Guards with assault rifles hired to protect Philly cheesesteak joint

This should squash any beefs.

A Philadelphia cheesesteak restaurant has reopened for business — now with assault rifle-carrying guards because of violent crime plaguing the City of Brotherly Love.

A video from the reopening of Jim’s West Steaks & Hoagies in West Philadelphia on Sunday shows customers lining up to order sandwiches under the watchful eye of heavily armed security guards.

“The violence has spiked,” co-owner Cortez Johnson told WPVI of the city that has seen a surge in murders, many in an area close to the newly reopened food spot.

“You want people to feel safe and be safe. So when they come out and eat, they don’t have to worry about no type of harm,” Johnson said.

The gun-toting security guards will stand vigil outside the eatery during business hours from Thursday to Sunday each week, according to WPVI.

“Our lines are down the block, so while you’re standing here in line, connecting with other people you may not know, we have security right here just to keep you guys safe,” Saul Landers, the chief financial officer of Jim’s West, told the outlet.

Armed guard outside Philly restaurant
Jim’s West Steaks & Hoagies in West Philadelphia has hired armed guards to protect its customers outside the eatery.
Armed guard outside Philly restaurant
A guard toting a high-powered assault rifle chats with a customer.

“If you want to secure your business and you want to make sure everyone is safe, you have to spend that extra money,” he added.

Kevon Darden, the owner of Presidential Protection Services, said those working security at the beloved food joint all have a “military, police and law enforcement background.”

“It’s not just myself, it’s usually other agents who are sworn and certified by the state of Pennsylvania to do security work when they’re off duty,” he told WPVI.

Some customers voiced their support for having heavily armed guards on the lookout.

“Safety and good food is always a plus,” Nitah Dunham told the outlet.

Jim's West Steaks & Hoagies
Jim’s West Steaks & Hoagies recently reopened in the City of Brotherly Love.

Mario Maiale said he’s “not a big fan of guns, but I get it.

“If it deters it [crime], I can’t complain,” he said.

But another customer, William King, said he was worried about the optics in the city, where a nearby gas station also made headlines for hiring AR-15-toting guards.

“It’s a little overkill. Even if you have an armed guard, OK. But, walking around with a machine gun, it’s not family-friendly,” he added.

In 2015, the eatery was targeted by armed robbers who made off with $215 in cash stolen from the register and customers, the Philly Voice reported. No injuries were reported.

Man prepares cheesesteak sandwich
The guards will patrol outside during business hours from Thursday to Sunday each week.

The business recently reopened after being closed since 2019.

Homicides were down 20% in Philadelphia since last year, which saw the second-highest murder rate in city history after 2021, according to police. However, eight of those slayings took place within a 10-block radius of Jim’s West Steaks & Hoagies, statistics from the city controller’s office showed.

Philly’s famous cheesesteak joints have sometimes been the scene of violent disputes among customers.

In 2021, a football argument between a Giants fan and an Eagles fan who were waiting at Pat’s King of Steaks escalated into a deadly shooting.

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