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Pat's or Geno's for cheesesteak?

i
irishnyc Jun 17, 2007 12:40 PM

Heading to Philly in 2 weeks for a ballgame, and the boy and I love to search out must have food when we travel. Please don't tell us to go elsewhere -- Pat's or Geno's it is.

Which do you prefer and why?

  1. p
    parpar Mar 30, 2013 08:10 PM

    I took a trip to Philly with the children during spring break. I had to check out Pat's and Geno's. Here are my impressions:

    Lines:
    Pat's- line seems slightly longer and the patrons are more friendlier. I had a good time talking to people in line which made the time go by quicker. There is a sense of enthusiasm in line.
    Geno's- somewhat shorter line but the patrons were boring. They don't seem very happy at all. However, once you get closer to the counter, there are pictures, badges, and other things on display to check out.

    Cheesesteak:
    Pat's- more meaty and tender. Chopped up steak was easier to bite and chew. More cheeze wiz. The bread was fresh, soft and a bit chewy. Though, if you don't eat it right away, the beef juices will soak parts of it.
    Geno's- sliced thin slices of steak...good to be able to see the meat that I'm eating. You get about 4-5 slices but not enough. I can even see a bit of fat like a real steak. The bread was more chewy. It also had a little bit of sour dough taste to it. The cheese wiz seemed to disappear!

    Verdict:
    It depends on my mood but will lean towards Pat's. If I wanted a cheesesteak that was tasty on it's own without any condiments and I was eating it right away, it is definitely Pat's. The seasoning is light and perfect. The juices factor was very good.
    If I was putting condiments on the cheesesteak, I'd go to Geno's. Since the ratio between meat and bread is less, I have more room to add stuff. Also, if I was getting it to go, the bread holds up better and doesn't soak up the juices and grease as easily. Geno's is like a thin sliced steak sandwich on good chewy bread, not bad at all!. Pat's is the real deal.

    1 Reply
    1. re: parpar
      s
      sal_acid Mar 30, 2013 08:14 PM

      +1

    2. f
      Flyers4Ever Feb 19, 2013 06:31 PM

      You can try both. But then, do yourself a favor... Get on I95 south and follow the signs for 495 south and take the 2nd ramp off the first exit just over the Delaware state line. (It will say for Philadelphia Pike). Take a right at the top of the exit. Then go two lights and you'll see Claymont Steak Shop on the left. If you come down on a Friday or Saturday night, the whole town smells like cheesesteaks! Just don't ask them to chop the steak. Signs in the store will tell you to not bother and they mean it. Doesn't matter - you wouldn't want them to change a thing!

       
      2 Replies
      1. re: Flyers4Ever
        v
        vnair2 Feb 19, 2013 06:38 PM

        You do realize that this thread is hella old, right?

        1. re: Flyers4Ever
          s
          sal_acid Feb 19, 2013 07:26 PM

          Claymont Steak is a fine cheesesteak. So is Pizza Pro farther into Delaware.

          Pat's v. Geno's? Pat's for me. But I'd rather have Tony Luke's or Dalessandro's.

        2. k
          KS1 Jan 24, 2012 07:29 PM

          Well, since we're still replying to this 2007 post, I might as well add my two cents! ;-)

          My wife and I just returned from Philadelphia, and we've never had cheesesteaks, so we thought we should start with Geno's and Pats -- no matter how touristy they might be. Like others mentioned, they’re literally right across the street from each other – maybe 50 feet apart, so we decided to split a cheesesteak at Pats and then split one at Geno’s, so that we could compare.

          We decided on a “cheese whiz, without.” That is, a chopped steak sandwich, without onions, topped with cheese whiz.

          Our experience matched the description of muusiz’s experience (written above), so I’m copying it here:

          Geno’s:
          Less meat, meat slightly tender and more seasoning
          Cheese wiz thinner - more runny
          Bread is softer, I think they steam the bread but because it's Italian bread, a little chewy after steaming
          Sandwich is presented tightly wrapped - easy to carry around. The wrapper is bigger and non-porous
          General appearance is cleaner and brighter

          Pat's:
          More meat, less tender, not seasoned at all
          Thicker chess wiz
          Bread is more crunchy
          They give the sandwich to you un-wrapped in a much smaller piece of wrapper. The wrapper is porous - oil sip through makes eating messy.
          General appearance darker and less clean

          So for us, because Geno’s uses meat that I think was also sliced thinner and that was more tender and runnier cheese wiz and softer bread, our general impressions was that Geno’s cheesesteak was…squishier. It tasted more fast food-y and less deli-y (yes, I realize that they are both fast food, but I’m trying to convey my impressions of the two sandwiches).

          By contrast, Pat’s steak was cut rougher and thicker (more country-style, if that makes any sense) and the bread was a harder French or Italian-y roll and the whiz was thicker, there was more texture to the sandwich. It tasted to us more like we were eating a steak sandwich, as opposed to Geno’s, which to us had less substance and seemed squishy steamy.

          Hope that helps anyone trying to decide between the two, but I guess my bottom line response to the original post (“Pat’s or Geno’s for cheesesteak?") would be to echo those who say, they’re right across the street from each other. Try both and decide for yourself.

          I think comparing the two made us appreciate both much more than we would have simply just trying one.

          1. Mr Taster Nov 24, 2011 12:51 AM

            Arrived in Philly tonight visiting family. Wound up at Geno's/Pat's (it was midnight on Weds, so not many other options). No lines at either. Ordered wiz wit at each shop. Here's the results.

            Geno's steak was served cold! Looked like it had been premade. Wiz was inside the bun, oddly thin and liquidly. I could barely see any orange glow. Meat itself was light grey, a little dry, with not much flavor.

