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Feb 28, 2007 09:00 AM

Best Cheesesteak (in Philly) from a Place That Is Off the Beaten Path?

Just in case I fly to Philly this spring to catch a ballgame, I'd like to know about a place or two that has great cheesesteak that isn't touristy and isn't well known. Thanks! Anyplace within 5 miles of downtown would work for me.

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  1. Chink's - Torresdale St. in Northeast Philly (my favorite)
    Steve's Prince of Steaks - St Vincent and Castor St - NE Philly
    John's Roast Pork - Weccacoe (sp?) and Snyder - South Philly
    Tony Luke's - Oregon Ave - South Philly

    Not so good - Pat's, Geno's, Jim's

    Overrated....way, way overrated - D'alessandro's in Roxborough. Can sombody explain to me why everyone loves this place?

    Don't miss trying a roast pork italian (roast pork, sharp provolone, greens) at DiNic's in the Reading Terminal Market, John's Roast Pork or Tony Luke's. A better Philadelphia sandwich. Beats the cheesesteak by a mile.

    4 Replies
    1. re: G Goo

      I agree totally with your list. However, I think the answer to the D'alessandro's question lies in its history. Once upon a time they did have one of the very best if not the best cheesesteak in Philly. I would stop and get one each time I was in the area. But that was in the 80's. When I came back to town in the 00's it's one of the first places I went and I was also totally disappointed. But then I discovered Steves (the one on Bustleton, not the Boulevard, which is not as good) and Chinks, so hooray. Even though I prefer a chopped Steak, Steve's really delivers. For folks who used to eat at D'a but haven't been for a long time, fondness and memories probably account for their being on the list rather than a recent experience. It's a shame but it is what it is. And I never made it across the street to Chubbys. One of these days...

      1. re: Ellen

        At Chink's I love sitting at the bar where I can see the steaks being made in the window, and the shakes being whipped up. I always end up in a's the kind of place that facilitates conversation. It's such a throwback. Love it.

      2. re: G Goo

        See link to change in D'Alessandro's ownership:

        Go to Chubby's- right across Henry Avenue from D'A.

        1. re: G Goo

          Problem with getting a cheesesteak at John's Roast Pork is trying to avoid the roast just draws me in...mmmmm....

        2. I vote for Steve's. There is one that is easy to get to from downtown. It's in the North East on Comly and Roosevelt Blvd. You can get there easily from I-95. Never go to Dalessandro's, most dissapointing cheese steak I've had. Made me mad I spent the money.

          1 Reply
          1. re: dream_of_giusti

            That's funny. I felt the same way when I wasted money on Steve's. Now that D's has been sold, let's see what happens to the place, whether it goes up, goes down, or remains the same.

          2. John's Roast Pork is not far from the ballpark and the cheesesteaks and roast pork sandwiches are the best. Strange hours though (usually, M-F 6am-3pm)- if you miss it then Tony Luke's is an acceptable (though not nearly as good) substitute, even closer to the ballpark.

            5 Replies
            1. re: pronek

              The hours are based on the fact that they have always been primarily there for breakfast - lunch for the dock workers. Didn't get much publicity til Craig L did the article a few years ago. They are now open on Saturdays as well, but close by 3:00. Happily, Snyder Ave is now open between Columbus Blvd and second St (it has been closed for over a year, so it is again easy to access!

              1. re: Bigley9

                There now open Sat.? Are you positive? I hope so.

                1. re: Tonyjlive

                  They started just before they closed Snyder Ave and it was on and off during the construction but they were there last weeked!

                  1. re: Bigley9

                    and not there by 2;00 this weekend! I'll try to get more info

              2. re: pronek

                Open till ~3 PM unless they run out of rolls earlier than that...

              3. G Goo, I would suspect you aren't from Philly as no true Philadelphian would ever call Torresdale Avenue, Torresdale Street. Nonetheless, I believe you really know a cheesesteak given your list and take on Pat's and Geno's and to a lesser extent Jim's which while not up to the standard of Chink's, Steve's, John's or Tony Luke's, is still better than Pat's or Geno's.

                Regarding D'Alessandro's, I have to say that on any given day I could agree or disagree. I think the problem with the place is the same problem with Jim's, they cook too much steak in a giant pile on the grill. The meat really steams instead of grilling and seems to become chewy. Carmelization makes meat taste better and if you're steaming it, it's going to cook but never taste as good. I don't know whether I've just been lucky but, of all the times I've been to John's which is my favorite, the steaks are always cooked to order, they don't have this giant pile of meat on the grill steaming away.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Den

                  Actually I spent 8 years of my life in Mayfair. Although I've lived outside the hood for a while now, yes I do consider myself a true Philadelphian. The Ave in my life was Frankford not Torresdale.

                  Whoops! Now I'm embarrassed ;) Hope this doesn't ruin my cheesesteak cred......

                  I agree with your take on D'alessandro's. The 3 or 4 times I've been there I was greeted with that mountain of steaming beef. Not appetizing. Additionally their onions are limp and bland and piled on top of the steak like a cherry on a sundae. The onions and cheese are best when mixed into the steak. Chinks steaks, while simple (american and onions the only options) are made to order resulting in a delicious symphony of cheese, onions, beef and bread.

                2. CHUBBY'S !!!!!! on Henry avenue Don't even think about going across the street D'Alessandros. Chubby's consistently delivers a fantastic cheesesteak.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Marianna215

                    I agree on Chubby's. Have an ice cold mug of beer with your cheesesteak. Service is friendly also. They even pack steaks to go for me to take back home to New York. I get a chubby from Chubby's.