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January 02, 2023

Jim's Steaks plans to reopen in 2023 with a second-story addition

The iconic cheesesteak shop posted mock-ups of its rebuild to Twitter; it has remained closed since a fire last summer

Development Jim's Steaks
jim's steaks philly Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

Customers line up outside Jim's South Street for the shop's famous cheesesteaks. The store has been closed since a two-alarm fire damaged it last summer.

Jim's loyalists will be reunited with their cheesesteaks soon enough.

The South Street sandwich shop rang in the new year by posting plans for its rebuild to Twitter. A rendering features a second-story addition that matches the shop's well-known Art Deco style. 

"Can't wait to see you again in 2023!" the tweet read.

Jim's Steaks has been closed since a two-alarm fire ripped through the building on the morning of July 29. More than 125 firefighters battled the blaze over four hours, finally bringing it under control around 1:30 p.m. All employees were evacuated and no injuries were reported, but the damage to the store was extensive. First responders initially feared for the structural stability of the building, which was erected around 1900. 

Inspectors declared the structure safe in a matter of days, but owner Ken Silver projected June 1 as the earliest possible reopen date. Plans could even stretch to 2024, he warned the Philadelphia Business Journal in August. In anticipation of the long recovery road ahead, Jim's South Street launched a GoFundMe to support its employees through the closure. As of this writing, it has raised $25,379, but donations are currently disabled.

On Dec. 3, Jim's shared a rare update through a series of photos of crumbling walls, charred bricks and hanging wires. "As you can see, there's lots of work ahead," the shop tweeted. "We can't wait to share our progress toward an epic Philly comeback."

According to city records, two permits were recently issued for the property on 400 South St. The first, dated Dec. 18, was for repairs or replacement of the roof and framing. The second, dated Dec. 29, was for the demolition of an interior non-load-bearing wall. Both list CGI Construction as the contractor.

Silver and his father opened Jim's South Street in 1976, but the original Jim's Steaks dates back to 1939. That shop was located on North 62nd Street in West Philly. Another Jim's Steaks is currently in operation in Springfield, Delaware County.

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