Restaurant review

Restaurant Review: Philly Lessons at Marlow’s Cheesesteaks in Gahanna

Marlow’s Cheesesteaks homepage proclaims “THIS JAWN WAS MADE WITH BROTHER LOVE.” Now, brotherly love, that part of the proclamation makes sense: Philadelphia, home of the cheesesteak sandwich, is also the city of brotherly love.

But what is a jaw?

Well, thanks to the internet, we can learn that “jawn” is a Philadelphia term for “thing”. And not just a food thing; it can be any thing, anything. Good to know. When Marlow’s took over Arepazo’s old digs in Gahanna, it began offering both a new menu of cheesesteak sandwiches, as well as language lessons to do things the authentic Philly way.

And when it comes to authenticity, there’s no shortage of controversies over what constitutes a good Philly Cheesesteak sandwich. Choosing the wrong (Swiss) cheese resulted in the historic public shaming of a former political presidential candidate (that was John Kerry). Typically, an authentic cheesesteak sandwich starts with a crusty bun, it’s piled high with squiggles of incredibly thinly sliced ​​beef, then there’s cheese, one particular cheese: cheez whiz… American and provolone are obviously acceptable choices as well. Marlow’s covers these essentials and more.

When you order from its streamlined menu, starting the classic makes sense, and that means the Wiz Classic Wiz ($12). There are also more language courses available with this option. In cheesesteak lingo, the term “spirit” is short for “with onions.” And the spirit part (the onions) is a good choice. They are soft and add textural interest with the slightest sweetness that the stir-fry process offers. They’re wrapped in a sea of ​​tender, flavorful chunks of beef that are themselves painted with melted cheez wiz, all nested in a 10-inch overflowing bun. It’s a serious sandwich.

Wiz Classic Wiz

Of course, there are variations on cheesesteak choices. You don’t have to go classic. Marlow’s will allow you to put Swiss cheese on your cheesesteak, if you wish. Or, if the prospect of public shaming is too daunting, there are other equally deviant options: Chicken, for example is a possible beef substitute ($12). And it’s a reasonable choice. It’s quite different texture-wise – as you’d expect: poultry is poultry. But still, it’s flavorful and tender enough to be enjoyable with a little grilled finish, accompanied by cheese and peppers. Still, it’s not as enjoyable as beef. There are also veggie and salmon options, all presented with fixins in the under-bun.

Create your own with chicken, provolone and peppers

fries as the sides ($4) are sliced ​​to make good functional spoons and look a bit like claws.


The scoop function is an important attribute when loaded with more house beef and sautéed onions bathed in cheez wiz (Kobe fries: $9). It’s the winning, classic angle of cheesesteak reincarnated as loaded fries. Good game.

Kobe fries
Kobe fries

Marlow’s has also developed its own bar scene with a healthy selection of beers, as well as cocktails that stretch into the realm of adventure. Case in point: He’s gearing up for fall with the launch of a Cinnamon Roll Shooter that involves JD, cream soda, and a swirl of whipped cream. For more philly accent, the twisted ice cream ($10) is a slushie based on a house mix of Philly Water Ice (a frozen confection) enhanced with alcohol. Flavors change, but the Pina Colada version delivers pineapple, coconut, and a healthy dose of rum.

Strawberry twist ice cream
Strawberry twist ice cream

Marlow’s is located at 93 N. High St. in Gahanna. It opens Tuesday through Sunday at noon for lunch and dinner.

For more information, visit

All photos by Susan Post

Marlow's recently opened in the former home of El Arepazo in Gahanna
Marlow’s recently opened in the former home of El Arepazo in Gahanna