            Pat's was leagues better. Meat was properly browned. Thick layer of wiz slathered unapologetically on top with an icing spatula. Sandwich was appropriately hot. Bread was about equal at each place.

            Don't know if Geno's makes it a habit of selling prefab sandwiches, but they should not do this unless crowds necessitate it. I when the huge crowds are there, because turnaround will ensure the sandwiches don't sit around long enough to get cold. But at midnight on a weekday? No excuse.

            I should let you know that last Thanksgiving we did a Chink's/Steve's comparison, but I made the mistake of ordering w/ prov and have regretted that decision ever since. (Bland!) I've come to the conclusion that orange cheese is the way to go with Philly steaks. I'm tempted to redo Chink's/Steve's with a wiz wit at each....

            Mr Taster

            1 Reply
            1. re: Mr Taster
              b
              barryg Nov 24, 2011 07:10 AM

              Steve's American is liquified and very good. i have them to "both cheeses": a mixture of both the liquid American and whiz.

            2. j
              jayjaymom Apr 25, 2011 08:27 AM

              Seriously!? Do both, and then go around the corner to Chickies for an Italian and/or vegetarian hoagie

              2 Replies
              1. re: jayjaymom
                b
                Bigley9 Apr 25, 2011 12:25 PM

                I'll second the love for Chickies. First time there this past week. Great hoagies. Great little mix of deli, Italian products, etc..

                1. re: jayjaymom
                  iL Divo Feb 21, 2013 02:00 PM

                  actually I have to agree with JJ.
                  get 'em both same time, take back to hotel or wherever and dive into both. I so remember one was better by a half a hair and I think after bringing 'em both back to my hotel room, I put my taste buds to the test.
                  and although I didn't much enjoy either I knew I had to get 'em both when I was in the City of Brotherly Love.

                2. iL Divo Apr 24, 2011 09:34 PM

                  neither is good although I know this post is old.
                  they have rude people working at both places and neither is worth the money spent.
                  good cheesesteaks have evaded me mostly forever too but the best ones I've had are at a little joint by a Holiday Inn called Jims.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: iL Divo
                    b
                    Buckethead Apr 25, 2011 08:20 AM

                    If you're ever up in the northeast, visit Steve's Prince of Steaks. They make the only cheesesteak I've wanted to eat more than once.

                  2. m
                    milnert Apr 24, 2011 06:52 PM

                    I wondered the same. I chose Geno's because the looks of Geno's appealed to me.
                    They just rushed us through the line, only accepted cash, and gave no receipts. I had driven all the way from Atlantic City, and knowing this, they refused to let me use the restroom. They were rude. It seemed that they just wanted my money.

                    All that would have been OK if the food were good. The steak had absolutely no seasoning on it. I tried to eat it, but ended up throwing it away.

                    I would choose Pat's, because Geno's was so bad.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: milnert
                      l
                      leepinleemur Apr 24, 2011 08:14 PM

                      I would not expect a significantly different experience.

                      1. re: leepinleemur
                        b
                        barryg Apr 24, 2011 08:52 PM

                        Only real difference is that the staff at Pat's play mean but are actually nice. Geno's folks actually are assholes. You still can't use the bathroom at Pat's.

                      2. re: milnert
                        Delucacheesemonger Apr 26, 2011 09:07 AM

                        Should have stayed in AC and eaten it at White House

                        1. re: Delucacheesemonger
                          c
                          cwdonald Apr 26, 2011 11:24 AM

                          +1 for the White House (not the one in DC)

                          1. re: cwdonald
                            Delucacheesemonger Apr 26, 2011 11:53 AM

                            Obama serves cheesesteaks ?, who knew ?

                      3. m
                        muusiz Mar 9, 2011 06:28 AM

                        Here's an objective comparison of Geno and Pat

                        Geno:
                        Less meat, meat slightly tender and more seasoning
                        Cheese wiz thinner - more runny
                        Bread is softer, I think they steam the bread but because it's Italian bread, a little chewy after steaming
                        Sandwich is presented tightly wrapped - easy to carry around. The wrapper is bigger and non-porous
                        General appearance is cleaner and brighter

                        Pat:
                        More meat, less tender, not seasoned at all
                        Thicker chess wiz
                        Bread is more crunchy
                        They give the sandwich to you un-wrapped in a much smaller piece of wrapper. The wrapper is porous - oil sip through makes eating messy.
                        General appearance darker and less clean

                        1. c
                          cgarner Nov 19, 2010 09:08 AM

                          I have a confession... I actually LIKE the cheesesteaks at Pats and Geno's almost equally... WITH CHEEZE WHIZ AND FRIED ONIONS< JUST LIKE A TOURIST!

                          I like Frank Oliveri at Pat's better than Joey whatshisname at the other place, so I'd tell someone to go to Pat's over Genos...

                          It's a fun experience that I grew up with, going to dance clubs, then having a Cheesesteak at Pat's in the wee hours of the morning.

                          I have a cousin who lives in the DC area, that came up this summer for a visit... of course he wanted to have a "real" cheesesteak at Pat's... so of course I accomodated him.
                          it's a greasy, delicious, guilty pleasure that I indulge in on occasion.

                          (there I said it)

                          I don't care for Jims because when you leave you smell like body odor, they chop the meat to the ponit of it feeling like you're eating boiled ground beef on a roll...
                          I LOVE Tony Luke's but honestly have never had a cheesesteak there, I stick with the chicken cutlets w/ rabe and prov or roast pork w/ same.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: cgarner
                            p
                            Philly Ray Nov 19, 2010 09:34 AM

                            You're just a local who knows what they like. Nothing to be embarrassed about.

