September 17, 2023
Customers at the newly-reopened Jim's West Steaks and Hoagies may be greeted with an unexpected sight: Security guards armed with assault rifles.
The cheesesteak shop recently hired armed security personnel in an effort to deter crime during peak business hours, according to 6 ABC. The security guards will be present outside Jim's West during business hours from Thursday to Sunday each week.
Jim's West reopened at 62nd and Noble Streets in late August after being shuttered since 2019. A video posted to the Jim's West Instagram account shortly after the shop reopened shows customers lining up to order sandwiches, followed by what appears to be a guard standing outside the business holding an assault rifle. Jim's West owner Cortez Johnson confirmed in a recent 6 ABC news broadcast that the shop has indeed hired armed security to protect its customers.
In 2015, the West Philly Jim's location was targeted by armed robbers, who reportedly made off with $215 in cash stolen from the register and customers who were in the store at the time. No injuries were reported in that robbery.
Jim's West operates from the same building as the original Jim's Steaks, which first opened at 431 N. 62nd Street in 1939. But while its street address bears its own weighty historical legacy, the shop's history –not to mention its prospective future – is anything but straightforward.
Cortez bought the building earlier this year from Carl Proetto, the owner of the Jim's Steaks in Delaware County and the son of the man who owned and operated the original Jim's at 431 North 62nd Street for several years. The Proetto family, who bought the West Philly sandwich shop from its original proprietors in 1966, reportedly did not intend to pass along the rights to run another cheesesteak operation bearing the name "Jim's" as part of the deal. However, conflicting language in different legal documents pertaining to the sale recently compelled a Philadelphia judge to deny the Proetto family's request for an injunction against Jim's West, according to Philadelphia Magazine.
Meanwhile, the popular South Street Jim's Steaks location will reportedly reopen next month after being closed by a two-alarm fire in July 2022.
In addition to borrowing from its name, the new Jim's West sandwich shop is also adorned with branding that utilizes similar logo typography and black-and-white color scheme as the existing Jim's locations. It remains to be seen what will become of Jim's West pending the outcome of further legal proceedings between Johnson and the Pruetto. But for the time being, the customers at Jim's West will at least line up for cheesesteaks with an added sense of security.