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

hiddenboston Feb 28, 2007 09:00 AM

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.

  1. e
    EastPA Aug 1, 2009 08:02 AM

    Leo's in Folcroft. No interior seating, but picnic tables outside. Those and others: See


    1. p
      pazos Jul 8, 2008 06:35 AM

      Another off the beaten path suggestion is Gooey Louie's in the Pennsport area, near 3rd & Moyamensing. Great cheesesteaks & hoagies, too. No seating, but great 4 take out. Bocella's in Havertown has been sold & isn't that good any longer. Mama's in Bala is super, also.

      1 Reply
      1. re: pazos
        gardens4me Sep 27, 2009 07:58 AM

        I'd vote for Mama's any day!

      2. b
        billyphiladelphia Mar 21, 2007 01:23 PM

        I am from Philly but now live in the Midwest. Grew up eating Larry's on Lancaster Ave & 54th & City Line which were great then, not so much now. When in Philly, dying for a cheesesteak, I was going to Dalessandro's (sp?) which sometimes was very good and often just OK. I found relief at Chubby's across the street which is not fabulous, but damn good. In re: Pat's and Geno's: Take a pass.

        8 Replies
        1. re: billyphiladelphia
          kg4 Mar 22, 2007 02:11 PM

          I agree with most everyone on here Pat's & Geno's are no good unless you are down in the city at 3 or 4 am and very well hydrated. I think a good cheesesteak comes from Sonny's in between 2nd and 3rd on Market street in the Olde City area. If you can travel outside of the city you'll find an EXCELLENT Cheesesteak at Pudge's in Blue Bell.

          1. re: kg4
            phillyjazz Mar 24, 2007 07:51 AM

            If you get steak from Pudge's, eat it at Pudges. They are HUGE, but also very wet, and it it travels longer than five minutes, you'll need a knife and fork, and even then the roll will be a soggy mess.

            1. re: phillyjazz
              YoccosFan Mar 25, 2007 05:12 PM

              I think Pudge's is decent but I don't really care for their regular cheesesteak that much. For some reason, their fried onions taste weird to me. Their cheesesteak hoagie is good though.

              The best I have found for a cheesesteak is the previously mentioned Steve's Prince of Steaks. Their steaks are terrific.

            2. re: kg4
              cheesewit Apr 1, 2007 06:48 PM

              In my book, kg4 is someone who knows a thing or two about good cheesesteaks. This thread's author asks for someplace in the city within 5 miles from downtown. Best recommendation I've seen based on that is Sonny's. Wanna' travel a bit? Check out Pudge's in either Blue Bell or Jeffersonville. I love La Forno in Media. Another not well known to those outside of the area is Bocella's Deli in Havertown. Gigantic cheesesteaks there. Check out Kappy's in Conshohocken not far from Ridge and Butler - very good cheeseteaks in the tradition of Steve's. From time to time, I'll go to Mama's on Belmont Ave. in Bala Cynwyd. Some people swear by Leo's in Folcroft. I'm not such a big fan. Another good place is the Thunderbird in Broomall on West Chester Pike. I've been to almost 200 steak shops and can wax poetic about cheesesteaks and their variations for hours.

              1. re: cheesewit
                WillieHughes Apr 4, 2007 12:02 AM

                Nobody's mentioned my favorite, so I'm guessing it's not there anymore. When I lived in Philly briefly, 10 years ago, there was a street vendor named Gus's Hoagies or Gus's Steaks or somesuch. He'd park his truck at the corner of Callowhill and Broad Streets every weekday from 11 to 2 ... that's right next to the Inquirer-Daily News Building and across the street from the parking enforcement bureau. He'd have a line stretched halfway around the block all afternoon long.

                I tried Pat's and Geno's and several of the other Center City establishments and for my money, the best cheesesteak came from Gus's truck. I worked nights at The Inquirer and I'd come an hour early to work just so I could stand in line and get my cheesesteak from Gus's, which I'd take upstairs and enjoy before getting down to work.

                Can anyone tell me if he's still there? Used to be him and his wife, and sometimes their 20-ish son would be there helping them out too.

                Man, I miss a good cheesesteak. They're hard to come by in Montana. :-)

                (P.S., Gus would make your sandwich with whiz or provolone or American or all of the above, however you like it. Personally I preferred the provolone.)