                            If you were a tourist, you would have sweet peppers and mushrooms on that too. Then you could be embarrassed.

                            1. re: cgarner
                              gaffk Nov 19, 2010 09:51 AM

                              Confession is good for the soul ;)

                              1. re: gaffk
                                crazyspice Nov 19, 2010 06:19 PM

                                Indeed! Here I sit in sunny Florida this week and this is where I look for a bit of amusement! You guys are always great!

                            2. j
                              Jonny Pops Nov 14, 2010 08:25 AM

                              Neither. They're both tourist traps where you'll wait in a long line for a cheesesteak that's probably much, much worse that what you can get in your hometown. If you're ever going to a ballgame in Philly, do what locals in the know do and head to Tony Luke's down by the stadium.

                              1. b
                                babydoctor Oct 10, 2010 08:18 PM

                                Always, always Genos. The meat isn't as good, but the bread is waaay better. Also, they have a nuclear hot sauce (which I limit to three drops per sandwich, That stuff is lethal!). A cheesesteak (wiz with, obv) is too creamy, fatty and bland without that hot sauce spice.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: babydoctor
                                  p
                                  phillyjazz Oct 11, 2010 09:27 AM

                                  Sorry, but IMO if you need to put hot sauce on a cheesesteak, you got the wrong steak. It's not a taco ! But them I agree, if i HAVE to get a steak from Pat's or Geno's because I'm there with a tourist, I DO appreciate the nuclear sauce and peppers from the condiments selection.

                                  1. re: phillyjazz
                                    b
                                    barryg Oct 11, 2010 09:44 AM

                                    The hot sauce is better at Geno's but Pat's has those awesome crispy hot peppers. I like a little bit of ketchup on my steaks, even from John's and Steve's, so I think hot sauce is ok as are hot peppers.

                                    1. re: barryg
                                      p
                                      phillyjazz Oct 11, 2010 12:26 PM

                                      I'm not so much a purist as to condemn any accouterments. I had a steak at Lee's the other day with Montreal seasoning, cheddar and brown gravy. It was GOOD ! But id a stranger is looking for a QUINTESSENTIAL one-time experience, I would not suggest Geno's or Pat's regardless of what they allow you to slap on the sammy.

                                2. mstinawu Jun 24, 2010 11:16 AM

                                  What's wrong with a "tourist cheesesteak" as long as it's damn good?

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: mstinawu
                                    b
                                    Buckethead Jun 24, 2010 11:35 AM

                                    Nothing... but Pat's and Geno's are damn awful.

                                    1. re: Buckethead
                                      crazyspice Jun 24, 2010 02:46 PM

                                      Agreed!

                                      1. re: crazyspice
                                        t
                                        tbantug Oct 10, 2010 07:57 PM

                                        Went to Geno's on a Saturday night, went to Pat's the following Sunday afternoon. My first time at both, but I've had my share of cheesteaks, just not in Philly. Everybody has their own idea of what the ideal cheesesteak is, and Pat's or Geno's probably isn't that. It really is more about the atmosphere and camaraderie than the cheeseteaks. That said, I thought Pat's kicked Geno's ass. I'd go back to Pat's again and again over Geno's. Pat's steak was thinly sliced and chopped, tender, greasier, and therefore tastier. Geno's was dry and slab-like. Now I know why Geno's has all the neon and photos on their building... they're compensating. GO PATS!

                                  2. b
                                    bluespeed76 May 25, 2010 05:24 PM

                                    neither. Lorenzo's in the italian market, right by john's pork.

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: bluespeed76
                                      b
                                      Bigley9 May 26, 2010 04:44 PM

                                      Lorenzo's in the Italian market is no where near John's Roast Pork

                                      1. re: Bigley9
                                        b
                                        Boognish May 26, 2010 04:54 PM

                                        You're right, but that's not what was posted.

                                        1. re: Boognish
                                          b
                                          Bigley9 May 26, 2010 07:04 PM

                                          huh?

                                          1. re: Bigley9
                                            b
                                            Boognish May 27, 2010 10:20 AM

                                            Sorry, I should have been clearer. The OP meant John's Pork, not John's Roast Pork. I think he's confusing it with George's, which is next to Lorenzo's.

                                            I could be completely mistaken.

                                            Please excuse my brevity in my post up there.

                                            1. re: Boognish
                                              b
                                              Bigley9 May 27, 2010 10:30 AM

                                              no problem. I am assuming s/he meant George's too.

                                              1. re: Boognish
                                                i
                                                irishnyc May 28, 2010 09:45 AM

                                                Actually, I'm the Original OP, and I clearly asked Pat's or Geno's... THREE YEARS ago, and i really, truly meant Pat's or Geno's. Not John's, or George's, or Lorenzo's, or Chinks, or Tony Lukes, or any other.

                                                -----
                                                Tony Luke's
                                                625 Highway 33, Trenton, NJ 08619

                                                1. re: irishnyc
                                                  b
                                                  Bigley9 May 28, 2010 10:45 AM

                                                  I was responding to bluespeed, really had nothing to do with your post - I just didn't want people to be confused if they looked at this post and expected Lorenzo's to be next to John's

                                      2. b
                                        biga290 Nov 3, 2009 02:16 PM

                                        First let me say I am not from PA and don't claim to have any particular special knowledge about cheesesteaks. But I was in Phila this weekend for the World Series and decided to take a hike from my center city hotel south for lunch to pat's and geno's. I bought one cheesesteak wit with wiz from each place. my thoughts are that pat's was bigger but geno's was much better. To me pat's sliced the meat too thin and it dries out making for a very dry sandwich with not enough whiz to provide the needed moisture. also the bread to meat to onions to wiz ratio was off balance. too much meat and onions not enough wiz. geno's meat was sliced thicker, had more flavor, and they got the meat, onions and wiz in the right proportions. as for attitude behind the counter i was treated well at both places. i know i did not order my food in the proper way but no one gave me a hard time. I would definitely go back to geno's but would skip pat's.

