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Cheez Whiz Cheesesteaks?

I used to go to pennsylvania a couple of times a year and I would always eat at this cheesesteak place that used cheez whiz for the cheese. It might sound strange but it is AMAZING! I seriously dream about them! Does anyone know any places in the bay area or sacramento area that do a cheez whiz cheesesteak?

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  1. Cheese Steak Shop in Berkeley (and elsewhere) has cheez whiz, although as I recall you have to ask about it. I don't think it is on the menu. In Berkeley there are even photos of Gino's and Pat's on the wall.

    2 Replies
    1. re: chocolatetartguy

      It is NOT on the menu at the Berkeley Cheese Steak Shop. (Have no idea if it's available "under the counter.") The Cheese Steak places in the Bay Area are independent franchises and quality (unexpectedly) varies from place to place. But the cheese steaks in the Berkeley shop are excellent. It's hard for me to see why anyone would want to screw them up by squirting cheese whiz on one. That's like putting Velveeta on a hot pastrami and cheese sandwich. I ate a lot of cheese steaks in Philadelphia and King of Prussia back in the '70s and never had one made with cheese whiz. But I do know that several places made them that way. Bad idea.

    2. Try Jersey Joe's on El Camino in San Carlos

      Jersey Joe's Hoagies
      21 El Camino Real, San Carlos, CA 94070

      7 Replies
      1. re: Concetta

        So I finally had my cheez wiz cheesesteak. I went to Jersey Joe's this weekend and it was great! It was almost perfect, I just wished they used different rolls. I'll try the cheese steak shop next, but I was very happy with Jersey Joe's...

        1. re: angie2210

          Hey, if Cheese Steak Shop can't hook you up with wiz, they serve a plain (no cheese) version, which means you can finish the job yourself if you take it home.

          If you're craving the other famous Pennsylvania sandwich, the Pittsburgh-style "all in one", there's a place called Giordano Bros. on Columbus in North Beach (SF), that specializes in 'em - owned by a guy from Pittsburgh. They're good. Really good. If I lived closer to them, it could be a problem.

          1. re: Agent 510

            Is this the kind with fries on the sandwich?

          2. re: angie2210

            I asked for a cheez wiz steak once at the Oakland Cheese Steak Shop and they said that I could get the wiz on the side but not on the sandwich which I thought was a bit odd. The Cheese Steak shop gives you less meat than Jersey Joe's IMO but they also use Amoroso rolls that they apparently get shipped from Philly. I prefer them slightly over the Jersey Joe's rolls which can be sometimes a little too chewy. Jersey Joe's steaks are great too though, especially with cheez wiz (or "cheese sauce" as they call it).

            1. re: angie2210

              I agree with Mr Happy. I was born and raised in Philly and the Cheese Steak shop and Jersey Joe's are the closest that I've come to real Philly cheesesteaks.

              I've actually stopped going to the Cheese Steak shop, though (I went to the one on Divis), because the meat portion was so meager that asking for double meat would still have left me hungry. Even if the rolls are better, a girl needs her meat. Jersey Joe's has a very good meat to roll ratio and they have whiz, even if they call it "cheese sauce."

              A warning on the sweet peppers, though. When I tried to order sweet peppers a few months back, the owner warned me that they're not the same peppers they serve in steak shops in Philly (should have a nice sweet pickled taste) but rather sweet bell peppers. Not to say that sweet bell peppers would taste bad, but it just doesn't bring back memories.

              1. re: mktjlu

                You guys didn't find JJ's cheesesteaks to be underseasoned? I ate there for the first time a couple weeks ago, and was surprised that I actually needed to add salt to my cheesesteak (wit Provolone & sweet peppers). And I'm not the sort that likes to add salt to anything I eat.....

          3. In SF check out Jake's Steaks in the Marina.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mofo313

              jakes is amazing cheesesteaks with cheese wiz...

            2. Just had one the other day at Amato's on Saratoga Ave in San Jose. I liked it, though it was a little bland. But I'm no expert and Philly cheesesteaks.

              1. If I remember right, Cheez Whiz on a cheesesteak isn't considered weird in Philly, it's an old-school local tradition.

