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Jun 20, 2002 01:59 PM

Philly Cheesesteak

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I am going to be in N.J. in a month and I am looking forward to stoping my heart by eating great pizza and cheesesteak. I will be making a trip to Philadelphia, so I would like to have a cheesesteak in the city that gave birth to it. Does anyone know the BEST place to go in Philly? I've know of Pat's, Geno's, and Jim's, but I heard Dalessandro's is the true king and the others are just tourist traps.

I know opinions will vary. Thanks.

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    Gabriel Solis

    This has been covered in detail a number of times in the past year or so, not surprisingly.

    It seems there is no definitive cheesesteak. That is, lots of people will tell you that they know which one is definitive, but it's something about which honorable people will disagree. I'd suggest making the most of it: go to Geno's, Pat's, _and_ Jim's. The nice thing about Philly is that it's small. The three restaurants are less than a mile apart (the first two are actually across the street from one another). How will you know which one is the best (in your experience) unless you do.

    I'd also say that the actual food is pretty similar from place to place. It's the gestalt that sets one apart from another. (I think others disagree with me on this, but there you have it.) I don't think any of them is "just" a tourist trap, though all three do, indeed, court tourist dollars (can you blame them?) Geno's and Pat's, at least, seem as much neighborhood-y joints as anything. (Note Geno's recent sponsorship of upgrades on the ball field across the street--evidence of their committment to the community as well as their anti-Mummia stance, but that's another conversation entirely).



    1 Reply
    1. re: Gabriel Solis

      Honestly, every time I walk past Jim's I feel ill from the smell of the place. I'm a fan of the cheesesteak and not a squeamish person in general, but time and again I feel this way. Actually, I think that a great cheesesteak can be had at Lorenzo's on the corner of 9th and Christian in the Italian Market. The guy (I think his name is Peter?) cooks up all of the ingredients to order - the end result is fresh and extremely tasty.
      it's kind of cool to see the cheesesteak corner (9th and passyunk) but I think that you can get a better cheesesteak elsewhere.

    2. Chink's on Torresdale Ave. or the place in Reading Terminal (look for the big line). I personally don't care for Jim's at all, and find Pat's and Geno's just good. I've never had D'Alessandro's.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Megan

        As stated in other posts, the best cheesesteak in Philly is very difficult to pin down. Any of the places mentioned serves a fine example, except "the place in the Reading Terminal Market". If you're in the market, there are 15-20 better choices for your dining dollars. Avoid the long lines at Rick's (that's what it is called) and take your cheesesteak business elsewhere to avoid disappointment.

        1. I have become very hot for two places in the Northeast foir superior cheesesteaks:

          CHINK'S, 6030 Torresdale Ave, is like going back in time to a very cool retro wood paneled and boothed place with very good bread, abundant meat and cheese and very good fried onions.

          FRUSCO'S, 7100 block of Frankford Ave., also makes a great steak, gooey with cheese and with plenty of good rib eye shaved steak.

          Those would be my two top picks currently, besides GENO'S and PAT's. DALLESSANDRo'S is very good, but softy, squshy and very cheesey and messy, but not as good a product as the aforementioned.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Rich Pawlak

            Chubby's across for D'Alessandro's is a better steak IMHO (especially during busy times when D'Alsesandros STEAMS 20 lbs. of meat on the grill at a time ...)

            Chubby's is rib meat.

          2. Thanks for all your input. I think I will take Gabriel's advice and sample what a number of establishments have to offer. I have been told before that Philly isn't that large, so travel won't be a problem.

            I'll try and make it to the places that all of you have mentioned. Sounds like I should avoid Jim's though.

            When I mentioned that a place may be a tourist trap I was just referring that they may have increased prices or lowered product quality etc, because of the large amount of business they generate. Being from Toronto, and having a close poximity to Buffalo, people tend to debate on who has the best wings. In Buffalo it's between the Anchor or Duff's, both of which increased prices because of the amount of business generated, but the product didn't suffer. Duff's opened up shop in Toronto, and they are extremely good, but there are "unheard" of places in Toronto that I think have superior wings.

            Sometimes the unknown can be better, but all I have to go on is what I can find on here. Places like Chubby's, Chinks and Frusco's I didn't know about, but now look forward to going to them. I thank you all again for your recommendations and if there's any more I'd love to hear them!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Brett

              We have this cheesesteak war on average every few months. I thought I would keep quiet this time but I can't. Jim's is our absolute favorite (almost tied with dalessandros). Please include Jims in your tour it would be an absolute shame to miss it. There is a reason that Jim's has a 22 zagat rating and its not the tourists voting.