                                        1. CakeMom Sep 26, 2009 08:55 PM

                                          One time we got a cheesesteak from both and compared...and they were VERY similar but we think Geno's were a little better. I will say most people who have never had a real Philly cheesesteak are often surprised...the "cheesesteaks" in other areas have lots of other peppers and sauce and stuff on them...the real Philly ones are more plain. Good though!

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: CakeMom
                                            b
                                            barryg Sep 27, 2009 09:32 AM

                                            IMO Pat's & Geno's can both be good or pretty bad. They are inconsistent. I recommend going when there is not a long line as you are more likely to get a good steak. If you go when they're crowded, only go to Pat's. Geno's pre-steams the steak when they are crowded and just throws it on the griddle to grease it up. Pat's cooks the steak fresh on the griddle even when crowded.

                                            And although the guys at Pat's are a**holes (it's part of the schtick), I've gone with my dog when they are not crowded and they will regularly throw some meat on paper for the dog. So they can be nice guys!

                                            1. re: barryg
                                              c
                                              cnbcampbell Nov 2, 2009 09:02 PM

                                              Just got a cheesesteak from both a couple of days ago. First, I agree with the previous posts, the guys at Pat's are a**holes, I was the only customer at the window and had to wait while the jerk behind the counter sent a couple of text messages and then of course he acted like I was bothering him. There were 6 workers standing around doing nothing even though the place looked nasty. I got my cheesesteak and then went directly across the street to Geno's where it was the complete opposite. Geno's was clean, the staff was friendly and the bottom line is Geno's cheesesteak was clearly better. Pat's bread was rubbery, Geno's was fresh. Pat's meat was tough and bland, Geno's was tender and seasoned just right. Pat's cheesesteak was so greasy that it soaked through the wrapper paper and started dripping on everything before you could open it, I like grease but I don't want to drink it. I had never been to either place before and in the future I will walk right past Pat's as I am heading to Geno's.

                                          2. p
                                            Phantomgreen Sep 26, 2009 11:23 AM

                                            Pat's and Geno's both have a half decent steak, but in all honesty they are kind of bland compared to others out there. I think they tasted better when I had one for the first time years ago. Also, the people at Pat's are extremely rude and they come across as very arrogant. I always hear them saying things like "hurry the fuck up"...not very conducive for return customers I like Jim's on south st, but it's still not the best steak out there. My only problem with Tony Lukes is that the onions are never done enough, I like them caramelized more. If you're talking the most popular, touristy places, I do like Jim's with american...I really like their cheese...if that sounds weird

                                            1. l
                                              LikeTheWolf Aug 29, 2007 06:37 AM

                                              I tried Pat's and was disappointed. Got the whiz wit and should have gotten witout. The onions made the bread water soggy ruining the sandwich. The bread and cheese was delicious. Steak itself was unremarkable. I still enjoyed the experience and crossed off another on my to eat list.

                                              A couple years ago also visited Philly and had way better cheese steak sandwiches out of a truck across from the liberty bell.

                                              Likethewolf from Toronto

                                              8 Replies
                                              1. re: LikeTheWolf
                                                m
                                                matt29b May 8, 2009 05:32 PM

                                                My wife and i recently checked out Geno's and Pat's. Pat's was garbage. Geno's was better in my opinion. It was close mind you. I still think you can find a way better cheesesteak in Trenton or many other places in the Delaware Valley. I guess this is just a tourist trap.

                                                1. re: matt29b
                                                  p
                                                  phrankguy1 May 12, 2009 11:19 AM

                                                  I have also done the comparison between Pats and Geno's. I liked Geno's much better. I recently tried Jim's while I was in town and was very very unimpressed and wished I had gone to Genos'.

                                                  1. re: phrankguy1
                                                    m
                                                    MiscDebris May 13, 2009 08:56 PM

                                                    I love the origianl post says don't tell us to go elsewhere...but they don't know where to go.....

                                                    I still can't figure out and how a Philadlephian eats Pat's or Geno's!!!
                                                    Imean, it's better than a steak you get at a diner or (well maybe not) or in a high school cafeteria..but

                                                    PAT'S and GENO'S SUCKS!!!!

                                                    worst in the city....

                                                    BIGGEST HYPE in the world.....

                                                    if you have to eat the big boys Tony Lukes is the big name to eat and at that his steaks have gottne that mass produced kinda edge but they are still real steaks...

                                                    the whole WHIZ crap is....crap....you might LIKE it..and that is COOL...but a standarad cheesesteak from one of the 8,00 places you can get one is American!!!!
                                                    bottom line.....
                                                    I SOO want to pull the plug on these dumb ass tv shows and celebrities throwin' P&G and Cheese Whiz up as a Cheesesteak...

                                                    Tony Lukes does the soecial with raab and sharp--good...and the pork sandwich is good...

                                                    HOWEVER -

                                                    HAving been to most neighborhoods and had more than my share of cheesesteaks.....HANDS DOWN...
                                                    CHINKS has the BEST still to this day....Chinks is on Torresdale Ave in the northeast...Wissinoming.....THE BEST...really...no reason to claim this other than the truth....