                I'm not surprised Cheese Steak Shop has it. I highly recommend that place, they come a lot closer than most other cheesesteak shops to recreating the way they do 'em back east.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Agent 510

                  Fact is you gotta know how to order: cheesesteak or just steak, "with"
                  (this is hilarious)

                  as for cheese?


                  White American cheese, provolone, and Cheez Whiz are the most frequently used cheeses and are available for steaks at most places. Swiss, cheddar, and mozzarella are available at a few locations; locals, however, will often say that a "true" Philadelphia cheesesteak is never made with Swiss cheese.[4


                  Cheez Whiz, first marketed in 1952, was not yet available for the original 1930 version, but it has come to achieve some popularity.

                  A 1986 New York Times article called Cheez Whiz "the sine qua non of cheesesteak connoisseurs."[5] In a 1985 interview, Frank Olivieri (Pat Olivieri's nephew) said that he uses "the processed cheese spread familiar to millions of parents who prize speed and ease in fixing the children's lunch for the same reason, because it is fast."[6]

                  A recipe published by Pat's King of Steaks says, with regard to cheese, "We recommend Cheez Whiz; American or Provolone works fine."[7] The proprietor of Geno's, however, considers provolone or American cheese more authentic, but Pat's introduction of Cheese Whiz allowed it to quickly become a "topping of choice."[8]"

                  1. re: pavlov

                    That's great...how great is Wikipedia? Ha ha...

                2. I read through this topic and saw that The Cheese Steak Shop came up a lot. Hands down, it's my favorite spot for steaks. I usually go to the branch in Castro Valley. As for the Cheez Whiz, I watched Travel Channel and saw that Pat's and Geno's use it.


                  1. There's a place on Columbus in N. Beach.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: sugartoof

                      Let's see. It's not Giordano Brothers. It's not Frank and Eddie's so its must be Buster"s.

                      Buster's Cheesesteak
                      366 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

                      1. re: wolfe

                        Yes! Buster's is great (although I am not an expert on cheesesteaks). Has anyone tried their burgers? I haven't been able to bring myself to order anything other than cheesesteak.

                    2. just came across and saw this topic! I've been to Jake's steaks in the marina for years! They have cheese whiz (that is what you are looking for), amoroso rolls and beers. You will find philly decoratioin throughout the store.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Jen H.

                        Isn't American cheese on a cheesesteak almost the same as whiz?

                        Rocky's in Berkeley is my new cheesesteak fave, but they use Swiss, which nobody is ever going to call "authentic".

                        One place I tried used a really tough sourdough roll. Ugh. FAIL.

                        1. re: Agent 510

                          John Kerry's ultimate error but perfect for Berkeley.
                          “It will doom his candidacy in Philadelphia,” predicted Craig LaBan, food critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer, which broke the Sandwich Scandal. After all, Philly cheesesteaks come with Cheez Whiz, or occasionally American or provolone. But Swiss cheese? “In Philadelphia, that’s an alternative lifestyle,” LaBan explained.

                          1. re: wolfe

                            Heh. I remember hearing about Kerry's gaffe. I was really suspicious of Swiss cheese on a steak, but combined with the caramelized onions and meat, it actually tastes sweet (instead of salty like a typical cheesesteak) but still greasy and filling and awesome.

                            So Rocky's variation is worth trying for you cheesesteak hounds, even if Swiss on a cheesesteak may be responsible for changing the course of the 2004 election (and the free world as we know it...)

                            I don't know when I'll ever work up the courage to try "wit' wiz", though.

                      2. I was born & raised in Philly and I have to say that I love the Cheesesteak Shop in SF when I need a fix. I usually order extra meat with a side of whiz. I prefer to drizzle the whiz on my steak and then use the rest to dip my fries in it.
                        Man! Now I'm hungry!

                        Anyhow, I've tried Jake's and it's not bad, but I was not overly impressed. The meat was a little bland for my tastes. Not a fan of Busters in NB either. They don't use the right bread...
                        If you'd like further detail, you can check out my Cheesesteak post on SFFoodMaven. Here's the link - http://www.sffoodmaven.com/2007/10/ch...
                        Happy Eating!