                1. re: WillieHughes
                  tuxedo Apr 4, 2007 06:52 AM

                  Will be in Philly at Hahneman (sp?) Hospital in a few weeks - I have only eaten at one place - I think it is called Riks in the Reading Terminal Market - Where should I get my cheesesteak from after my appointment - I think it will wind up being around 3pm or should I go before around 12pm??? Looking for somewhere close because I will need to drive back to central NJ!

                  1. re: tuxedo
                    phillyjazz Apr 8, 2007 07:00 AM

                    Rick's is still there, but they are a variation of the Pat's/Genos' thin slab of meat on a roll variety.... not the best cheesteak. If you go to the terminal, get a roast pork with fresh-cut sharp Provolone for DiNics' !!!

                    Or Chinatown is a few blocks away. Grab a great deal on a Burmese lunch at Rangoon, or some great Vietnamese !!

                    If you REALLY had your heart set on a cheesesteak, I'd head north up to Market to Campo's or Sonny's ..

                    1. re: phillyjazz
                      brightman Apr 8, 2007 08:40 AM

                      to get to Campo's from Hahnemann, go south on Broad or 15th, then east on Market...

          2. q
            quazi Mar 17, 2007 05:38 PM

            It has been years since I have been but my best cheesesteak has always been at the explorer's den. Defintely of the beaten path. They used to close at 4 am but according to menupages they now close at 1 am.

            1. p
              phillyjazz Mar 16, 2007 05:44 PM

              The question to which I was last responding had to do with steaks in proximity to the Hilton Garden downtown. Assuming "rebategirl" is not a native, and maybe "off-topic" I suspect she is not looking to go "off the beaten path", but to get a decent cheesesteak.

              From the Gallery, I'd go to 2nd and Market to Campos, or Sonny's. Either of those will be close enough to give a tourist a high-quality experience within walking distance ...

              1 Reply
              1. re: phillyjazz
                brightman Mar 17, 2007 07:02 AM

                I second the recommendation for Campo's.

              2. r
                rebategirl Mar 15, 2007 07:09 PM

                Are any of these close to the Hilton Garden downtown?

                3 Replies
                1. re: rebategirl
                  G Goo Mar 16, 2007 05:03 AM

                  The best cheesesteak joints are well outside Center City walking distance. John's Roast Pork and Tony Luke's are in South Philly and Steve's and Chink's are in Northeast Philly.

                  1. re: G Goo
                    phillyjazz Mar 16, 2007 11:15 AM

                    I would beg to differ. There are DOZENS if not HUNDREDS of perfectly good steak sandwiches in Center City. I've had better-than-acceptable cheesesteaks from street vendors, and pretty fine ones in some cheap taverns like Oscar's on Sansom. While some of the more stellar examples may be found in outlying areas, there are plenty of joints around 2nd and Market, Reading Terminal, South Street and University City where excellent examples can be had.

                    1. re: phillyjazz
                      G Goo Mar 16, 2007 12:37 PM

                      I agree with you that there are passable steaks in CC, but I believe the question was referring to the steak joints we were discussing.

                2. OlderPhiladelphian Mar 15, 2007 06:57 PM

                  Well, Uh mmm....I am 67 years old and have been eating cheese steaks all over this city for the past 55 years, so I guess I have some experience. When I was a kid, I never ever heard of a cheese steak with that crappy spread. Provoline or American cheese were the choices. I have eaten a cheese steak at every place mentioned on this Board that is within the confines of Phila and I have NEVER eaten a cheese steak with that fake Kraft stuff and I dont know anyone else who has other then tourists. Maaz3, whoever you are, you are completely wrong.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: OlderPhiladelphian
                    brightman Mar 16, 2007 06:22 AM

                    Mazza3 is not at all wrong. plenty of locals eat steaks with wiz. American cheese is not that different than wiz, as it too is a processed cheese product, not a natural aged cheese. my preference is mild provolone, but when the craving strikes, I get a wiz with.

                    1. re: brightman
                      mazza3 Mar 29, 2007 02:04 PM

                      thanks for the support brightman. born and raised south phill-ian, near 30 years old and plenty of people from the city eat whiz, end of story, oldersir. to each his own.