                                                    I moved away from the area na dfound Pudges in Blue Bell area...they are good...the next best thing..pretty damn good sandwiches....worht driving if your only other choice is crap's or crapo's wit whiz and you GOTTA speak in english (yeah, casue I hear soooo many people coming up and yelling foreign languages at the window trying to order a steak....even though I agree everyone that wants to LIVE here should learn the language) -

                                                    CHINKS
                                                    CHINKS

                                                    Say no to Whiz, Pats' & Geno's....

                                                    1. re: MiscDebris
                                                      h
                                                      hhost.ca Sep 1, 2009 04:26 PM

                                                      What I love is that people don't have the brains to read a simple post.

                                                      The OP clearly stated his objective.

                                                      He clearly wanted an opinion of TWO restaurants. He wasn't asking for a bunch of self appointed experts to pontificate on every cheese steak in the city.

                                                      Typical arrogance of people thinking they know so much more than others.

                                                      Here's the news people, food is objective. What one may consider to be the best on the planet another may consider to be crap.

                                                      When someone asks for a simple comparison between two restaurants either give the reviews if you actually ate there, or shut up and let others do it.

                                                      Real easy.

                                                      1. re: hhost.ca
                                                        RC51Mike Sep 2, 2009 04:51 AM

                                                        Way to contribute to a two year old thread. Wild guess you aren't from around here and clearly don't understand the passion folks have about their cheesesteaks. As often as the subject comes up and as often as someone wants an opinion about a specific place, they will just as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, get everyone's opinions about their favorite places. Every single thread on cheesesteaks and hoagies will produce those responses. Most of us are used to by now.

                                                        1. re: hhost.ca
                                                          g
                                                          gfweb1 Sep 2, 2009 07:56 AM

                                                          Feeling cranky are we?

                                                          Go have some poutine, you'll feel better.

                                                          1. re: hhost.ca
                                                            b
                                                            Buckethead Sep 2, 2009 08:02 AM

                                                            Normally I would kind of agree with you, if you're not going to answer the question that was asked, you usually just shouldn't post. But in the case of cheesesteaks in Philly, asking "Pat's or Geno's" is a little like going to a city that's famous for burgers and asking "Wendy's or Burger King"? People who want to eat something that isn't repulsive shouldn't go to either place.

                                                            "food is objective"

                                                            I think you mean subjective.

                                                            1. re: Buckethead
                                                              t
                                                              TwoBellies Sep 2, 2009 09:13 AM

                                                              I wouldn't classify either as repulsive, they both do a decent sandwich, it may not be the best, but in a pinch, they work for me.

                                                  2. p
                                                    peachacid Jul 4, 2007 09:26 AM

                                                    I like Geno's with American cheese and no onions, and I also like Pat's the same way...Geno's beef is sliced more thickly, making the sandwich a little less juicy and runny. HOWEVER, I like my cheesesteak with ketchup, and Geno's uses Heinz while Pat's has Huntz. Clearly, there is only one option: Heinz.

                                                    1. b
                                                      burghgirl Jul 4, 2007 08:55 AM

                                                      If you want a good old fashioned, traditional Philly cheesesteak, Jim's is the best IMO...cheapest too as I recall.

                                                      Can't recall if it was Geno's or Pat's that we used to call the "cheesesteak nazi"...there's a sign stating you must order by number, you're not allowed to order by ingredients. When a friend missed the sign and started ordering wrong, she was greeted by a loud "Can't you READ??" from the cook.

                                                      1. b
                                                        Boognish Jul 4, 2007 08:30 AM

                                                        I'd say that your most important consideration is time of day: you need to go when it's crowded so the meat doesn't sit on the grill and get all hard and dried out. I've brought friends from out of town to Geno's for a steak around 10 am, and it was TERRIBLE. And yet, I've been there at peak hours and had a nice moist delicious steak.

                                                        I think you asked a simple question, so I can't understand why these people have a problem giving you a simple answer. While I don't go to either, it's kinda fun to do a slightly touristy thing sometimes. Good ambience there, and it's close to the Italian Market. But ar you trying to tell me that all those folks lined up around the block at 2am on a Saturday are tourists? Neither Pat's nor Geno's could survive on tourists alone.

                                                        7 Replies
                                                        1. re: Boognish
                                                          i
                                                          irishnyc Jul 4, 2007 09:19 AM

                                                          Boy was I surprised to see this at the top of the posts today!

                                                          Boognish, I couldn't agree more about getting a simple answer. If anyone was coming to NYC and asked such a simple question, I wouldn't steer them in a completely different direction!

                                                          Anyway... we ended up going to Pat's after a great cabbie said that was his favorite, and that people tend to choose Geno's because of all the neon. I got Cheeze Whiz Wit, and the boy got provolone wit out. My steak was delicious, his, not so much -- he said is wasn't cheesey enough. We got them to go and cabbed about 10 minutes back to our hotel with them, and we were really happy to see that the bread hadn't gotten soggy, the meat was still warm, the cheese whiz on my steak sufficiently mixed with the meat. (The fries were fantastic, and I don't really like fries.) The onions could have been a little more done for my taste, but it was really busy when we went -- 9pm on a Saturday night, 10 by the time we ordered. Worth an hour wait? Probably not, but I'd also say that an hour wait for pizza at Grimaldi's, DiFara's, or any of the other places often asked about on the NY boards isn't worth an hour+ wait either, but I'd never steer someone looking for the experience away from it.

                                                          1. re: irishnyc
                                                            b
                                                            burghgirl Jul 4, 2007 09:37 AM

                                                            "Boognish, I couldn't agree more about getting a simple answer. If anyone was coming to NYC and asked such a simple question, I wouldn't steer them in a completely different direction!"

