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'Happy customers': Duo engineering the taste of Philly in Bradford

New owners celebrating Philthy Philly’s grand reopening Saturday; first 25 customers will get their sandwich for free

Bradford residents don’t need to be filthy rich to enjoy the sizable portions at Philthy Philly’s.

The new owners are celebrating the restaurant’s grand reopening at noon on Saturday, May 18, in Unit 10 at 450 Holland St. W., where the first 25 customers will get their sandwich for free, and all sandwiches and poutines are buy-one-get-one-free all day long.

The sandwich shop features Philadelphia-inspired cuisine with some Canadian twists including Philly cheesesteaks, “Philthy” poutinerie, pulled-pork sandwiches and salads — all made fresh to order.

While co-owners Jemish Dhola and cousin Ravi Savani both have backgrounds in engineering, the duo decided they wanted to shake things up by owning their own restaurant. Dhola said it took a “long time” to find the right one in the right place, but after seeing the reviews and trying the food, they both agreed Philthy Philly’s was the right fit.

“We figured out the Philly steak sandwich and the smash burgers we have are very famous in Canada, so we wanted a franchise selling those types of food,” Savani said, adding it was also important to them to be able to offer the Canadian staple of poutine. “All the different varieties we sell here for the Philly steak sandwich and the poutines are really delicious and the combinations are deadly.”

That’s thanks to the “really good” portion sizes according to Savani.

Dhola also noticed that while the style of food on offer was popular, the chain wasn’t as wide spread, and he’s hoping they can grow with both the franchise and the town.

“We visited so many locations in the city, but in the city there’s already so many options for people. Bradford is near the (Greater Toronto Area) and still a developing town, and that’s why we wanted this opportunity to develop with Bradford,” Savani said.

Some customers may not have even noticed the switch in ownership, as Dhola explained the previous owners finished one day and the new duo were there to open the store the next on Nov. 21.

“It took about two or three months to do everything in the background, but the front was never closed,” he said.

Since then, the pair have given themselves a real trial by fire, as both are first-time restaurant owners, with only some experience in the industry from previous part-time jobs, according to Savani.

While Dhola called the last five months or so “exciting,” he also acknowledged that owning one’s own business can be “very stressful,” not just while working to serve the customers, but through all the other roles that need to be fulfilled after the shop closes up for the night. Some days Dhola feels as if he’s a cook, clerk, manager, accountant and lawyer all rolled into one.

“You have to do a lot of things and it takes a lot of skills, but it’s going well so far,” he said, noting they’ve had “a lot of happy customers.”

Savani thinks that’s because they prioritize the quality of the food above all else, and after a few months, he feels they’re improving in all the other areas too.

“In the meantime, we got to know the people of Bradford and they are so friendly,” he said. “This town gives you the vibe of both a small town and the big city. It’s really good.”

After taking over, Dhola said they added a small dine-in area at the front with room for four people, but the business is mostly geared toward take-out for now.

Open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, the shop even stays open until midnight on Friday and Saturday, and is also available through food delivery services including SkipTheDishes, Uber Eats and DoorDash.

For more information or to place a take-out order, call 519-304-9668.

Michael Owen

About the Author: Michael Owen

Michael Owen has worked in news since 2009 and most recently joined Village Media in 2023 as a general assignment reporter for BradfordToday
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