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ONE and only ONE Cheesesteak in Philly

I'm not from the area...and have never had any of the famous cheesesteaks. Here's my challenge:

I have time/appetite for ONE and only ONE meal of Philly cheesesteak! My thoughts are:

1. Do a side/by/side comparison of Pat's/Geno's
2. Go to a more highly rated place - Steve's, Tony's, etc.

Your thoughts please.

Part 2 - onions are a given - should I get it wit Wiz or Provalone?


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  1. John's Roast Pork. that is the only one you will ever need to try. get it with provolone.

    1. It would help if you let us know when you are coming to town. Cheesesteaks are ALWAYS a very lively debate. There are many threads devoted to the cheesesteak debate. I am confident, this one will be no exception! Personally, I am a Steve's Wiz wit. (wit refers to the onions not the cheese. ;-))

      1. Perhaps there is another option you may consider: skip the (vastly overrated) Philly cheesesteak in favor of a roast pork sandwich from Tony Luke, John's, or DiNics.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Buckethead

          I love the pork at Tony Luke as much as the next true Philadelphian, but I could never discourage anyone from a real Philly cheesesteak. Forget Pat's and Geno's, although it's fun to drive by and see the corners...Tony Luke's all the way, I'm American wit....

          1. re: hillster

            I'm a Californian who frequents PA once every other month. I heard from a native Philadelphian that Jim's (on South Street?) is the only way to go. According to this source, natives are truly divided between those who prefer cheez whiz, and those who opt for provolone. I'm curious for any native out there to comment on this...

            1. re: ginael

              No native would go to Jim's unless they like dry, gristly meat. That is why natives eat roast pork!

        2. If you are going for your cheesesteak before 2:00 Mon to Fri (maybe Saturday), go to John's Roast Pork at Front and Snyder. Get a cheesesteak with provolone and fried onions. If outside of that window, go to Tony Lukes at Front and Oregon and order the same. I have lived in Phila my entire life and I have had one cheesesteak with wiz because I thought I should (I grew up with Prov or american). I went back to provolone. Once you get the cheessteak, get a roast pork to go from either of these same places, rabe and provolone or go to the Reading Terminal Market for a roast pork from DiNic's.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Bigley9

            i would say skip the cheesesteak because i think its the most patronizing,disgusting and greasy thing this side of paris hilton, but while your here, you might as well go to John's on Front and Synder and get a steak and a pork sandwich.

          2. Go to Johns. Definitely. I'm a convert. Although I still like mine with Whiz. (I can't help it!) It's the saltiness I'm sure.

            1. John's. And has other people have told you, his roast pork is amazing.

              People usually like Tony Luke's second, if your time is wrong for John's.

              1. WIZ all the way. And if you want the real philly experience of standing outside in a line of drunken idiots you really have to go to Pat's or Geno's (depending on your political leanings??) i think Pat's steaks are better.

                I know it's really "cool" to like some obscure cheesesteak shop in the middle of nowhere, but most of those places don't capture the atmosphere like Pat's & Geno's...

                although I think the thing to REALLY eat in Philly is a hoagie, for which I would recommend Cosmi's at 8th & Dickenson as one of the best.

                1 Reply
                1. re: silverbullet69

                  Not to side-track the thread, but for hoagies, I'm Chickies all the way.

                2. Thank you all for your input...here's what transpired.

                  Abandoned the idea of a side by side at Pat's/Geno's as I didn't want to compare #35 to #42...

                  Instead, did a sort of side by side of my own - at Tony Luke's

                  Ordered a Steak Wiz wit, and a Roast Pork. Both had their own merits but the Pork was more flavorful without question. So there you go.

                  After all this was over I felt sort of let down in a way. Actually, I didn't find either sandwich to be as good as I had expected. I'd much rather have a bahn mi or a good burger. Neither sandwich I had was worth a going out of your way for.

                  So, lesson learned about Philly cheesesteaks! Now, where's the best burger in Philly? Off to consult

                  http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2... _you_die.html


                  2 Replies
                  1. re: GianniB

                    That's an easy one.. the Good Dog Bar.

                  2. Chink's is my fav. Prov wit

                    PAt's and Geno's are owned by the same family, so the whole competition thing is a marketing ploy.

                    4 Replies
                      1. re: Gorp512

                        I think he may be confusing the fact that Pat (of Pat's) and Rick (of Rick's Steaks (can I say Prince of Steaks?)) are cousins. Last I heard neither was related to Geno but I will ask just to make sure. And I think the marketing ploy was the whole speak English when ordering thing. Either way the scene at Pat and Geno's is more about atmosphere than good food.

                        1. re: bluehensfan

                          I have to source this. But you are correct about it being 90% atmosphere.

                      2. re: MattInNJ

                        I do not believe this is accurate.

                      3. I used to be a Pats' Guy untill I had a Steves' Prince of Steaks. The best ever hands down!!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: drizzunk1

                          Pat's and Geno's absolutely do not have ownership ties. Look at the lines...they don't need the hype. And it's certainly the atmosphere that's going for them. The fact that they're open when the bars close is everything. On a different note....I just had a steak @ Voltaco's in OC NJ. Damn near worth the drive just for it.

                          1. re: Major504

                            voltaco's makes great cheesesteaks!!! yum! i forgot all about that place.

                        2. Cheesesteak: Tony Luke's--Provolone, wit
                          Roast Pork: (a few places) Shanks and Evelyn's (is it still there? it's been a while since I've been), Tony Luke's, Dinics (in the Reading Terminal Market)

                          If you've gotta have the cheesestaek, go to Tony Luke's. If you can let it go, totally go with the roast pork (with broccoli rabe, of course).

                          1. I'm also a fan of the cheesesteak debate but have to agree with the others that said John's Roast Pork at Snyder and Wececcoe. If you're in the Italian Market area go for George's (get 2 cause they're smaller) with fried onions and sauce.

                            1. John's has pretty much ruined me for any other cheesesteak. This is good, health-wise, because I can get there only rarely due to the hours. So it's an extra-special treat. Tony Luke's is borderline acceptable but I'd get a roast pork or even a chicken cutlet there before a cheesesteak.