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what the #*#@**@@!$$? Has happened to D'Allesandro's Cheesesteaks?

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  • jado Dec 14, 2007 04:32 PM
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Are there new owners? Is it just me, But it just ain't the same? Really bad!

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  1. hmmm. I haven't had one in about 6 or 7 years, but I didn't think they were *all that* back then... my favorite Cheesesteak is from Gaetano's in NJ!

    1 Reply
    1. re: mamakto3

      Gaetano's brings back some great memories, but my favorites of all time are from Yellow Submarine in Maple Shade.

    2. We picked up 6 of them at Thanksgiving and we all thought they were great as usual. Maybe you hit a bad time.

      1. I haven't had a "real" Dello's (as we called them) cheesesteak since we used to cut out of school to lunch there in 1969. I think they sold to another family in the 80's and sold the name along with the business. The same thing happened to Rizzo's in Glenside. The Rizzo's of today is nothing like it was when I was a kid.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Chefpaulo

          "The Rizzo's of today is nothing like it was when I was a kid."

          We travel from Mt. Airy for Rizzo's and really enjoy it. How much better could it have tasted? Is it THAT dramatic of a difference today? What, did it fall from heaven back then?

          1. re: Chefpaulo

            I just went to Dalessandro's with the mom, who's been going there since her days at Textile also the year they opened, and we loved them. She didn't say anything about them being better back in the day. And I have been going there since the 1970's and my love for their cheesesteak sauce and fried onions has not died either. When in the 80's did they switch hands? I don't recall and major changes either.

          2. Were their cheesesteaks ever good? I went years ago for the first time based upon raves.......not good then. Been three times since. Three more bad cheesesteaks. I never understood why their steaks are lauded.

            4 Replies
            1. re: G Goo

              I feel like I've maybe missed out on something reading some of the posts. I've enjoyed steaks at Dalessandro's. What I'd call a "bad" steak are Pat's or Geno's. I don't recall if it was Pat's or Geno's but the meat wasn't chopped so it stretched when you bit into it (not pleasant eating). For me the chopped meat, fried onions and of course the cheese should become one (as Dalessandro's was when I had one last summer). Is it the best? Probably not, but "bad" steaks abound in and around Philly and I personally wouldn't include Dalessandro's in that number.

              1. re: Chinon00

                Steve's Prince of Steaks does not chop up the steak either and their steaks are among the best in Philly. IMO, whether the steak is chopped up on the grill or not is not the measure of what makes a good cheesesteak. It's the quality of the meat and temperature it's cooked at.

                1. re: Chinon00

                  I disagree wholeheartedly.....I've had bad steaks.....I mean worse than most corner pizza joints...... at dallesandro's. The steak is cooked in steaming gray piles on a corner of the griddle, limp, undercooked onions are piled on top of the steak, all on an uninspiring roll. Not a good steak. I've had dozens of better steaks. Am I crazy?? Please someone explain the hype??

                  Great steaks:

                  Chinks (The best IMO...subtle, simple, excellent)
                  Steve's Prince of Steaks
                  John's Roast Pork

                  1. re: Chinon00

                    Pat's is the best...I think you are talking about Geno's if you are talking about the 'stretch' quotient. I ate at both places on one memorable day as my own personal 'best of'. Pat's by far beat Geno's and I consider the steak to be most excellent at this venue. I always recommend Pat's King of Steaks to anyone visiting Philly. I will now be forced to include Dalessandro's in my quest for the best of the best :)

                2. Please let me explain my original post. I have been going to d'allesandro's for most of my life. My older brothers took me there for the first time in the mid 60's. Lets say about forty years of history. I personally Have have at least Five hundred " Cheese Steaks With sauce And Onions" , from them, since then! Please everyone go back and prove me wrong. I hope I am wrong, but what I got last night was not even close to what I have ever had as even close to bad. Plus ,please tell the women taking the orders that she needs to have an an enema before coming to work! What a sour puss! Sorry to be so blunt, but I am really dissapointed!

