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Little Phillies, big taste
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In business since 1976, Little Phillies has been a Covington cultural staple for many years now and has gained a reputation among customers for their hand-battered chicken wings and old-fashioned hoagies.

Owner Vic Orgo believes what has kept him in business all these years - while many other restaurants have opened and closed - is his and his family's devotion to their food.

 Everything at Little Phillies, down to the meat balls and sausage is handmade and hand cut, including the rib eye steaks.

"We're probably the only place that still does everything," said Orgo of the food preparation work he, his wife and their five children, who all work at the restaurant, put in. "Everything's made from scratch."

When he first opened the restaurant, Orgo said he would often spend 90 to 100 hours a week at the restaurant.

 Now that his children are old enough to run the business, Orgo said he typically only comes in to do the morning food prep work.

"It's a lost art, actually is what it is," Orgo said of the effort it takes to run a successful restaurant. "You've got to love it and that's the bottom line."

Located on Industrial Boulevard, across the street from the Wal-Mart Supercenter, Little Phillies has been at its present location since 1994 after first opening in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Orgo is a native of Chicago, and the Windy City's influence can be seen on the walls of the restaurant. White Sox and Chicago Cubs memorabilia along with a smattering of Atlanta Braves and UGA Bulldogs collectibles, abound.

Two big screen televisions, a pool table, a jukebox and a pinball machine complete the décor.

Little Phillies sells a variety of steak hoagies, including pizza steak, mustard steak and cheese steak Teriyaki, priced from $4.65 to $8.45, depending on size. Hot Heros, including gyros, Italian sausage and hot pastrami are also sold and are $4.25 to $8.45.

Customers can now create their own steak or chicken hoagie (medium, $5.05; large, $8.45). Toppings include grilled onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, hot peppers and crushed red pepper.

Well known for their chicken wings, Little Phillies has a variety of sauces, including "just plain stupid hot" buffalo sauce, teriyaki, lemon pepper, honey garlic and honey barbecue. All sauces are available for their boneless wings.

 Order sizes range from 10 pieces ($6.29) to 100 pieces ($45.99).

The restaurant also sells cold subs, salads, beef hot dogs (with chili), fried shrimp and hamburgers. There is a kid's menu, which includes grilled cheese and chicken fingers.

"Every item on my menu, I feel, is maximum quality," Orgo said.

After years of prodding from admiring customers and relatives, Orgo said he is preparing to take the plunge and enter the franchise business.

 He anticipates the second Little Phillies will open, possibly in Jackson, at the end of the year.

 All franchises will continue the tradition of making all food from scratch.