The mayor of Philadelphia is gaining international attention for a
campaign that could undermine that enduring symbol of the city of
brotherly love: the Philly cheese steak.
Mayor John Street, who took office in 2000, is determined to reverse the
trend that caused Men's Fitness magazine to dub Philadelphia America's
fattest city in January 1999.
According to The New York Times, the latest feature of Street's campaign
is a program called '76 Tons of Fun,'(named for the local basketball
team) that encouraging citizens to collectively drop 76 tons in 76 days.
The Mayor has dispatched workers to collect the data from his
constituents and appeared on Oprah to promote it.
Can the city that brought the cheese steak to the world change its own
Purveyors of the classic sandwich aren't worried. 'Since the mayor went
on this campaign, my business is up 14%,' said Frank Olivieri, owner of
Pat's King of Steaks, the family-owned restaurant credited with
inventing the cheese steak in 1930. Olivieri said human nature has
guaranteed his livelihood. 'If you try to tell your child not to touch a
lamp because the bulb is hot, they're going to touch it.'