                                                            Oops, sorry, I didn't read your question all the way through. Glad you enjoyed the experience.

                                                            1. re: irishnyc
                                                              Pool Boy Jul 4, 2007 01:41 PM

                                                              Um, Grimaldi's *is* worth the wait. So is DiFara's if it ever reopens.

                                                              If you ever find yourself in Philadelphia again with a car, head to Steve's Prince of Steaks. My personal favorite.

                                                              www.roguefood.com

                                                              1. re: irishnyc
                                                                m
                                                                MiscDebris May 13, 2009 09:14 PM

                                                                What you were not GETTING was noone was steering you away from something...you had already made up your mind anyway.
                                                                The EXPERIENCE is not a GOOD...AUTHENTIC cheesesteak..it was the physicla attraction and visitation of going to pats and genos specifically like you saw on tv or read about....not the less descript locations that have AWESOME cheesesteaks that might have made you TEAR inot them in the cab or before....
                                                                WHICH I might add was a major mistake at least for the provolone...by the time you got back to the room the conjealed prov was NOT as good as it was 15 minutes at least earlier...P & G DEF. meant to eaten right there best.....NO steak is as good taken away...bend bite nad drip...no matter where you are...or sit and drip....

                                                                If I come to NY I don't want you to send me to Taco Bell...hook me up with a REAL mexican/Latin joint....no glitz...No neon...no board walk if needed jsut the best slice of pizza...

                                                                I don't care..I know what to eat...

                                                                1. re: MiscDebris
                                                                  i
                                                                  irishnyc May 16, 2009 07:35 PM

                                                                  Rather silly of you to rant about this two years later, hmmm?

                                                                  If you were coming to NYC and asked "Which should I go to, A or B?" I wouldn't send you to C, D, or E. I'd answer the question you asked.. just as I stated TWO years ago. End of story.

                                                                2. re: irishnyc
                                                                  Mawrter May 16, 2009 06:30 PM

                                                                  That's how I feel about onions, too. I try to remember to order them *well* cooked. I made cheesesteaks at home this evening and ran out of onions (!) so instead cooked my shallots until well done. Our whole sandwich was an exercise in (delicious) deviance: sesame semolina bread, lettuce from the garden, shaved Locatelli... nothing like either P or G.

                                                                  When my high school friends got their first apartment, it was in South Philly & we did the obligatory P & G order, and inhaled them for comparison back at their new place. Of course you have to!

                                                                  1. re: Mawrter
                                                                    b
                                                                    brightman Sep 28, 2009 07:51 PM

                                                                    I always say, "burn the onions, I don't mind waiting". I hate hot raw onions.

                                                              2. Pool Boy Jul 4, 2007 06:08 AM

                                                                I don't really like either place, but I guess I'd say Pat's, but it's really a toss up. I'd likely suggest a pizza steak instead of a pure steak as I think they both do those a tad better than a plain cheesesteak. What was interesting was that when I have done comparison tours that included both of these places plus some other much better off the beaten path places, one thing that I noticed about both Pat's & Geno's -- they are very light on the meat. Yes, we brought a scale and weighed the cheesesteaks from each place to see what we got. Both Pat's and Geno's weighed in from 7 to 8 ounces while other places weighed in from usually over 10 ounces (one place was over 14!).

                                                                www.roguefood.com

                                                                1. clim212 Jun 19, 2007 07:23 AM

                                                                  Pat's all the way with the fake cheese whiz.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: clim212
                                                                    c
                                                                    ched Jun 19, 2007 10:29 AM

                                                                    clim, I think you mean GENUINE Cheese Whiz brand cheese flavored product

                                                                  2. l
                                                                    lowrydr310 Jun 19, 2007 07:11 AM

                                                                    The guy who runs that site highly recommends Campo's and gave it one of his highest ratings. On my quest for great cheesesteaks I decided to try it and I was disappointed. Geno's was actually better - Campo's used too much cheese that had a sour flavor and dominated the sandwich. I couldn't taste the beef! Geno's isn't bad at all, especially for someone who is visiting Philly. I prefer them over Pat's.

                                                                    The best cheesesteaks I've ever had are from a little market near West Chester where they slice the beef fresh for each order, but that's not going to help someone visiting Philadelphia.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: lowrydr310
                                                                      m
                                                                      mitchh Jun 19, 2007 07:20 AM

                                                                      Campo's was just featured on Road Tasted. I'd had not heard of it, but after seeing it, I was honestly not very impressed with what I saw and don't think that I will go out of my way to go there.

                                                                      I'm in the minority in that I don't like Tony Luke's one bit. I think it's the roll that kills it for me. IMO their rolls overpower the sandwich.

                                                                      1. re: lowrydr310
                                                                        s
                                                                        Steve Jun 19, 2007 07:28 PM

                                                                        So please tell me about this market....

                                                                      2. t
                                                                        travlnmike Jun 19, 2007 05:03 AM

                                                                        tony lukes is closer to the ballpark.Far superior to pats or genos(but i would take genos over pats if those are your only choices).Order the old italian with sharp provolone and broccoli rabe "wit".Only place that comes close is johns roast pork whose cheesteak is good as well(but whose roast pork and sharp provolone and greens is superior).We ate at tony lukes before the baseball game(unfortunately the phils lost to arizona ).There is even a tony lukes at the ballpark,.but i dont know if the quality is the same as the original location.