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: jado

                    What is your baseline, point of reference, great steak in 2007?

                    Thanks!

                    1. re: Chinon00

                      There is only one baseline or point of reference and that is John's Roast Pork. Everything else falls below, but Steve's and Chinks are close although I do agree that it does matter that the steak must be chopped up.

                      1. re: OlderPhiladelphian

                        Hmm. I have to try John's steak. BUT - OlderPhil have you had a steak from George's at the top of the Italian Market (not to be confused with George's across from Fante's in the Market, which stinks)? Every steak made to order, fabulous long hots. Can't really imagine a better one (though I will try John's asap).

                        1. re: GDSwamp

                          Be quiet about George's before too many people swamp the place. Of course George's and John's are great. The biggest difference is John's steaks are bigger and they use a roll with sesame seeds from Carangi's bakery.

                          1. re: Den

                            Good point.

                  2. Ok, it has been established that Chicks and Steve's are the standard right now in Philly for steaks. I will visit and report back and compare to Dallensandro's which is I gather far below these two establishments.

                    Thanks!

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: Chinon00

                      Chinon, who exactly has established that Chinks and Steve's are the standard? Are we strictly talking about places in Philadelphia or are places in the burbs included too?

                      1. re: mitchh

                        I asked for suggestions for who is the standard for making cheesesteaks because Dallesandro's was described as "bad" by at least one post. I was looking for what the poster considered his/her point of reference.

                        1. re: Chinon00

                          Chinon,

                          Sorry, I was just asking based on your post that said "Ok, it has been established that Chicks and Steve's are the standard right now in Philly for steaks". That said I was just curious as to who did this establishing.

                          As far as I'm concerned, places like Pudge's in Blue Bell/Norristown, Phils Tavern (Ambler), Yellow Submarine in Maple Shade and Gaetano's in Willingboro blow away anything that the city of Philadelphia has to offer.

                          1. re: mitchh

                            Been to Pudge's in Blue Bell and personally I don't know what all the hubbub is about, I found them to be average. In my neck of the woods I get my cheesesteaks at Ray's Pizza in Lansdale and my hoagies at Primo's in Doylestown.

                            1. re: Schpsychman

                              While I would say that of those I listed Pudge's Blue Bell is at the bottom of that list (the one in Jeffersonville is much better), I would still say that it blows away anything downtown.

                              1. re: mitchh

                                When you say "downtown" are you speaking of center city, the entire city of Philadelphia or somewhere else?

                            2. re: mitchh

                              Speaking as an old cheesesteak hound, Pudge's hasn't been the same since they moved from Germantown Pike in Plymouth Valley...and that goes back away.

                              The cheesesteak debate can join those of politics and religion...impossible to agree on good, bad, right and wrong.

                              1. re: Den

                                Agreed, but I just don't care for overstatement. For me places like Wawa make a "bad" hoagie, for example (i.e. nerf ball roll, tasteless meat, etc). Places like Dallesandro's can surely disappoint but I wouldn't consider what they offer as a "bad" product.

                      2. I never liked D'alessandro's steaks. I prefer Steve's and other "flipped not chopped" steaks over the steaming pile of chopped steak-style.

                        While taste is subjective, and I didn't find them to be anywhere near "great", I can't imagine what could have caused such a drop in their quality, though.

                        1. I think the personal idea of what makes a good or bad cheesesteak is probably something you grow up with. Depending on what you ate when you were growing up, that's your idea of a good cheesesteak. I've never been a fan of D'Alessandro's either but know a lot of people who think they're the best ever and I can respect that. That being said as well, I don't think I'm qualified to offer a current opinion on D's because I haven't been there in a long time. From all the folks that have strong opinions about these different places, I'd like to hear when the last time was that you visited each of the places. For me it's...

