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Oct 10, 2005 02:56 AM

the 40-year-old cheesesteak virgin

  • e


i'm coming to phila this coming wknd, express goal is to try as many proper cheesesteaks as possible, have never had one in phila.

just scrolled over the past month and was surprised to see no posts on the subject, though i assume everyone there must be sick of talking about it.

anyway, if anyone would be kind enough to post their thoughts about anything cheesesteak-related, from the #1 place i should visit to when i should go to what to order, etc., i'd be much appreciative.

many thanks,
boston foodie

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  1. Eric,

    I believe it was you who posted a few days ago about this subject. I responded in some detail, but the posts were deleted. Anyway, I'll try again. I'm not a cheesesteak expert, and have only been to Philadelphia to try a cheesesteak once. But I have read the hundreds of posts here and on other forums. There are so many opinions on what is the best cheesesteak. Sort of like what is the best hot dog. The consensus among many cheesteak afficionados is that Pat's, Genos, and Jim's are the tourist places. Well known and good; but there are better to be found. When you watch a Monday Night football game from Philly, Pat's is where the cameras are to show the locals eating an "authentic Philadelphia steak sandwich". Pat's was the originator of this sandwich.

    When people who make a hobby out of sampling cheesesteaks talk about the best, you hear the names Steve's Prince of Steaks and Dalessandro's an awful lot. My one experience in Philly was at Steves and it was very good. But being a hot dog afficianado, I have very little to compare it to. Surprisingly, on my way home to Union, N.J. I had a steak sandwich from a local place that I preferred to Steve's. Philly Grille on Galloping Hill Rd. in Elizabeth is about 2 miles down the road from the Galloping Hill Inn. It is a few years old and the owner has connections to Jim's in Philadelphia. He is either a part owner or family member. I was told that the Philadelphia Grille uses harder bread and better quality meat than Jim's. The bread was better, although Philadelphians like it softer, and the meat was definitely tastier.

    I would suggest try as many places in Philly as you can and also a few in Jersey. There are many in south Jersey that are considered as good as or better than what you will find in Philadelphia. Whitehouse Subs in Atlantic City and Gaetanos (various locations) come to mind. One that I haven't had, but hear is great is from Chick's in Cherry Hill. Considered the best by the Newark (N.J.) Star Ledger as well as Philadelphia Magazine!

    After you sample all those cheesestaks, let us know what you think.

    2 Replies
    1. re: John Fox

      There have been many posts on this subject in the past. Consensus:
      D'Allesandro's and John's Roast Pork are the two most frequently cited as the best.
      At John's (which is my fave), you have your choice of cheese. Purists go for the provelone. My only complaint was that they put so much on, and it's so good, that the cheese overwhelms the taste of the meat. My husband gets it cheeseless, and I actually preferred that. Order "with" (pronounced "wit") and you get sauteed onions. Definitely recommended.
      As an authentic alternative to the cheesesteak, you might try a roast pork sandwich at D'Nics in Reading Terminal Market or at Tony Luke's at Front and Oregon. Also order "with" and also with spinach or brocolli rabb.
      Geno's and Pats are strictly for tourists, and those who have had too much beer, it's late at night, and these are the only places open. I prefer Geno's myself, if you must. Other more decent places to get cheesesteaks are Jim's on South Street, Sonny's on Market near 2d.

      1. re: Susan H

        If you do go to Sonny's, I prefer it Jersey Style Wit. This means that it has american cheese, mixed win with the meat during the cooking, plus fried onions mixed in as well. Good stuff.

    2. Try the link below. Holly does a good job of reviewing and rating a broad range of Philly eateries.


      1. d
        Donald Summerland

        This is easy: DO NOT go to Pats, Geno's or Jims. Simply drive to Snyder Ave, go to Front st. and have the best cheese steak in the whole world at John's Roast Pork.
        Case closed.

        1. There's a thread below "tour de cheesesteak' that can help.

          As below, I will recommend 'Steve's Prince of Steak's' on Bustleton a little northeast of the city. Steve's is also on

          I'll say to go ahead and try Pat's and/or Geno's (right across the street from each other). I respectfully disagree that they are only for tourists and drunks. If Pat's or Geno's were down here in Washington, DC they would clean up. It's the rolls! I don't think for a second that Pat's or Geno's serves up the best in Philly, but as a first time visitor on a cheesesteak quest, I think you'd be doing yourself wrong by not hitting one, if not both. And it's rare that when I hit Philly, I don't stop at both Steve's as well as Pat's or Geno's.

          Many don't like Pat's / Geno's and many love them. Just as I am among those that are no big fan of Jim's, but obviously Jim's has a ton of followers, as does Pat's and Geno's.



          2 Replies
          1. re: KOK

            I have to disagree. Pat's is awful. I'd rather have a cheesesteak from Philadelphia Cheesesteak Factory in DC (wrong roll, but not horrible, and the meat/cheese blend is much better) than have another Pat's.

            If you MUST go to Pat's, get Whiz, so at least the cheese will be melted!

            1. re: gina

              That's how it always is on chowhound. GGoo above hates Dalessandro's but HamsonPhilly is all over it like stink on a monkey.

              Philadelphia Cheesesteak Factory was pretty good in College Park, Md but it has long ago closed. I never went to the one in Georgetown.



          2. I like Pat's and Geno's.

            Screw the haters.