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: sffoodmaven

                          >I love the Cheesesteak Shop in SF<

                          sffoodmaven, you know Philly cheesesteaks and I don't, so please tell me a few things about my visit to the Cheesesteak Shop. The one thing I remember was that the beef was so finely chopped it was almost like ground beef. Is that the way it's supposed to be? The other thing was that there was very little beef on the roll (I didn't order the extra portion), way too little to call it a good sandwich. I disliked it enough that I had to stop somewhere else t get some food I liked.

                          Cheese Steak Shop
                          1716 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94115

                          1. re: Mick Ruthven

                            Spent 2 bookend weekends in Philly while on business in the 'burbs and yes that is how the beef is at Geno's and Jim's in South Philly. The "steak" is chopped fine on the grill, although not all the way to ground.

                            1. re: chocolatetartguy

                              You can also specify how finely (or not) you wanted it chopped.

                            2. re: Mick Ruthven

                              Yes, the meat is supposed to be nearly ground beef. In a good steak place, they have a way of slinging the beef around and banging on the grill with their spatulas, it's kind of like a tune, similar to cable car bell ringing.

                              I've never had a problem with lack of meat at Cheese Steak Shop, but I've often gone to berkeley (university ave) [I think I've been to divis once]. The amount of meat in philly seems to be shortening up a little too - I had two steaks in philly in December, and both were a little on the short side. It's probably the easiest way to not pass on cost to customers - and, once place charged me an extra 0.25 for peppers.

                              I prefer mine with hot and sweet peppers. It's just the right way to go, and I've never gotten a taste for the whiz - make mine provolone.

                            3. re: sffoodmaven

                              I think in Philly I've eaten most often at Jim's on South St. because they have beer.

                              Always provolone.

                              I like the divis store. It can really hit the spot.

                              Jake's is decent and they deliver to a limited area. I'd get dinner from there more often if they offered decent fries.

                              1. re: sffoodmaven

                                >I've tried Jake's and it's not bad, but I was not overly impressed. The meat was a little bland for my tastes.<

                                I had a small-size cheesesteak "Whiz with (onions)" and a side of onion rings yesterday at Jakes. Well, there was a huge load of meat (and some onions) on the two sections of sandwich, actually enough for two people (but I ate the whole thing). Also, the meat wasn't chopped to almost-ground-beef size but had some texture remaining. What a contrast to the very skimpy ground-beef-like portion I was served at the Cheesesteak Shop on Divisadero. That said, I also thought it was pretty bland which improved with some salt. The onion rings were good except, for my taste, there was too high a batter-to-onion ratio and they also needed salt. But I see why the place is popular.

                                1. re: Mick Ruthven

                                  Haha- Mick, I keep telling you that cheesesteaks are gonna seem bland if you don't already have a taste for them. They lack the savory edge of other regional delights. They are still fine, though.

                                  1. re: P. Punko

                                    They need to have a "savory" option for non-Philly people :-) I'm only half kidding. I could always being along a shaker of my own bbq rub...

                              2. I really liked the cheesesteak at Phat Philly's in the Mission. I was happy they use sustainable meat from Niman Ranch, but worried they might choose a "healthy" cut and make the sandwich too dry and flavorless, but it was delicious. They offer Whiz or their homemade cheddar beer sauce--both are delicious. It is by far my favorite cheesesteak in the area (compared to Berkeley Cheesesteak Shop and IB's) and it's not just because they have Whiz, after all, most supermarkets do, so if you're a real stickler you can always just BYO. The meat quality and flavor really win out. There was also a more than generous portion on our sandwiches, which is important because I'm not a fan of overly bready sandwiches.

                                Phat Philly
                                3388 24th St, San Francisco, CA

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: ...tm...

                                  Phat Philly's just opened on 24th and Valencia. They import the Amorosa rolls from Philly and do them up "wit whiz" gotta get it!!! VERY Authentic!! Tell Sam that Kathy sent you.

                                2. links

                                  Cheese Steak Shop
                                  1716 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94115

                                  Jake's Steaks
                                  3301 Buchanan St, San Francisco, CA 94123

                                  1162 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA 95129

                                  Cheese Steak Shop
                                  3308 Lakeshore Ave, Oakland, CA 94610

                                  Cheese Steak Shop
                                  1054 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94710

                                  Buster's Cheesesteak
                                  366 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

                                  Phat Philly
                                  3388 24th St, San Francisco, CA