                          D'Alesandro's - haven't been in 10 years
                          Pudge's - went 2 years ago
                          Steve's Prince of Steaks - went 2 weeks ago
                          Tony Luke's - within the last year
                          John's Roast Pork - went about 2 months ago
                          George's - went a month ago
                          Jim's - within the last year
                          White House - within the last year

                          42 Replies
                          1. re: Den

                            D'Alesandro's - 4 months ago
                            Pudge's - never
                            Steve's Prince of Steaks - never
                            Tony Luke's - never
                            John's Roast Pork - 15 years ago
                            George's - never
                            Jim's - 15 years ago
                            White House - never

                            1. re: Den

                              D'Alesandro's - within the last 2 years
                              Pudge's - never
                              Steve's Prince of Steaks - went 3 months ago
                              Tony Luke's - within the last 6 months
                              John's Roast Pork - went about 12 months ago
                              George's - never
                              Jim's - it's been years
                              White House - within the last 6 months

                              I feel "qualified", but it's amazing i'm still alive!

                              1. re: phungi

                                Being English I feel I have none of the regional emotional baggage when it comes to evaluating the best cheese steak, which seems to bog down much of the debate. Maybe a new form of mad cows?
                                Having eaten at the majority of the places listed above, in my not so humble opinion Chinks and John's Roast Pork are head and shoulders above the rest.
                                I would also put in an honourable mention for Cisco's in Flourtown on Bethlehem Pike.
                                Not a big fan of the chopped meat - particularly when you get sauce as well - tends to end up like a sloppy joe...

                                1. re: FriskLamb

                                  I'm a stones throw from Flourtown. Hmm.

                                  1. re: Chinon00

                                    Try their cheese steak hoagie... Full italian hoagie, with a cheese steak inside. Truly a thing of beauty. If you are coming from Cestnut Hill on Bethlehem Pike, it is just after the fire station on the RHS. Prices are great as well.

                                    1. re: FriskLamb

                                      One of the all time great local dive bars. The interior hasn't changed in 50 years and the place may actually fall down if they cleaned it.

                                      1. re: FriskLamb

                                        I'm goin' too...thanks for the recommendation!

                                        1. re: G Goo

                                          Popped into Cisco's for a cheesesteak today for lunch. Very servicable cheesesteak. Not George's, Steve's or John's but given the short ride for me, a great little spot.

                                        2. re: FriskLamb

                                          Picked up a Cisco's cheesesteak to-go last night. I really enjoyed it! Eating it gave me a sense-memory back to Morriani's in Chester, Delaware County which was near the shipyard. We'd travel there from across town back in the 70s for their steaks. They had a picture of Frank Sinatra on the wall (the right side I think) next to a clock.

                                          Thanks

                                          1. re: Chinon00

                                            Cisco's? Where is it?

                                            1. re: mitchh

                                              Flourtown--Read FriskLamb's post above, 12/18 11:04AM, for directions.

                                          2. re: FriskLamb

                                            I tried the cheese steak hoagie and was pleased but not blown away. I'd only order it again if I ate it at Cisco's rather than taking it home. It was kind of warm when I got it home and was cold by the time I took the last bite. I'm like a seven minute drive from Cisco's.

                                            1. re: Chinon00

                                              Funny - have never had a good Cheese Steak to go...I think once they are wrapped it keeps the heat and moisture in, which results in mushy bread, and often luke warm. Given the price of drinks at Cisco (extremely cheap) makes no sense to run home with a to go order!!!