                    2. re: OlderPhiladelphian
                      rbehrens Mar 23, 2008 02:06 PM

                      Since you clearly have more experience than the others posting here, can you tell me your favorite places and ways you like the cheesesteak prepared ?

                      1. re: OlderPhiladelphian
                        rbehrens Mar 23, 2008 02:14 PM

                        Also, do you know which, if any, would overnight some to me? Or maybe my sister can do it; she lives in Blue Bell. I can't remember if my daughter and I went to Jim's or Pat's in downtown around 2004. Aren't they across the street from one another? In any event, it was good but not great. We went to D'alessandor's in July '06 and my wife and I thought it was fantastic! Though not a native of Philadelphia, I grew up in Buffalo and used to drive cars to Manheim for auction, where us drivers would stop in a local joint for some good ones, too.

                      2. egbluesuede Mar 15, 2007 08:23 AM

                        Do the best cheesesteak recommendations in Philly involve Cheese Whiz? I know the big tourist traps in Philly use that, but was curious if real Philadelphians really eat that stuff, or is there better?

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: egbluesuede
                          mazza3 Mar 15, 2007 09:13 AM

                          plenty of natives go for whiz, though this native prefers provolone. i have ordered a cheesesteak with american or whiz though when the mood is on me, all are good. and you can always ask for extra cheese if you are feeling decadent. yum! my two favorite ways of ordering a cheesteak - provie with pizza sauce, onions and mushrooms or provie with mushrooms and hot peppers. mmmmmm...hey-zeus christos do i want a cheesesteak now. why did i give up meat for lent?!?!?! ugh!

                          1. re: egbluesuede
                            Boognish Mar 15, 2007 09:18 AM

                            It's not a tourist thing at all. The fact of the matter is that the first cheese ever placed on a steak was in fact Cheese Whiz. Kraft is local to Philadelphia.

                            Not that I would put it on my steak, but it's even more authentic than American or Prove.

                            1. re: egbluesuede
                              G Goo Mar 15, 2007 11:03 AM

                              Wow I disagree....I always saw Whiz as something that out-of-towners put on their steaks. Guess I'm wrong. Personally I think it's gross. Go for the provolone or the american.

                              You will soon find that cheeseseteak tastes are highly individual. On occasion I do a steak, american, fried onions and *gasp* ketchup!

                              1. re: G Goo
                                Boognish Mar 15, 2007 12:08 PM

                                Yeah, steak sandwiches were only steak until the 1950's when Kraft developed its new space-age cheese food product. It was somewhat of a gimmick to include it with the sandwich.

                                I have lots of Philly friends who always go for the whiz. No me though. Yick.

                                1. re: G Goo
                                  brightman Mar 15, 2007 02:05 PM

                                  as a lifelong Philadelphian who lived 15 years in South Philly, I strongly disagree with your disparaging of steaks with wiz. Steve's wiz pizza steak is one of the best sandwiches on the planet.

                                  1. re: brightman
                                    phillyjazz Mar 15, 2007 03:22 PM

                                    I agree! Whiz may seem unnatural, but it's no less so than the American Cheese or Provolone-like substance you're likely to get on a cheesesteak anyway. Whiz is tangy, and you can't beat the color, especially if you are buzzed. REAL provolone (sharp) hand cut on a roast pork .... now THAT is another story ...

                                    1. re: phillyjazz
                                      G Goo Mar 15, 2007 07:03 PM

                                      You can certainly get sharp provolone on a cheesesteak......just ask! Beats cheez whiz any day. You couldn't pay me to put that orange crud on my steak!

                                2. re: egbluesuede
                                  murano Mar 24, 2008 09:30 AM

                                  Just make sure you order in English! Ha Ha to all you natives.

                                3. OlderPhiladelphian Mar 12, 2007 06:20 PM

                                  What could be more off the beaten path then John's Roast Pork? In this case, you get to eat the BEST cheese steak in town, the BEST roast pork in town, and it is so far off the beaten path that unless you are a local, good luck finding it!!

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: OlderPhiladelphian
                                    hiddenboston Mar 13, 2007 06:20 AM

                                    I like a good challenge, so if I do get to Philly this spring and decide to go to John's, I'll make sure I have a good map, my trusty compass, and my GPS!

