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Black History Month: The Original Philly’s

In celebration of Black History Month, we are hosting a series of profiles and stories to amplify and honor people, businesses, organizations, and events connected to the history of Seattle’s Black community.

After failing to find an authentic Philly cheesesteak in the Seattle, Philadelphia native Charles Humphrie opened The Original Philly’s. The restaurant, affectionately know to regulars as simply Philly’s, open its doors in 1995, slinging the iconic meal near 23rd and Union in the Central District. In 2005, Charles and his wife Minerva relocated the shop to its current spot at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Rainier Ave, and brought fellow Philly native Guy Thomas on as a co-owner.

The team brings a little bit of their hometown into every sandwich with rolls sourced directly from a Philadelphia bakery. They have also incorporated a bit of a Northwest touch with vegetarian and vegan options available as well. The result? A local hit. Regulars include Franklin High School students, light rail commuters, Philly followers and even some Sonics and Seahawks stars.

“The food was the best, it tasted a lot like love. It was that old fashion southern hospitality by way of Philly.  I miss it.”

-Allynn Ruth, Department of Neighborhoods Project Manager

Last year, the restaurant celebrated it’s 25th anniversary. You can check out their menu and order online at or pop in and say hello at 3019 Martin Luther King Jr Way S.

The Original Philly’s owners, Guy Thomas, Minerva Humphrie and Charles Humphrie. Photo: Original Philly’s Website

This Black History Month profile was recommended by Seattle Department of Neighborhoods Project Manager, Allynn Ruth.