                                    2. re: Den

                                      Cheesesteaks are my thing. I write about them on other food sites and conduct tours with multiple groups from those other sites many times a year.
                                      I have been to 112 different steak shops over the past 6 years. These include some out of town (NYC, North Jersey, MD, VA, DE, AZ).
                                      I have two favorites that have only been mentioned on this site by me. They are Thunderbird in Broomall and La Forno in Media. From my experience, they rank very near the top of cheesesteaks.
                                      As far as your list goes:
                                      Was at D'allesandro's last month
                                      Pudge's- within the last 2 months
                                      Steve's - two weeks ago
                                      Tony Luke's - within the last month
                                      John's Roast Pork - was there 3 months ago
                                      George's - within the last 6 months
                                      Jim's - within the last month
                                      White House - within the last 6 months.
                                      Chink's - within the last 3 months
                                      Johnny's Hots - within the last 2 months
                                      Gaetano's - within the last month
                                      Ray's (Lansdale) - within the last 4 months
                                      Chubby's - within the last 2 months
                                      Ace's - within the last month

                                      1. re: cheesewit

                                        As a cheesesteak authority would you mind arranging the list from best to worst (IYO)? And what makes a great steak again in your opinion.

                                        Thanks

                                        1. re: Chinon00

                                          And have you been to Chick's in Cherry Hill, N.J.? It's won a Best of Philly award and a few people I've spoken to said it's hands down the best cheesesteak anywhere.

                                          1. re: hotdoglover

                                            Ahhh...Chick's Deli in Cherry Hill. Very, very good. One of the area's best. I have not been there in '07 but, was there a few times in '06 and '05.

                                          2. re: Chinon00

                                            This is only my opinion - It's the quality of the steak and the roll. I'll have provolone cheese sometimes, American other times, and cheez whiz when that's the best choice. I like both styles of cooking: chopped and not chopped. I like Sarcone's rolls as well as Liscio's as well as Amoroso's. I like the rolls from Formica Bakery that are used at The White House in A.C. It's the perfect melding of the cheese and onions and steak that I look for in a cheesesteak. The meat can't be dried out. The onions can't be too oily. The cheese shouldn't overwhelm the sandwich. As someone else said earlier, favorite cheesesteaks and "the best" cheesesteaks can be debated over and over.

                                            From the list I'd put Steve's, Chink's, The Thunderbird at the top. Followed by Johnny's Hots, La Forno, Tony Luke's, John's Roast Pork, George's, Gaetano's, Chubby's. I'm sorry to those who love these but, Ray's and Ace's are on the bottom. The others are just after Chubby's.
                                            Others that I didn't list include Leo's, Mama's, Phil's Tavern, Joe's in Broomall, Pat's, Geno's...don't get me started, I have a list as long as my arm.

                                          3. re: cheesewit

                                            Cheesewit,

                                            Have you been to Yellow Submarine in Maple Shade. If not, give it a shot.

                                            I'm assuming you are referring to Ace's in Trappe? If so, I was very disappointed with them. Definitely owned by the Blue Bell Pudge's and not Jeffersonville.

                                            You should also try Classic in Limerick if you are in the area.

                                            1. re: mitchh

                                              I didn't like Ace's in Trappe. I liken it to the bad stepbrother of Pudge's. I've been to Classic in Limerick a few times but, now there's new ownership and a new name which escapes me at the moment.

                                              No, haven't been to Yellow Submarine. Have an address?

                                              1. re: cheesewit

                                                Thanks for the info on Classic. I didn't realize that there is new ownership there.

                                                Do you also see a difference between Pudge's in Blue Bell and Jeffersonville?

                                                Address for Yellow Submarine is

                                                710 N Forklanding Rd
                                                Maple Shade, NJ 08052-1002
                                                Phone: (856) 667-2110

                                                What blows me away by Yellow Sub is that the quality/quantity hasn't changed since going there as a teenager 20 years ago.

                                                What are your thoughts on Steak and Hoagie Factory?

                                                1. re: mitchh

                                                  Thanks for the address, mitchh!
                                                  I prefer the Pudge's in Jeffersonville and it's not just because it's closer to my house (I'm in Worcester). I find Blue Bell to be hit or miss whereas Jeffersonville is pretty consistent.

                                                  Are you talking about the Steak and Hoagie Factory on 611 near Willow Grove NAS? If so, I think it's about average. It's been in business so long because of consistency and a decent sandwich and a good location.

                                                  1. re: cheesewit

                                                    There are a few Steak and Hoagie Factories in the area and that is one of them. There's one in Abington as well as Warminster.