                                    1. re: hiddenboston
                                      pronek Mar 13, 2007 07:00 AM

                                      It's actually pretty easy to find (if you're driving). Just go down Cloumbus Blvd to the Ikea (which, like most Ikeas, you can't miss), look for the Lowe's next to it, and find John's tucked away in the corner up behind the Lowe's. If you get lost you can just do a perimeter patrol until you find it....

                                      1. re: pronek
                                        phillyjazz Mar 15, 2007 03:19 PM

                                        I was there a few weeks ago, and they were doing construction that made to impossible to get right to John's. I usually park in the big shopping center lot across the street anyway ....

                                  2. m
                                    mazza3 Mar 12, 2007 01:24 PM

                                    two good cheesesteaks on south street would be from olympia II (between 6th and 7th) and genarro's on the corner of 11th or 12th and south. neither are the bets in the city but good and accesible if you are being a tourist.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: mazza3
                                      GBrickson Jul 7, 2008 03:12 PM

                                      Steaks on South is great, too. It's near 4th Street.

                                    2. b
                                      brightman Mar 7, 2007 05:23 AM

                                      Joe's is at 16th and Sansom. The only thing between Market and Chestnut on that side of the street is Liberty Place.

                                      1. p
                                        phillyjazz Mar 7, 2007 05:06 AM

                                        Cosmi's is a real deli and has no seating (except some limited tables outside) but I guess John's suffers from the same issue. Cosmi's is good, but not close to John's. For a John's steak I'll eat in my car.

                                        The trick to D'Allesandro's is to only go when its not busy. Otherwise, the steamed meat is what you get (but across the street at Chubby's is hardly ever as busy.) Chubby's uses ribeye (as does Sonny's Famous, down the street from Campo's around 2nd and Market.

                                        As a rule, I NEVER eat a steak in a pizza shop, as they usually toast the roll, use mozzarella, etc... but Joe's on 16th (I think between Market and Chestnut) makes a very nice steak.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: phillyjazz
                                          coolgeek Mar 11, 2007 08:18 PM

                                          I used to swear by the Joe's cheesesteak and ate one every week for years. But after the old guy stopped cooking them, I just haven't found it worth going any more. Which doubly sucks because if there's a good steak to be found in Center City, I haven't found it.

                                        2. gigibell214 Mar 5, 2007 01:44 PM

                                          I absolutely love Jim's steak on 4th and South. I think that South Street is a good place to visit if you never been to Philly before. I think the meat that they use for their steak is tops. So, you can go to Jim's, have the best steak in a cool, legendary hang-out neighorhood. Get the best Margarita ever at Copabanana right acroos the street. Stroll to the waterfront or for the views and have fun.

                                          1. Infomaniac Mar 5, 2007 07:23 AM

                                            I was in Philly this weekend and had a latenight cheesesteak at Campo's Deli on Market Street that was pretty good.
                                            My favorite cheesesteak though is at John's Roast Pork in South Philly but I didn't have time to get there this trip.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Infomaniac
                                              rabidog Mar 22, 2007 02:54 PM

                                              i'm vegetarian, but my girlfriend weighs in heavily on the cheesesteak opinion when we have out-of-towners in who really want to have one. she agrees with the above two recs: if we're driving, a stop at john's roast pork (reeeeeeeeeally off the beaten path, under i-95 near the PPA tow lot) is a must... and if we're walking around the city, we usually stop in at campo's in old city - great spot for people-watching when they have the tables out in the warm months. and campo's has other food that the vegetarian part of the equation can eat. :)

                                            2. b
                                              brightman Mar 4, 2007 06:43 PM

                                              original poster is looking for something within 5 miles of downtown (or CBP). all these suburban recs are great, but is there anything as yet unknown in Center City or S. Philly?

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: brightman
                                                hopalong Mar 7, 2007 10:20 AM

                                                i've suggested this little gem to a lot of people and no one seems to believe me...until they actually go. random little pizza place called paul's pizza on 20th street (and spruce) - their cheesesteaks are the best. funny b/c their pizza's only so so, but their steaks, oh man: perfectly toasted but still soft bread, cheese mixed in with the meat, steak cooked one portion at a time (no steaming pile ala jim's), great fried onions. i live in ny now where there are NO good cheesesteaks to be had and oh how i wish i could go to pauls right now....

