Freeway returns to Trenton
TRENTON - For years, the smell of onions, peppers, and steaks permeated Perry St.
The smell steamed from the then well-known Freeway Steakhouse.
After 28-years the smell of hot steaks is back just two blocks from its original location.
David R. Perry, the son of the founder of the steakhouse re-opened the sandwich shop on 322 East State St. across from City Hall.
"With the help of my wife, Carolyn, my business partner, Linda, we all felt it was time to give this another shot," Perry said. "Trenton is home and it is an honor to have a business here."
The business opened its doors on July 4 and is already running out of steaks.
"We're making over 200 steaks per day. We had to go get more steaks and bread several times." Perry said.
The grand opening is being planned for mid-September. Freeway originally opened in 1945 and stayed in business until 1985. The 40-year business was mainly managed and operated by local Trentonians, including Gab Sabo and Flip Walker. Former City Mayor Douglas H. Palmer's father, George, served as the business' accountant.
"My father and mother loved to hire local Trenton people. They believed in patronizing those who supported them over the years."
A tradition that has been passed down throughout the Perry family, the son hired a local Trenton man to serve as his lead chef and manager.
Perry started grilling steaks at the age 8 in his father's business during a time in the city when a good steak was a hot commodity.
"Famous, JOJOs, and Freeway were the top sandwich stops in the area." Perry said. "Freeway was known for its long lines and its flat top cast iron grill."
Newly hired chef and Trenton resident, Michael McEachern, a graduate of Mercer Community College's culinary program.
"They're the best to work for," he said.
The restaurant is hiring and looking for additional chefs and waiters.
"The chefs must be certified and willing to go through a stringent cooking exam by me," Perry said. "I have to see if they can make the streaks taste like the old days."
Customer Stan Smith was eating at the restaurant and agrees the food has the taste of the old restaurant. "The steak tastes the same. There's a lot of meat on them too."
Regular steaks with onions, tomatoes cheese costs $5. A half of club costs $9. Sausage, wings, chicken cheese steaks area also on the menu. For side orders, steak fries, onion, and sweet potato fries. Assorted desserts and arctic ice cream is also on the menu. The steakhouse is open on Monday and Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Wednesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Even with the business success, Perry does not forget about the less fortunate.