                                                    The one thing I really like about the sandwiches there is the freshly baked rolls. Personally I like their chicken cheesesteaks more than their regular cheesesteaks.

                                                    Definitely take the drive across the bridge to Yellow Sub, you won't be disappointed. Depending on your appetite you can then stop at the Jug Handle for great wings. Talk about a cholesterol nightmare! :)

                                                    1. re: mitchh

                                                      Right...Abington too. Was there a few year ago.

                                                      It's funny, I'll have a chicken cheesesteak only now and then. I like P.J. Whelihan's (all locations) chicken cheesesteak.

                                                      I'll check out Yellow Submarine one of these days soon. I have been to The Jug Handle and I agree, their wings are pretty darn good!

                                                      1. re: cheesewit

                                                        I look forward to your review of Yellow Sub.

                                                        I may venture over there sometime next week.

                                                2. re: cheesewit

                                                  Went to Franklin's Classic in Limerick. That's the new name. My take: Don't bother. It went from waitress service under the old management to self-ordering and pickup. The cheesesteaks are available with whiz, American, and provolone. The sandwiches need more meat. I won't be back unless someone tells me they've increased the amount of meat - then I'll consider another try.

                                                  1. re: cheesewit

                                                    That's really disappointing as Classic was really good.

                                                    I guess I'm stuck driving down to Jeffersonville to Pudge's if I want a really good cheesesteak.

                                              2. re: cheesewit

                                                Would be interested in reading some of your other posts on other web sites - can you point us in the right direction?

                                                1. re: FriskLamb

                                                  Cheesewit has posted many times on roadfood.com Log in go to the 'sandwich' forum and search 'chesesteaks'

                                                  1. re: brookquarry

                                                    brookquarry: Hi! Didn't know you posted here too. brookquarry is correct - I'm on roadfood as well as roguefood.com and hungovergourmet.com and a few others.
                                                    brookquarry has been on one of my tours - through the Italian Market one Saturday.

                                                2. re: cheesewit

                                                  wit, do you have your own cardiologist?

                                                  1. re: Den

                                                    Den: I am careful not to do too many a week. But I have been known to conduct tours to 5 steak shops in one day.
                                                    If I'm not mistaken, didn't you do a film on the iconic cheesesteak shops of Philly? I'd love to see it.

                                                  2. re: cheesewit

                                                    Cheesewit - quick question...I work in Conshy and have not been able to locate a satisfactory cheese steak, the best I have found is the roast beef up on Gtown Pike at the Olde Beef and Ale. I feel that Conshy (and Norristown) are the sorts of places that should have some great establishments - unfortunately I have not been able to locate...welcome any suggestions....Moooo

                                                    1. re: FriskLamb

                                                      If you go about 5 minutes further, you can hit Cisco's

                                                      Go up Joshua Road and make a right at Flourtown Road
                                                      Make a right onto Stenton Avenue
                                                      Left at Mill Road
                                                      Right on Bethlehem Pike
                                                      Cisco's will be on you left about a block up, park in the back.

                                                      1. re: Den

                                                        Den hi - thanks for the info - am a regular at Cisco's (most Thursday's)...was hoping for something just a little closer - and new...

                                                        1. re: FriskLamb

                                                          Have you tried Eve's Lunch in Norristown. Probably not too much farther than the Whitemarsh Beef & Ale, just the other direction. Great cheesesteaks and zeps.

                                                          1. re: Den

                                                            Will give it a go...there was some debate as to whether it had re-opened, as it had relocated....

                                                            1. re: FriskLamb

                                                              It reopened in late December.

                                                      2. re: FriskLamb

                                                        Here are some favorites in Conshohocken:
                                                        Ted's Place: 103 Spring Mill Ave.
                                                        Lenny's: corner of 9th and Fayette
                                                        Casmar Cafe: 101 E. 7th
                                                        Tony & Joe's: 2nd & Fayette

                                                        1. re: FriskLamb

                                                          Try Lou's, 414 E. Main St. Norristown, if you haven't already. Great steaks and zeps.

