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Apr 16, 2009 09:50 PM

Philly Cheesesteak Roundup

For years on end, I have been seeking out the best Philly Cheesesteaks from all over the city. It's not always the easiest thing to do since I don't live in Philly and often when I find one place that's good, I'll end up going back there for the next however many months or even years. anyhow, here's a little round up of some of the top Cheesesteak places in the City of Brotherly Love.

Pat's - They say this is the original place, but it tastes like amateur hour to me. Like many out-of-towners this was the first cheesesteak I ever ate in Philly, and I was completely unimpressed...even then, as a complete newbie.

Geno's - This place is even worse than Pat's. A complete waste of time. Plus the guy who runs it is a hothead who puts all kinds of inappropriate political crap all over the exterior of his shop. Don't even bother.

Jim's - For years, when I didn't know better, this was my place of choice. There's a location on South Street which is perfect for out-of-towners anyhow. It's an okay steak. But it honestly lacks in flavor in the meat and the sandwiches are often cold, even right after they give them to you.

D'Alessandro's - This spot is also completely overrated. I get the feeling this is the type of place for people who think Big = Good when it comes to cheesesteaks. They do give you a lot of meat. But the sandwich doesn't really come together.

Cosmi's - I wanted to love this place - a nice little Mom & Pop Italian deli in South Philly - but I just couldn't. You can get better cheesesteaks in Baltimore.

Tony Luke's - Now this place is good. The meat is a little more fatty than I generally like. but it is unquestionably a solid cheesesteak. They have plenty of other great sandwiches too. I tried the Meatball Parm today and it was excellent.

Chink's - This place is almost perfect....almost. The rolls are terrific. They make incredible milk shakes. The one minus is that they sometimes leave a little too much grizzle in the steak. But it is a very, very, very good spot.

Steve's Prince of Steaks - He calls himself the Prince, but to me Steve is the King. The sandwiches are awesome. The American cheese is melted before it's put on and you can get it on the cheese fries as well if you want (which I highly recommend) instead of the standard whiz. The steak is great, the roll is fantastic and the cheese rocks. Plus they're all doled out in just the right amount. Steve's is a must for any serious cheesesteak lover.

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  1. When in town you've got to try George's near the corner of 9th and Christian and John's Roast Pork at 2nd and Weccecoe. Honorable mention in the burbs IMO would go to Cisco's in Flourtown.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Den

      steve's, steve's and steve's
      there is nothing more to say except....steve's.

      1. re: roeena

        Steve's is pretty darn good but I have to say I just tried Chink's and I think my new top 4 are...


      2. re: Den

        Wow! Cisco's is still open? They used to have great hoagies!

        1. re: Den

          Finally tried George's last weekend and I am definitely sold on it. It doesn't quite edge out Steve's or Chink's in my book, but it's flirting with my top tier and definitely belongs in the discussion. Still have to make it to John's.

          1. re: Den

            is that what they call the street down there by johns? i thought it was at snyder and ....water street maybe?

            1. re: stevemick1323

              it is Weccecoe - it is the street that runs along the railroad tracks and dead ends into snyder. Water runs along I95 on the east, Front along I95 on the west

              1. re: Bigley9

                i used to live a few blocks away on third and jackson......and yet i hardly ever made it there due to their insanely ridiclous hours...

                1. re: stevemick1323

                  Not to beat a dead horse on this, but their established hours are 6:45 to 3PM. That's 8 hours and 15 minutes of customer serving time. Add in the prep time if they arrive early and the clean up time if they stay after 3 and you are looking at a potential 10 hour minimum work day (probably more). Do you work a 10 hour work day on a regular basis? Cut these people some slack.

                  1. re: stevemick1323

                    go on Monday holidays - they are open when banks are closed...that's when I get there most. Or heck, just call out sick. Lots of places are just open for breakfast and lunch stevemick, not sure why you are so worked up about it.

            2. Long live the Prince! Truly the best cheesesteak in Philadelphia. BTW you can order "both cheeses" which is the melted American with the orange cheese, which I think is not whiz but a homemade concoction.

              You need to hit up John's Roast Pork on Snyder--that's the only other steak in the running with Steve's.

              7 Replies
              1. re: barryg

                Thanks for that "both cheese" tip. That is insider knowledge I can use!

                My question on John's is, do they use rolls with Sesame seeds? I thought I saw this in a photo on their website or somewhere. It's a big no-no for me on cheesesteaks.

                  1. re: Bigley9

                    I'm pretty sure that John's does use sesame seeded rolls.

                    1. re: Philly Ray

                      yup. thats the only setback to their cheesesteak. that and the ungodly long wait

                  2. re: Jonny Pops

                    I thought the sesame seeds on the rolls at John's would be a big turn-off too but it turned out to be more of a psychological hurdle because after having their cheesesteak I rate it the best I've had (with Chink's being 2nd and Tony Luke's 3rd).
                    The quality of their meat is just outstanding and they really pack it on. Just wish they were open nights and weekends.

                    1. re: Jonny Pops

                      I'm pretty sure that John's uses Carangi rolls

                    2. I agree for the most part with what you say, however, I've been to Steve's a few times, and albeit good, I would not crown him King or even Prince, that quickly, maybe a 9 of hearts. My favorite is still Pudge's in Blue Bell. Great count and terrific rolls, Their fries are unbeatable.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: TwoBellies

                        I've been heading to Pudges a couple times a year for a few years now, and I think they're solid, but I can't seem to figure out why they're mentioned with the best in the area. They are huge with a lot of meat, but always seem relatively dry, lacking sufficient cheese, and uninteresting to my taste.

                        1. re: umphilly

                          Really umphilly? I usually eat my Pudge's steak there because they tend to get soggy before I get home. Soggy but still warm. But I do get mine with mushrooms as well as cheese. The cheese seems ample to me, and nicely blended with the meat as I prefer it. The meat is really good. They moved to the shopping center next door, where the Pepperidge Farm outlet is, only a stone's throw away. Their new digs are more spacious and if you dine in it is possible to avoid the ever present flat screen tv. But I got mine to go and it was incredible, as always.

                          1. re: givemecarbs

                            I agree with umphilly that the meat can be dry (either cheesteak or chicken cheesesteak). I usually order the steak with sauce which is a nice spicy sauce that adds both flavor and keeps the meat moist. I think the sauce is one of the things that differentiates Pudge's steaks. The bread never is anything special at Pudgie's, unlike at a place like John's, but overall its still a good steak.

                            1. re: cwdonald

                              After many dissenting posts on Pudge's superness or less, l finally went this afternoon. Pros-Great service, cheesesteaks cooked to order thus hot as can be, the regular at @$7 is HUGE. Cons-Even after ordering extra cheese, had difficulty finding it on sandwich, meat was totally tasteless but there was a lot of it, bread was far too 'bready' for me. l left one half of the sandwich uneaten. Sorry, my vote goes on the negative side.

                          2. re: umphilly

                            pudges in blue bell is okay. for the suburbs. whats embarrassing is that there are so few places to get a good cheeesteak in philly. steak shop/pizza shop places dont wanna spend the money buying quality ingredients. any other city would be in competition everywhere if they were known for a special sandwhich

                        2. While I love steve's and Tony lukes -- Chubby's is not to be missed. It's across the street from Delassandros but in my opinion its waaay better.
                          You also can't beat Lager from the tap served in freezer cooled glasses.
                          I live in LA now, and always make Chubby's the 1st stop for cheese steaks when I get into philly.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Marianna215

                            I've been meaning to hit this place. What usually stops me is dealing with the Schuykill - so I end up at a place close to 95. Thanks for the rec.

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