                                                                        1. t
                                                                          travlnmike Jun 19, 2007 04:53 AM

                                                                          if forced to choose between pats or genos i would eat at genos,but i second the suggestion earlier to have a cheesteak at john's roast pork or tony lukes.I was back up in philly recently and had the cheesteak "wit"also with greens and sharp provolone that was far superior to either pats or geno's at tony lukes.Get off the beaten path and be rewarded with superior product.(although at john's i liked the roast pork with greens and sharp provolone even better than his cheesteak.I had one of each just to make sure!)

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: travlnmike
                                                                            Delucacheesemonger Sep 23, 2007 01:57 PM

                                                                            To make your life more difficult, next time get that combo with the beef, and drown it
                                                                            you may never go back

                                                                          2. s
                                                                            SarahEats Jun 18, 2007 01:41 PM

                                                                            Friends of ours from GA were visiting a few weeks ago and wanted to visit Pat's and Geno's just to take photos. Once they got there they realized they were kinda hungry so they got a cheesesteak at each place and split it so they each only had one full steak. For comparison purposes they agreed they liked Geno's better.

                                                                            1. k
                                                                              KOK Jun 18, 2007 10:58 AM

                                                                              Hi Irish,

                                                                              I will agree with the poster who said go to both. They are indeed right across the street from each other. Split one or two at Pat's and one or two at Geno's. I prefer Pat's over Geno's, "wiz with" (cheese wiz with onions) at both.

                                                                              I've had cheesesteaks I like better in Philly but I've had many worse down here in Marylannd. I've never been sorry I went to Pat's/Geno's on any Philly trip and those who don't like them should simply not go.

                                                                              Thanks,

                                                                              Kevin

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: KOK
                                                                                m
                                                                                mitchh Jun 18, 2007 12:01 PM

                                                                                I agree with you completely about those that say don't go to either Pat's or Geno's. I have had considerably worse cheesesteaks in places in the Philadelphia area and none of those places have the "ambiance" (if you can use that word when describing Pat's or Geno's) that Pat's and Geno's have.

                                                                                Janeer, I can understand your point about portion size. I can honestly say that when I go to Jim's I dp get extra meat and extra cheese. But I definitely preferred the chopped version of a cheesesteak rather than Pat's/Geno's sliced.

                                                                                I too must confess about having one at each place (but since I like Pat's better, I just get two there).

                                                                              2. OlderPhiladelphian Jun 18, 2007 09:54 AM

                                                                                Asking about Pats or Genos is not like asking about which Applebees. It is asking Applebees or Ruby Tuesday. Both are awful. I wonder why tourists insist on asking this question?

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: OlderPhiladelphian
                                                                                  m
                                                                                  mazza3 May 11, 2009 12:11 PM

                                                                                  because they don't have our advantage of being in the know. the curse of knowledge if you will. but hey, at least they are starting somewhere!

                                                                                  there are many better spots in philly, but if i were you i would try one from each. geno has better cheesefries IMO though (bith are covered in wiz)...i used to prefer geno's when i was younger, now i prefer pat's, but i still like both of them.

                                                                                2. j
                                                                                  jzerocsk Jun 18, 2007 09:10 AM

                                                                                  Why choose? They are right across the street from each other - sample both!

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: jzerocsk
                                                                                    d
                                                                                    dream_of_giusti Jun 18, 2007 09:19 AM

                                                                                    I agree, choose both. Why choose one based on others' opinions? As a kid, whenever my great-aunt came to Philly she had to have Pat's. It was the highlight of the summer, half the family went to Geno's and half went to Pat's. I loved being able to get both cheesesteaks (I've always eaten two). I will say Pat's fries are great. I hope you enjoy your tourist adventure.

                                                                                    1. re: jzerocsk
                                                                                      QueenB Jun 19, 2007 07:59 AM

                                                                                      I second (or third) this.
                                                                                      One of you get in line at Geno's, the other at Pat's. Order your cheesesteaks, then sample both. Since they're in such close proximity, this is easy to do.
                                                                                      Then you can make your own decisions on which is better!
                                                                                      Hey, if you want to come to Philly and have Geno's and/or Pat's, I say go for it. It's your trip, not anyone else's.

                                                                                    2. j
                                                                                      janeer Jun 17, 2007 07:05 PM

                                                                                      Both are good. I like Pat's. They are NOT tourist traps. John's roast pork is great, Tony Luke's ok. Jim's not as good as Pat's or Geno's, in my opinion.
                                                                                      www.littlecomptonmornings.blogspot.com

                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: janeer
                                                                                        m
                                                                                        mitchh Jun 18, 2007 08:35 AM

                                                                                        I would definitely choose Pat's over Geno's. However, if you are looking for the "tourist" cheesteak I would go to Jim's.

                                                                                        The difference between Jim's and the other two is that Jim's chops up their meat while the other two do not (not to mention that you can get a beer at Jim's as well). My personal preference is the chopped meat, while I am guessing that Janeer prefers the other.

                                                                                        1. re: mitchh
                                                                                          j
                                                                                          janeer Jun 18, 2007 11:33 AM

                                                                                          It's the roll/meat proportion I like at Pat's--and their roll itself. I do see your point about the beer--and agree that Jim's is the true tourist place, right on South St, always jumping.
                                                                                          I must confess I have been known to eat at Geno's and then cross for another at Pat's...Those recommending both are right.
                                                                                          www.littlecomptonmornings.blogspot.com

                                                                                          1. re: janeer
                                                                                            s
                                                                                            strutter billy Aug 29, 2007 09:34 AM

                                                                                            I say Geno's and get a beer at Ray's.

