The Insider: Po'boy, meet the cheesesteak

March 8, 2013 9:00 AM

Alicia Duplessis Jasmin

If a N’awlins po’boy and a Philly cheesesteak were in battle, which one would prevail? Locals might say the po’boy hands down, but a trio of Tulane alumni says the two sandwiches would get along just fine — no meat shed.

Liberty Cheesesteaks

From left, Tulane alumni Michael Casey, Joe Seremet and Alisha Lacour Seremet are the owners of a new restaurant, Liberty Cheesesteaks, located at 5031 Freret St., just a few blocks from the university. (Photo from Liberty Cheesesteaks)

Michael Casey, Joe Seremet and Alisha Lacour Seremet, who graduated in 2006, 2005 and 2007 respectively, decided in February 2012 to follow their dream of opening a restaurant. While Joe and Alisha, who are married and currently living in New Orleans, were ready to dive into the venture, Michael had returned to his home state of Pennsylvania for work.

The couple’s plan was to get him to return to New Orleans by luring him back with the idea of purveying cheesesteak, a food he often pined for while in the city. One year later, Liberty Cheesesteaks is preparing for its grand opening on Saturday (March 9).

“Our goal is not to compete with the established and delicious institution that is the po’boy, but to add to the wonderful food culture that is New Orleans and the new Freret Street,” says Alisha. “We can happily co-exist with the foundation of New Orleans food and add to the overall experience.”

Items on the menu include (Michael’s favorite) Wiz Wit, Philly slang for a cheesesteak covered in cheese sauce and served “wit” caramelized onions; (Joe’s favorite) the Original with White American topped with Joe’s secret “JJ Sauce”— a blend of Sriracha sauce, mayo and other secret ingredients; and (Alisha’s favorite) the Chick Steak with white American cheese topped with “Alisha Sauce”— a blend of garlic, mayo and other ingredients.

Regarding his decision to quit his job in Pennsylvania and return to New Orleans, Michael says he sticks by his choice.  

“At the end of the day, I am in business with my Tulane roommate, best friends, biggest supporters and smartest people I know,” says Michael. “If this all ends tomorrow with me penniless with a pile of Amoroso’s rolls, I’d still be the happiest guy you know.”

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Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000