Family Is Everything
Family-owned, with James Carter, Jr. as the daily owner and operator. James Jr. is a proud Southeast San Diego native who later grew up in the Chula Vista area. He was raised in the restaurant industry as both of his parents, James and Frances Carter owned and operated restaurants in San Diego.
His father, James Carter, Sr. moved to San Diego after leaving the Army and worked for the Foodmaker Corporation for most of his career. He became the first Black Manager of Oscar’s Drive-In. He retired in 1985 after leasing and operating his own restaurant, The Hamburger House on El Cajon Blvd. His mother, Frances Carter a native of Guam, was the Director of Operations for Jimmy's Family Restaurant and ultimately, owned and operated her own restaurant, Francine's Family Restaurant in Chula Vista before retiring in 1991.
Since his parents exposed their children to a wide variety of food growing up. James Jr. and his siblings were inspired to make their own impact in the restaurant industry. With the joy of food constantly around the Carter family, James Jr. dreamed of one day opening a small neighborhood restaurant with a comfortable atmosphere that people of all ages could enjoy.
The classic Philly Cheesesteak sandwich serves as James’s staple entrée because it is his personal favorite for its flavorful focus. Starting with its long crusty hoagie that pairs perfectly with the seasoned steak which brings together the melted cheese for a savory finish. James realized Chula Vista was missing out on a good cheesesteak and one that is good enough to make others come to Chula Vista to enjoy it and thus the Carter family restaurant “Big Philly’s Cheesesteaks & Subs” was born.
After overcoming every obstacle a new business could encounter including facing a once in a lifetime global pandemic like COVID-19, James persisted and finally opened the doors in August 2020 after a seven-month delay. His sheer determination allowed him to simply hope for success with the support from the community and encouragement from his family.
James strives to know his customers by name and wants them to feel welcome each time they walk in the door. He wants to ensure the atmosphere is festive and includes delicious casual food with a large variety of options. With the awesome weather in San Diego, he designed the interior and exterior seating areas with flat screen tv’s so his guests can enjoy watching sports year-round while choosing from his selection of bottled beers and seven specialty beers on tap.
The Chula Vista location is his first location but James dreams of opening additional locations in the future.