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A Cheesesteak Query [split from MSP]

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(Note: This thread was split from the Minneapolis-St. Paul board at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4423... since it was meandering over to cheesesteaks in Philly instead of in MSP. -- The Chowhound Team)

I'm headed to Philadelphia the end of the month. Which restaurant should I go to for a Philly Cheesesteak?

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  1. John's Roast Pork
    Tony Lukes

    Plus - do yourself a favor and try a roast pork w/broccoli rabe and sharp provolone, too.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Uisge

      Pat's and Gino's are also among the most famous in Philly which you see all the time on the food network. I'm with Uisge on Tony Luke's, but you probably at least want to visit the two that kind of put the thing on the map.

    2. You should not eat a cheesesteak, get the roast pork with broccoli rabe and provolone instead, it's the sandwich Philly should be known for. My favorite in the city is at Paesano's in the Italian Market but John's and Tony Luke's make good ones too.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Buckethead

        Get a cheesesteak anywhere in town. They are just about better than anything you'd find outside of Philly. Some are a bit better than others and some are worse. There, you can say that you went to Philly and had a cheesesteak. Having done that, then head to DiNic's in the Reading Terminal Market. Most likely there will be a long line. There is a good reason for this. If you are lucky you may be able to snag a seat a the small counter. Order the roast pork with provolone and broccoli rabe (or spinach greens are ok too). You could even order it "wet" and get it extra juicy. One bite of this sandwich will make you forget about that cheesesteak.

        Enjoy your visit!

      2. You can kill two birds with one stone and get arguably the best cheesesteak AND roast pork sandwich at John's Roast Pork. Go with another person and split the sandwiches. You'll get the whole Philly blue-collar vibe since it's a little shack smack in the middle of an average commercial district. This should be your first stop for the best representations for both sandwiches. Sit at the picnic tables outside and try to have a chat with Vonda. She's the owner's mother, gray hair, glasses, very interesting. She's kind of an informal historian about how Philly used to be.

        Next, go to the Reading Terminal and go to Dinic's. For me personally, the Italian pulled pork with sharp provolone and long hots is the finest sandwich they have. DiNic's has always been popular, but now it has absolutely exploded in popularity since being featured on different tv shows.

        Then, go to Pat's and Geno's. Yes, you can definitely get a better cheesesteak than Pat's and Geno's, but it's still fun for a first timer. You'll also get to experience what should be your new expectation for an average cheesesteak. I don't say that as a dig, but rather that it will provide you with a good point of view.

        Finally, walk a few blocks up to Paesano's. They don't have cheesesteaks, but they do have a number of sandwiches, and all of them are flat-out excellent, particularly their chicken and pork sandwiches. If you complete this tour, you will be just as knowledgable as anyone else when it comes to Philadelphia sandwiches (well, at least cheesesteaks and roast pork, hoagies are a whole other story). I do hope you'll have company on your trip though. These sandwiches are no joke, you'll need all the help you can get.

        Since all of the above have been previously mentioned, I'd like to throw in Dalessandro's in as my personal favorite. It's a bit further from Center City than the other places, but as long as you hit the places mentioned earlier, you'll be fine.

        1. I will shamelessly redirect you to the Philly Cheesesteak Roundup here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/612671.

          1. I'm leaning towards trying Either Tony Luke's or Pat's and Steve's Prince of Steaks. Is Pat's worth a shot due to nostalga?

            8 Replies
              1. re: Buckethead

                Ok then. TL and Steves. Thanks.

                1. re: tda

                  Not sure if anyone pointed this out, but Chinks and Steves Prince are no where near Center City or any other tourist attractions (read expensive cab ride and thats IF they will take you there). If you have a car the directions are simple, but not exactly closeby.

                  I suggest to visitors to try Pats/Genos for the atmosphere and open 24/7. Once is enough though. Cheesesteak-wise my personal favorites are #1 John's Roast Pork (if hours work) and #2 Tony Luke's. Steves Prince and Chinks are also very good, but not near CC as I stated.

              2. re: tda

                Pat's sucks but I disagree with buckethead, it does have nostalgic appeal. I know former Philadelphians who enjoy going there when they are back in the city for a visit.

                1. re: barryg

                  But if you are looking at tasting the range of cheesesteaks I really like the idea of Steve's and Tony Luke's. Steve's you get the whole steak camp, Tony's you get the chopped steak camp, and both use quality ingredients, good cheese, and good bread.

                  Pat's is about the atmosphere, South Philly as a destination, waiting in line with the unwashed masses... but from a straight quality of the cheesteak perspective you are really missing out. If you want nostalgia, I would suggest Chink's over Pat's. It has the feel of an old lunch counter, you can get their great milkshakes to accompany the steak and you can sit down and eat there.

                    1. re: cwdonald

                      l would suggest Chink's over Tony Luke's, but this has been argued to death. Think Steve's is only whole slice sandwich worth eating, think Chink's is best of three or four chopped meat places. Those being John's and Tony Luke's.

                      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                        Made our first trip to Chink's last night. Fantastic place and we'll definitely be back. Also got a complete lecture on the history and minutiae of egg creams, ice cream sodas, flavored sodas, and milkshakes.

                2. Steve's prince of steaks is first. they have liquid american like chickies. then would put geno's second. both use ribeye! I love tony lukes for all their other sandwiches. used to work there as a kid, but their steaks aren't the same quality meat as these guys. (although put rabe and sharp on anything and you talkin) tony lukes for pork, cutlets and uncle mike's cant touch them