                                                1. re: hopalong
                                                  steelydad Jan 8, 2009 08:54 AM

                                                  I have never had a cheesesteak served to me in Philly where the roll was toasted. Is that a new trend?

                                              2. p
                                                PhillyFoodDoc Mar 4, 2007 04:37 PM

                                                I think you are thinking of Frusco's.
                                                Great Steak and they use Sarcone's rolls.
                                                For the OP of the
                                                beaten path and nice folks.

                                                6700 Rising Sun Avenue
                                                Philadelphia, PA 19111

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: PhillyFoodDoc
                                                  Delucacheesemonger Jan 7, 2009 01:21 PM

                                                  Thought Frusco's was 7220 Frankford, drove by that address today and did not see it on Rising Sun.

                                                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger
                                                    cheesewit Jan 7, 2009 02:22 PM

                                                    Frusco's is at 7220 Frankford Ave. There's another one (not sure if it's same owner) at 8675 Torresdale Ave. The one on Frankford Ave. is great.

                                                    1. re: cheesewit
                                                      Delucacheesemonger Jan 7, 2009 03:47 PM

                                                      Will try Frusco's and report back, used to live next door to owner of Jim's steaks nice house, not great steaks.

                                                2. j
                                                  jfr Mar 3, 2007 06:16 AM

                                                  About a year ago, a couple from New York City asked me directions to a cheesesteak place on Rising Sun Avenue. I forget the cross street now and the name of the place but I did warn them it was not the greatest neighborhood. It was recommended to them by people in New York. Anyone familiar with such a place? Maybe it was mentioned above and I just don't recognize it or maybe it is the true "underground" steak place.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: jfr
                                                    Foodcritic123 Oct 25, 2008 11:47 PM

                                                    JFR -- Have been following your posts - -are you in the restaurant business

                                                  2. p
                                                    PhillyFoodDoc Mar 3, 2007 02:10 AM

                                                    Anyone mention Cosmis, I had a few great Steaks there a few months ago and also
                                                    once in a while Cacias bakery on Rittner (15yh?) does a Roast pork special that is among the
                                                    best in the city with bread fresh out of the oven. I also second and third Steve's as it
                                                    is worth the trek to the NE

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: PhillyFoodDoc
                                                      pbergen Mar 6, 2007 10:03 AM

                                                      I heard about Cosmi's Deli - it's on 1501 S. 8th St at Dickinson St, a little bit south of Pat's and Geno's. Generally I've heard great things about this place but still haven't managed to get there myself. I'm wondering how their cheesesteaks compare with places like John's Roast Pork, D'alessandro's, Chink's, and Steve's.

                                                      In other words, is it merely good for the area or great by any standard? If it's truly great, then I think this place would qualify as a sleeper.

                                                      How about Evelyn & Shank's as another sleeper cheesesteak contender?

                                                      1. re: pbergen
                                                        EastPA Oct 26, 2008 08:07 AM

                                                        Evelyn & Shank's -Great roast beef sandwiches. Served w/ bowl of gravy and pickled tomatoes on the side. NO FRIES, DON'T ASK!

                                                        And There's a place down by the Airport - (Folcroft?) called Leo's that's pretty good for steaks.

                                                        Cosmi's very good as well, I highly recommend the seafood chowder.

                                                    2. rockhopper Mar 2, 2007 02:23 PM

                                                      Ok you said "In Philly" but then again you said "Best Cheesesteak". So I'll ignore the first clause.

                                                      Chick's deli in Cherry Hill (Erlton).
                                                      (Not "Chink's" which is a different place.)
                                                      You're not going to get a better cheesesteak anywhere. And there is a soft pretzel bakery 100 feet away.

                                                      1. RC51Mike Mar 2, 2007 11:21 AM

                                                        Kappy's on Butler Pike just north of Ridge Pike is very good. John's Pizza in Frazer also does good cheesesteaks. I second Eve's and Lou's but, I go for the zeps.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: RC51Mike
                                                          vicarious Mar 20, 2007 06:13 PM

                                                          I went by Kappy's today after reading about it online. It appears to be permanently closed.

                                                          1. re: vicarious
                                                            RC51Mike Mar 21, 2007 05:56 AM

                                                            That's too bad. Great steaks and nice folks.

