Working for his father's cheesesteak shop since he was a child, Vince Cocca Jr. continued his father's legacy and 60-year cheesesteak business, eventually landing the company in its existing Trexlertown location.
Cocca, however will close Vince’s Cheesesteaks on Sept. 7 after a six-year run in Lower Macungie Township, intending to relocate to downtown Allentown. Cocca has been meeting with real estate investors in a bid to return the business to its roots – the shop having started in the city when his father operated it out of the Coccas’ home.
“It was really exciting to see how widespread our customer base is,” Cocca said about the Trexlertown location. “But, it’s exciting to get back to Allentown, where we started.”
After several meetings with City Center Lehigh Valley, which is developing the new and proposed six City Center buildings in Allentown’s downtown, Cocca said he needs to create a business plan that more clearly outlines the concept, sales projections and company history.
City Center officials Monday announced Tony Luke’s cheesesteak franchise, based in south Philadelphia, as the development’s third restaurant, scheduled to open next month at Eighth and Hamilton streets.
Cocca knew Tony Luke’s might be moving in, but said he is not discouraged. There are several other real estate investors who own property in surrounding areas of downtown Allentown, near City Center, he said, and he has looked at several of the locations.
Many of those investors want to wait several months to observe the new establishments in the downtown, along with the foot traffic they bring, to better project rental fees for potential tenants, Cocca said.
Hamilton Kitchen & Bar is open in Two City Center, and Roar Social House is scheduled to open at Seventh and Hamilton in September.
“It’s been 40 years since we were in the city,” Cocca said. “We are hoping to get in somewhere and be open by 2015.”
In the meantime, cheesesteak fans can feast on Vince’s offerings at fairs and festivals, including the Great Allentown Fair this week and the Bloomsburg Fair in September.