Food for Worms: Pennsylvania Man Takes Two Cheesesteaks to His Grave

“Wit-out” onions, of course; those will come back to haunt you.

By Ethan L. Johns
November 17, 2017

Image: Bradley C. Bower/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Because when you go gently into that good night, it’s always best to bring along a midnight snack.

Richard Lussi of Plains Township, Pennsylvania, loved the cheesesteak from Philly’s famous Pat’s King of Steaks so much that he would, on occasion, dare his children to drive the 2 1/2 hours to go pick up a few. He even joked that when he died, he wanted to take a couple of those hearty hoagies with him to the grave.

So when it was time for Lussi to meat his (sandwich-)maker—he died of heart complications last month at the age of 76—his son and grandson knew just what to do. They grabbed a couple friends and made the trek to the City of Brotherly Love, where they paid the ultimate price ($22) for two sandwiches—“wit-out” onions—that were to be put six feet under the following day. Of course, they ordered a few for themselves as well.

“We were just going to get one but my pop always said ‘If you’re going to Pat’s you always get two, you never order just one. It’s a waste of time,'” said Lussi’s grandson, Dominic Lussi, to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

When Frank Olivieri Jr., owner of Pat’s, caught wind of the story, he was shocked that somebody could love Philly’s classic sandwich enough to be buried with it. He speculated that the sandwiches could be a bribe for Saint Peter, the Christian saint who is supposedly in charge of the guest list at the Pearly Gates.

Richard Lussi got his final wish at his funeral on October 14th, when the two sandwiches were sealed inside his coffin.
Rest cheesy, Mr. Lussi. We respect your dedication.

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About Ethan L. Johns

Ethan is the Food News Writer at Genius Kitchen. An expert on the Parisian bistrot, he likes bitters and salted butters, and is no fan of dessert unless it's made with fruit. His hobbies include reading up on the history of borscht and attempting to roll perfect couscous by hand. Twits & Instagram @EthanLJohns