                                                          1. re: Philly

                                                            I'd much rather drive the extra 10 minutes up Main/Ridge to Pudge's in Jeffersonville over Lou's.

                                                          2. re: FriskLamb

                                                            Maria's in conshy has my all-time favorite chicken cheesesteaks. Love their rolls and use of chunks of chicken as opposed to frozen chip-steak like chicken.

                                                      3. Made it out to Chink's (for the first time) yesterday for lunch. That's a quality place. Great, old-fashioned lunch-counter look, nice people, and a very fresh, tasty steak. It's not going to displace my top favorites, but I'd be pleased to eat there anytime. And - terrific egg cream, which is a true rarity.

                                                        Next stop, Cisco's.

                                                        1. I agree, I wasn't impressed last time I was there either. I prefer Jim's or Lorenzo's in West Chester.

                                                          1. I thought it was really bad when I tried their steak sandwich in 1999 (steaming pile of grey meat, undercooked onions, unremarkable roll)- when was it good?

                                                            1. I heard that the original family that owned D'Alessandro's kept passing it down to the next generation and that it stayed in the family until recently. I heard they just sold the business a short time ago (within the last year) because there weren't any members of the original family who wanted it.

                                                              With that said. . . . . . . I have been there and their steaks are still pretty good, comparatively speaking. My biggest complaint is that they don't cook their onions enough. I like my onions caramelized (yum). But, unfortunately, most places don' t take the necessary time to cook their onions that way.

                                                              If you are in the neighborhood anyway (Roxborough/Manayunk), try Barry's Steaks, which is nearby. Barry was an old time employee of D'Alessandros who worked there for many years back in their heyday. He left and opened up his own place, and his steaks are great. I have actually gotten them with perfectly caramelized onions at times. Not every time, but sometimes. I suppose it depends on who's cooking that day. By the way, their fries are to die for. They are the real thick type that are about an inch thick (steak fries) and really taste like potatos.

                                                              I can't say enough good things about Barry's.

                                                              Here's the info:
                                                              471 Leverington Avenue
                                                              Philadelphia, PA 19128
                                                              (215) 487-3278

                                                              1. D'Allesandro's does have new owners in the last two years. Haven't tried their steak sandwiches since they took over, but I found a better cheesesteak sandwich 3 miles away. Go to Pina's Pizza Restaurant in the Market Square Shopping Center near Andorra Shopping Center. Their sandwiches are better than Pudge's or D'Allesandro's! Other items are excellent, too.

                                                                6 Replies
                                                                1. re: Enjoy Good Food

                                                                  What makes them better in your opinion? Just interested?

                                                                  Thanks

                                                                  1. re: Chinon00

                                                                    What makes Pina's cheesesteaks better? The meat is finely chopped with no visible/chewable evidence of fat, bone or gristle. The rolls are soft and tasty and don't disintegrate under the wetness of the meat and cheese. The cheese and meat are beautifully "married" rather than having globs of cheese here-and-there. And, most importantly to me, there is no layer of grease in their sandwich. Here's the kicker....I never used to like cheesesteaks!

                                                                    1. re: Enjoy Good Food

                                                                      Thanks for the elucidation. Maybe I have a reason to check it out now.

                                                                      1. re: Chinon00

                                                                        Even though I've lived in the area all of my life today was the first time I ever went to D'Allesandro's and I was more than satisfied. It absolutely rivals Pudge's and Phil's, although it comes a bit short of my all time favorite Yellow Submarine.

                                                                        1. re: mitchh

                                                                          thanks, mitchh. Being one of the few I bother to read, I'll go with your suggestion.

                                                                          1. re: mitchh

                                                                            Does YS still exist, where?

                                                                            Went to D'Allesandro's about 5 months ago and it was just ok but of course, things can change.