                                                        2. overbrook Mar 2, 2007 06:27 AM

                                                          How about the Original Jim Steaks: 431 North Sixty-Second Street in West Philadelphia. It's been at that location since 1939.

                                                          1. p
                                                            pbergen Mar 1, 2007 11:59 PM

                                                            I have to agree about D'Alessandro's. The place is really hit-or-miss. I've had great cheesesteaks there on some occasions and pretty mediocre ones on others.

                                                            I like Chink's Steaks but their name makes me cringe. I went there once and when I mentioned something about Steve's (which I also like), the teenage girl behind the counter proceeded to trash their competitor, saying something to the effect of "Their cheesesteaks can't compare to ours." I'm not sure I agree, as I think both are very good, but it was amusing nonetheless. I like everything about the place except the moniker.

                                                            But all the places mentioned on this thread are pretty well-known among most Philly natives I've spoken with. Is there any truly "underground" place in the city or the 'burbs that's a hidden gem and only known amongst neighborhood locals? Something on the level of Di Fara in Brooklyn or Burt's Place in the Chicago suburbs, which are two great pizza places that operated in obscurity for a long time before becoming exposed by this site, among others. It was amazing for me (and most others I've spoken with) that places serving such great pizza could be practically unknown outside of their neighborhoods for years. (Today, Burt's is steadily gaining notoriety in the Windy City area while Di Fara is mobbed at all hours, thanks to a major NY Times write-up for about 5 years ago.)

                                                            I'm wondering if there's a seriously under-the-radar but top notch cheesesteak/hoagie equivalent in the greater Philly area.

                                                            8 Replies
                                                            1. re: pbergen
                                                              brightman Mar 2, 2007 03:56 AM

                                                              Try Talk of The Town. It is the least known of any of the establishments under discussion.

                                                              1. re: pbergen
                                                                G Goo Mar 2, 2007 04:08 AM

                                                                You want underground......try Sal's Pizzeria in the Warrington Mews shopping center in Warrington.......a great steak

                                                                1. re: G Goo
                                                                  pbergen Mar 2, 2007 09:37 AM

                                                                  Oh yeah? Nice. But is it simply "good for the suburbs" or a "destination-worthy place"? I have no problems driving out to an eatery if the food is terrific but was wondering if it's worth the long drive.

                                                                  Also, would you guys include Mama's in Bala Cynwyd on the list of good underground places? I've been wanting to go there for a while but every time I stopped by, it's been closed. Some people swear this is the best cheesesteak but others have told me not to bother. Your take?

                                                                  1. re: pbergen
                                                                    G Goo Mar 2, 2007 09:58 AM

                                                                    Well......worth a drive? I'd say no. While it is good for the suburbs, It doesn't beat a Chink's, or Steve's, or John's or Tony Luke's. But if you're in the neighborhood definitely stop in. It's in a strip mall and has the ambiance of a DMV. The people are nice and the steaks are great. They melt the cheese in with the steak.....just the way it should be.

                                                                    1. re: G Goo
                                                                      pbergen Mar 2, 2007 12:04 PM

                                                                      Mmm, sounds good. I'm not normally up in that area but I'll have to try it next time I'm around there. Thanks.

                                                                    2. re: pbergen
                                                                      need4food Mar 23, 2008 05:46 PM

                                                                      mama's is great but not what you would imagine as the typical philly cheese steak. they are huge and smothered with cheese on a harder roll. pretty impossible to eat just with your hands. i like there chicken cheese steaks as well. they are not open that late and i believe closed on monday or tuesday. they are actually a pizza joint but i'm not a big fan of their pizza. definitely a good steak but don't expect the typical philly cheese steak.

                                                                  2. re: pbergen
                                                                    Den Mar 2, 2007 06:21 AM

                                                                    Eve's Lunch in Norristown. Great zeps, meatballs and steaks. There's nothing quite like a cheesesteak zep.

