Photo Credit: Courtesy of Big Dave's Cheesesteaks
Big Dave's Cheesesteaks: Bringing A Taste Of Philly To ATL
Derrick Hayes is the President and CEO of Atlanta’s Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks. The 33-year-old Philadelphia native and father of two girls started Big Dave’s in honor of his late father.
“As I watched him take his last breath, I promised him that I would make something of my life. I promised my father I would stand on my own and carry the Hayes legacy.”
In 2014, Derrick opened Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks, bearing his father’s namesake.
“We started in a Shell gas station and now have a food truck and two brick and mortar locations in Atlanta (57 Forsyth Street NW and 6035 Peachtree Road.)”
Big Dave’s is one of Atlanta’s fastest-growing businesses, frequently boasting lines of customers wrapped around the corner and ranking in the top ten in the Best Sandwich category at the 2018 World Food Championships.
Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks brings an authentic taste of Philly to Atlanta.
“When I moved here in 2014 there were no authentic cheesesteaks being sold and no one knew what water ice was so, I decided to bring a piece of home to Atlanta.”
At Big Dave’s, you can order a cheesesteak ‘Your Way’ or ‘Dave’s Way’.
“Our Dave’s Way cheesesteak is one of our most popular menu items. It consists of the protein of your choice (beef, chicken, or salmon) three cheeses, sweet peppers, mushrooms, and onions. You can also get your cheesesteak however you want it, with whatever toppings you desire. Every order is made fresh.”
In addition to cheesesteaks, Big Dave’s serves wings in flavors like BBQ, garlic Parmesan, dry ranch, teriyaki, dry lemon pepper, and Mardi Gras— as well as French fries, onion rings, authentic Philly water ice, and cheesesteak egg rolls, a popular fan favorite menu item.
“Our egg rolls are hand-rolled fresh each morning and are also available in beef, chicken, and salmon. They are seasoned with Big Dave’s famous seasoning, accompanied by three cheeses and onions.”
Derrick developed a love for food and cooking at a young age.
“My grandfather would make me help him in the kitchen when I was home from church or school. There I began learning how to cook and how to make different seasonings.”
“Growing up, I thought my future would consist of basketball. I never imagined helping my grandfather in the kitchen would take me this far in life.”
Although Big Dave’s is take-out only, customers are asked to observe the recommended social distancing guidelines by standing six feet apart when inside the restaurants.
“Our staff is following all COVID-19 protocols to keep our customers safe and healthy, and we require mask-wearing when inside ordering.”
Derrick is planning to open more Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks locations in the near future.
“We look forward to providing more opportunities for employment in different communities, and bringing more inspiration and resources to lower income communities.”
The restaurant has also worked to uplift the community by providing free meals to healthcare workers and distributing face masks and medical supplies to area hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“For me, it is bigger than food. I will always stand up for and be on the frontlines for those in need.”