The University of Southern California’s (USC) hospitality department understands that students, faculty and visitors are not there just to eat. But that doesn’t mean the foodservice available to them on the campus is simply rudimentary or low quality.

“People come here to learn, but our food, beverage and event service mission is to create the best experience possible for people while they are here on campus,” Assistant Vice President of Retail Operations Kris Klinger says. “We really try to differentiate the venues we have here from other campuses and schools. The depth and breadth and complexity of things we do and offer to our campus community is above what other campuses provide.”

PepperJax Grill is known for making the best Philly cheesesteak sandwich its customers have ever had, thanks to founder and President Gary Rohwer’s patented meat process. “Why are we known for America’s Best Philly?” Rohwer asks. “It goes back to the 1980s when I was developing a better Philly steak product for flavor, moisture and cook time.” 

The story is incredible of how the Omaha, Neb.-based restaurant got its start. It goes back to 1981 when Rohwer first entered the restaurant business with a fast-food concept specializing in the Philly steak sandwich. The restaurant chain was successful, but he was never satisfied with the performance of what he believed was the best steak meat he could buy at the time. “I was in five states in five years and started out with good success,” he adds. “I had a problem with the performance of my steak. I knew I must improve the quality of my steak meat. It took too long to cook and didn’t have that knock out flavor.”

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