                                                                    1. re: pbergen
                                                                      UVL Jul 31, 2009 10:59 AM

                                                                      Max's on Germantown and Erie Ave. It's a well known spot right near Temple Hospital and one of the best I've ever had. Only locals really know about it since it's deep in North Philadelphia. Also, a couple of doors down, is King of Pizza. Those guys are great and they've been there since I was a kid. (I'm 24 now btw)

                                                                    2. b
                                                                      brightman Mar 1, 2007 04:21 PM

                                                                      John's is great, and convenient to the ballpark, but likely not open at game time. Try Talk of The Town on Broad St., just north of Packer Ave. It is the closest to Steve's (one of the city's best, steak flipped not chopped) you will find in South Philly, and will not be mobbed with suburban Phillies fans like Tony Luke's. Get the cheesesteak at Talk of The Town, and get the roast pork sandwich from the Tony Luke's outpost at CBP.

                                                                      1. g
                                                                        gjassman Mar 1, 2007 11:48 AM

                                                                        John's Roast Pork for the steak and the pork. The best. Torresdale is an Ave. and it gets dumpier by the minute.

                                                                        1. b
                                                                          brightman Mar 1, 2007 08:26 AM

                                                                          get the roast pork at Tony Luke's at the ballpark and/or the Schmitter sandwich at the ballpark. both are excellent.

                                                                          1. w
                                                                            waynefoodie Mar 1, 2007 07:33 AM

                                                                            I have to totally agree with the comments on d'alessandros. Went there once and was greeted by a mound of steaming unappetizing beef. Everyone but me in the long line ordered thewsauce oin top and after eating the steak I now know why. You need it to mask the flavorless beef. Never again.

                                                                            Also agree on John's roast pork for both the pork and the cheese steak.

                                                                            Have to admit I am always surprised when I get the roast pork at Citizens Bank Park from Tony Lukes and it is good. Ball park food is not supposed to be good. :)

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: waynefoodie
                                                                              G Goo Mar 1, 2007 12:36 PM

                                                                              Yeah the food offered at the ballpark is excellent (notable exception - Bull's BBQ...yuck!) and the beer is fantastic. Sly Fox, Yards, Troegs, Victory and Flying Fish brews can be found. Kudos to the Phillies for making an effort to spotlight local favorites. But that still doesn't make up for 1 championship in over 100 years!

                                                                            2. j
                                                                              jjwls7 Feb 28, 2007 06:12 PM

                                                                              I agree with the comment about d'alessandro's...sometimes their great, other times they have waaay too much meat just sitting there in a huge pile. Its kind of gross to see actually. But d'alessandros and chubbys (across the street) are a bit further from center city than 5 minutes.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: jjwls7
                                                                                Philly Mar 1, 2007 08:32 AM

                                                                                The OP said 5 miles not minutes.

                                                                                1. re: Philly
                                                                                  jjwls7 Mar 2, 2007 02:17 PM

                                                                                  its more than 5 miles as well.

                                                                              2. Marianna215 Feb 28, 2007 04:01 PM

                                                                                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
                                                                                  steelydad Jan 8, 2009 08:50 AM

                                                                                  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.

                                                                                2. Den Feb 28, 2007 02:13 PM

                                                                                  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
                                                                                    G Goo Mar 1, 2007 04:20 AM

                                                                                    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. p
                                                                                    pronek Feb 28, 2007 12:40 PM

                                                                                    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
                                                                                      Bigley9 Mar 5, 2007 10:05 AM

                                                                                      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
                                                                                        Tonyjlive Mar 6, 2007 03:13 PM

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

                                                                                        1. re: Tonyjlive
                                                                                          Bigley9 Mar 7, 2007 09:51 AM

                                                                                          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
                                                                                            Bigley9 Mar 12, 2007 08:22 AM

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

                                                                                      2. re: pronek
                                                                                        EastPA Oct 26, 2008 08:04 AM

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

                                                                                      3. d
                                                                                        dream_of_giusti Feb 28, 2007 11:37 AM

                                                                                        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
                                                                                          BigAppetite Mar 27, 2008 02:09 PM

                                                                                          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. G Goo Feb 28, 2007 11:24 AM

                                                                                          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
                                                                                            Ellen Mar 2, 2007 09:04 AM

                                                                                            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
                                                                                              G Goo Mar 2, 2007 09:32 AM

                                                                                              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 conversation.....it's the kind of place that facilitates conversation. It's such a throwback. Love it.

                                                                                            2. re: G Goo
                                                                                              GBrickson Jul 7, 2008 03:08 PM

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


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

                                                                                              1. re: G Goo
                                                                                                Phantomgreen Sep 26, 2009 11:33 AM

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

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