wanted our guests to be able to scale the size of their order to fit their budget and appetite.”

Hot pretzel bites at Cheat’s Cheesesteaks are served with Carolina gold sauce and Cheez Whiz.
Hot pretzel bites at Cheat’s Cheesesteaks are served with Carolina gold sauce and Cheez Whiz.

Greg Balch, executive chef for 1957 Hospitality Group, described the original half pound cheesesteaks as “extremely robust.” Many customers couldn’t finish the serving, so the new menu introduces a smaller size cheesesteak and hoagie with a quarter pound of sliced ribeye.

The new menu also offers a roast pork sandwich – something that’s been offered as a special in the past.

“Roast pork is a tip of the hat to all of our friends who support us from Philadelphia,” Balch said. “So many people have moved here from Pennsylvania and the Iron Belt, and they’re saying this reminds them of home. … It just felt right to fit it next to the cheesesteak and pork roll on our menu.”

In addition to classic cheesesteaks and hoagies, Cheat’s serves a smoked brisket cheesesteak, pizza cheesesteak and a diablo cheesesteak with ghost pepper jack cheese and peppers. Vegan and vegetarian options are available. And for dessert, customers have come to love Cheat’s fried beignets, soft-serve ice cream and floats.

Cheat’s Cheesesteaks walk-up window on Pecan Avenue.
Cheat’s Cheesesteaks walk-up window on Pecan Avenue.

Cheat’s Cheesesteaks

Locations: 913 Pecan Ave., Charlotte, N.C., 28205

Location: 2127 Hawkins St., Charlotte, N.C., 29203 (coming soon)

Menu

Cuisine: Cheesesteaks, hoagies

Instagram: @cheatscheesesteaks/