A Delaware family legacy for over 12 years

March 29, 2024

I first wrote about Pete's Steak Shop in 2012. After many exhaustive studies and fact-finding missions (pass the Italian long-hot peppers, pleeeze…), it only seems right to bring things up to date. Restaurants like Pete's are hard to update because they are so consistent – but update I will.

In 1974, Greek immigrants Pete and Marika Vasilikos opened Pete’s in downtown Wilmington and instantly generated a faithful following. Their late son, Frank, teamed up with his brother and now-owner Petru Cornescu to open the Rehoboth Pete’s in early summer 2012. Things were pretty basic then, with the spotlight on cheesesteaks and a surprisingly good pizza. Over the years and through the sad loss of Frank, Petru has substantially expanded the menu and services to include homemade soups (don’t miss the chicken noodle!), burgers, sandwiches, specialty entrees and a hi-tech delivery system.

Frank did not need to open a restaurant. He and his family owned the entire Rehoboth Marketplace shopping center, for goodness' sakes. But he loved hospitality, and he longed for a ’steak like his family dished up years ago in Wilmington. He made sure that they bought the very same rib eye beef that you buy in the store for the grill. So much meat is stuffed into the cheesesteaks that you should ask for a fork to retrieve what falls out. Choices of cheese include provolone, mozzarella, American and – with a bright-orange nod to the opposing corners of 9th and Passyunk in Philly – Cheez Whiz. Doesn’t get more authentic than that.

Though I do like the traditional cheesesteak, I believe one of the stars of the steak show at Pete's is the chicken cheesesteak. The chicken is marinated in a combination of spices with decidedly Greek overtones. It is pulled/chopped into chunks and then nestled into fresh rolls. The chicken is reminiscent of any good restaurant's marinated and oven roasted chicken, except that it's in a sandwich. I get it with lettuce, tomato, mayo, pickles and provolone. Don't tell anybody, but I smuggle my own hot cherry pepper spread in a teeny tiny Tupperware and slather it on when nobody's looking. I guess I should explain that: In the true Mediterranean tradition, they grill and marinate whole (“long hot”) peppers at Pete's Steak Shop. They are quite good, but I prefer them on salads or to eat on the side. On one fateful occasion that will live on in infamy, Frank spotted me emptying my tiny Tupperware onto the sandwich. He rolled his eyes and walked away. I get that a lot.

The gyro sandwiches also bear explanation. In this column several years ago, I listed all the local places that sold gyros, dividing them into the more authentic sliced-off-the-rotating-vertical-loaf group, and the prepared-and-grilled-strips group. Pete's Steak Shop uses the traditional vertical rotisserie, providing a delicious crust in every sandwich. By the way, one of the newest additions to the cheesesteak lineup is Pete’s Signature Cheesesteak sporting sharp provolone and those homemade long-hot peppers. You’re at the beach! Think – and eat – out of the box. It's good for you.

So, with all this going on in the cheesesteak department, who would expect pizza to be the sleeper here? Unlike some sandwich joints, pizza is not an afterthought at Pete's Steak Shop. The dough is made daily in-house, and topped with a distinctive blend of sauce and cheese. Since then, Pete's Steak Shop has introduced a thin and crispy pizza choice (you have to ask for it) and it’s right up there with most any other pizza here in the Cape Region. There. I said it. Go and prove it to yourself. I get my thin & crispy with Italian sausage, pepperoni and mushrooms. We’ve also tried the Formaggio Pizza, coated with mozzarella, ricotta and Parmesan. Petru gives guests a choice of 12 specialty pies, including what is basically a pizza empanada – the stromboli and calzone.

Petru tells me he was surprised at the popularity of the salads, given the fact that Pete’s is more or less a pizza and sandwich joint. But with a choice of nine different salads (including an antipasto and a Greek salad), it’s hard not to give them a try. Yet another sleeper is the burgers. A burger is a burger, right? Well, not quite. Petru cooks them fresh – never frozen – on an open flame. There are nine from which to choose, including a veggie version for our plant-based friends. Club sandwiches, a few Greek and Italian specialties, wraps, etc. are also well represented.

Pickup and delivery are a big deal at Pete’s Steak Shop in the Rehoboth Marketplace Center (on the other end from Michy’s Relaxed Dining). Order by phone at 302-226-3000 or go to and click “online ordering.” You’ll be glad you did.


  • So many restaurants, so little time! Food writer Bob Yesbek gives readers a sneak peek behind the scenes, exposing the inner workings of the local culinary industry, from the farm to the table and everything in between. He can be reached at

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