                                                                                      2. p
                                                                                        productionjon Jun 17, 2007 06:22 PM

                                                                                        Personally prefer Geno's. You might also try Jim's Steaks 4th and South. It's another traditional cheesesteak spot

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: productionjon
                                                                                          j
                                                                                          jodik Jun 17, 2007 07:05 PM

                                                                                          I love Jim's! That's my favorite. Whiz wit, a bag of wise chips and soda.

                                                                                        2. v
                                                                                          Vladimir Estragon Jun 17, 2007 03:19 PM

                                                                                          Of the 9,846 places in Philadelphia that you can get a cheesesteak, Pat's and Geno's may not be at the top of the list, but they sure as heck are not at the bottom. I don't know why people on this board love to dump on them, when they are way better than at least 98% of the competition. Because they're popular, I guess. As to which of the two is better, they're very close. I prefer Geno's, but only because it's cleaner.

                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Vladimir Estragon
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                                                                                            irishnyc Jun 17, 2007 04:19 PM

                                                                                            Thanks, Vladimir. Yes, we're tourists, and hey! we want to do the tourist thing. We've only got one night free, and if tourist cheesesteak is what we want, then dammit that's what we're going to get. It's not as if I asked which Applebee's we should choose.

                                                                                            1. re: irishnyc
                                                                                              h
                                                                                              Hardart Jun 18, 2007 08:50 AM

                                                                                              I appreciate that, but it would not take long to drive past the neon empire of those two and park instead at Tony Luke's or Jim's Steaks, equal in ambience but superior in cheesesteakery.

                                                                                              If you must choose between those two, I prefer Geno's foodwise b/c they don't chop the meat as much, but despise their anti-immigrant politics -- so I vote Pat's.

                                                                                              1. re: Hardart
                                                                                                s
                                                                                                Steve Jun 18, 2007 01:49 PM

                                                                                                What makes Tony Luke's superior to Pat's? I ask only because I am an infrequest visitor to Philly and I don't know if I'll ever get past ordering the roast pork at Tony Luke's.

                                                                                                1. re: Steve
                                                                                                  h
                                                                                                  Hardart Jun 19, 2007 06:59 AM

                                                                                                  It's just generally superior, food-wise. More of a cooked-to-order, less assembly line, higher quality.

                                                                                                  I agree on menus -- when I go to TL's, I get a chicken or veal cutlet instead of the cheese steak, but the steaks are still darn good.

                                                                                          2. w
                                                                                            waynefoodie Jun 17, 2007 03:07 PM

                                                                                            Both are tourist traps. John's roast pork or Tony Luke's.

                                                                                            If you must, Pat's has more fans, but you may be disappointed.

                                                                                            1. Quine Jun 17, 2007 12:59 PM

                                                                                              I'd say go elsewhere unless you want tourist stuff,

                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Quine
                                                                                                melpy Apr 1, 2013 11:11 AM

                                                                                                Seriously! Jim's is way better for cheesesteak. At Tony Luke's I liked the chicken cutlet with greens and cheese and Dinic's does a good roast pork with greens and cheese.

                                                                                                1. re: melpy
                                                                                                  c
                                                                                                  cgarner Apr 2, 2013 06:49 AM

                                                                                                  Jim’s doesn’t use ribeye and the chop the steak to oblivion, I’m not a fan of meat that’s that finely chopped and whatever cut it is, to me isn’t as good as rib-eye, I actually like to be able to bite INTO the meat and have that little bit of chew, as opposed to everything being minced finely and falling out all over the place when you bite into the roll (though Jim’s does have a nice roll, it’s no better or worse than the rolls at Pat’s or Genos)
                                                                                                  (Oh, and you smell like b.o. when you leave Jim’s even if you’re taking out)

                                                                                                  1. re: cgarner
                                                                                                    RC51Mike Apr 2, 2013 07:41 AM

                                                                                                    Agree with this. Never understood the attraction to Jim's other than the storefront. I really hate when a steak is chopped into individual meat atoms. Yuk. I think those cooks must think they are putting on a show with the spatulas like they were working at Benihana.

                                                                                                    1. re: cgarner
                                                                                                      b
                                                                                                      barryg Apr 2, 2013 08:26 AM

                                                                                                      The steak is also really bland and watery from all the water they pour on it to steam the meat. And the rolls are too soft.

                                                                                                      1. re: barryg
                                                                                                        RC51Mike Apr 2, 2013 08:53 AM

                                                                                                        Glad you mentioned that. My recollection (from many years ago) was a pile of cooked meat on the grill. When that happens, it turns into steamed meat atoms. I've seen that in several places and not a good sign IMO.

                                                                                                        1. re: RC51Mike
                                                                                                          b
                                                                                                          barryg Apr 2, 2013 08:57 AM

                                                                                                          Nope. Pat's is the same way -- though they don't aggressively douse the steak in water. During busy times, Geno's actually steams the meat in little metal boxes in the back, then they just throw it on the grill for show and a little grease when serving. Both places will grill meat to order during off hours--and the sandwiches actually taste pretty good then.

                                                                                                      2. re: cgarner
                                                                                                        melpy Apr 2, 2013 09:05 AM

                                                                                                        I prefer some sort of chopping. Doesn't need to be fine but the whole hunks are not my cup of tea. Dickinson College used to have a good texture of meat with little crispy edges. Haven't had a cheesesteak there in years but I would be curious if they still sell them.

                                                                                                  2. p
                                                                                                    phantomdoc Jun 17, 2007 12:44 PM

                                                                                                    I went 2 years ago. Got 4 sandwiches. 2 from Pats, 2 form Ginos. Tried all with everything One each provolone and one each with Whiz. I liked Gino with whiz.

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