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Fork in the Road: Michael Casey

May 31, 2016 10:45 AM

Fran Simon
newwave@tulane.edu

Michael Casey of Liberty Cheesesteak

Straight out of Philly, Michael Casey purveys a classic sandwich at Liberty Cheesesteaks in the uptown neighborhood of New Orleans. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)


“The city kinda claimed me.”

Michael Casey

This is Part One of a four-part series that profiles millennial Tulane alumni in New Orleans’ restaurant industry. Today’s installment: Michael Casey, SLA ’06.

“I didn’t think I could ever care about a place the way I care about New Orleans,” says Michael Casey (SLA ’06) who hails from Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. Along with Joe Seremet (B ’05) and Seremet’s wife, Alisha Lacour Seremet, Casey founded Liberty Cheesesteaks, a tiny restaurant just a dozen blocks from the Tulane uptown campus.

Casey and Joe Seremet were Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity brothers and roommates. During Casey’s senior year, Hurricane Katrina hit. But he never had any doubt he would return to finish his senior year at Tulane.

“Tulane attracts the kind of person who would come 2,000 miles away from home to have an adventure. You’re on the frontier.”

After graduation, Casey and Seremet went their separate ways but stayed in touch. Seremet comes from a restaurant family, and Casey had always worked in bars, but both began pursuing careers in banking. Seremet, a Connecticut native, works now as an investment banker for Johnson Rice & Co., where he is a partner. For a brief time, Casey moved back to Philadelphia. But New Orleans kept calling to him.

“The city kinda claimed me,” Casey says. “The second I got off the plane in Philadelphia, I started to think about how I could get back to New Orleans.” In February 2012, the Seremets and Casey brainstormed the idea for a Philly-style cheesesteak joint. It was something that Casey knew a lot about—he had cooked his hometown’s signature dish many times for his college crowd—and Alisha Seremet had heard her husband raving about the hearty, gooey sandwiches. There was nowhere in New Orleans to go for Philly cheesesteak.

The Seremets suggested the Freret Street corridor between Napoleon and Jefferson avenues, an up-and-coming neighborhood in uptown New Orleans, as a location for a restaurant. And in March 2013, they opened Liberty Cheesesteaks there.

Read the full story here.

This story originally appeared in the March 2016 issue of Tulane magazine.


 


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