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famous cheesesteaks

what are the famous ones ginos right? and the other big?

should i hit those or hit a smaller name?

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  1. Avoid Pat's and Geno's like the plague.

    Choices could include: John's Roast Pork (if your schedule aligns with theirs,) Steve's Prince of Steaks, or Tony Lukes.

    Also consider getting a better sandwich like the Roast Pork either at John's or at DiNic's in the Reading Terminal Market (make sure to order it wet.. with broccoli rabe or spinach and sharp provolone.) You might also consider going to Paesano's and trying one of their amazing sandwiches. The Arista, Daddy Wad, and Giardina are my favorites.

    7 Replies
    1. re: cwdonald

      All l can add to cwdonald's perfect post is Chink's for cheesesteaks

      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

        +1 for Chinks... great steaks and a must if you like old fashioned milkshakes.

        Greatest challenge in providing suggestions here is not knowing whether the person is going to have a car or not, and where they are staying. Chinks is up in the Northeast.. Johns is South of Center City... Tonly Lukes is near the stadium... Paesano's has several outlets. Steves has multiple outlets. RTM is in CC, and could be the source for a reasonable cheesesteak and fantastic roast pork sandwich.

        1. re: cwdonald

          Peasano's has 2 shops and neither serve cheesesteaks - though they did do a special recently that was a steak of sorts.

          1. re: caganer

            They were under my suggestion of getting a better sandwich rather than a cheesesteak... Their version of a roast pork is pretty amazing if you eat pork

          2. re: cwdonald

            I would add Cosmi's at 8th & Dickinson in South Philly for cheesesteak and hoagie.

            1. re: bucksguy14

              My fav hoagie is at Cosmi's, hot coppa and aged provolone.

              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                Do you recall where Cosmi's gets their rolls?

      2. In the case of Philly Cheesesteaks, don't go toward the bright light! Don't be lured by the neon to inferior steaks and frequently a not ordered and unwarranted bit of attitude. Many other posts here about better steak joints. Philly style roast pork sandwiches have gained additional attention as the north east best sandwich winner. Better sandwich; I would suggest it is an apples to oranges comparison. CW has saved you a lookup by naming some of the noted best of Philly Cheesesteaks choices.

        1. We were in Philly yesterday and tried Pat's, Geno's, Tony Luke's (at the ballpark) and Jim's, along with a Schmitter from the ballpark as well. Our findings were as follows:

          Pat's: lightly chopped, very juicy but unsalted meat with lots of Whiz slathered on top. I really enjoyed this one, because I felt that the Whiz on top mixed with the meat nicely so that there was a good flavor in every bite. The meat needed salt, though. Bread was unremarkable but inoffensive - the sandwich was very juicy, though, and soaked through the bread after a few moments (which didn't bother me). Onions were cooked but a bit gamy (I like gamy, though).

          Tony Luke's: maybe it was because of the ballpark location, but I thought this sandwich was terrible. The meat was left in whole slices and was completely unseasoned and dry as a bone. The Whiz had been applied to the bread, so it completely soaked in and was undetectable. The bread was otherwise unremarkable and the onions were nearly raw.

          Geno's: I was prepared for this one to suck but it ended up being a winner. The meat was well seasoned (FINALLY!) and there was adequate Whiz, although next time I would ask for extra. The meat was in whole slices but still juicy enough. The onions weren't terribly well cooked, but they weren't raw, either. The bread was a bit rubbery at the outset but it softened up as we ate the sandwich.

          Jim's: I'm not really sure how this one qualifies as a cheesesteak. The meat here is SO chopped that it tastes like eating a ground beef sandwich. An unseasoned ground beef sandwich at that. What is it with the lack of seasoning on the meat at these places? I requested extra Whiz, and even though I saw him apply it to both sides of the bread, their bread is so weirdly squishy that the cheese completely disappeared. Their onions were pretty good, but that was the only positive.

          I would rank Pat's and Geno's as a tie for #1 and the other two a distant 3rd and 4th, with Tony Luke's edging Jim's out by a hair. However, just to show the subjectivity of cheesesteaks (and food in general), my husband liked Jim's the best (although he agreed it's more of a ground beef sandwich than a cheesesteak), Geno's next, then Tony Luke's and then Pat's last.

          We'll try Steve's Prince of Steaks, John's Roast Pork and Chink's next time, and maybe give Tony Luke's original location a try too, since ballpark locations aren't always as good as the real deal. Speaking of which, a side note about our Schmitter - it was AWFUL, and a huge waste of $10. Two slices of meat burnt to jerky consistency with one slice of salami, drenched in Big Mac sauce on a nasty bun that absorbed all the (crappy) cheese, plus a mealy tomato? Dreadful. I might try one at their original outpost but I was sorely disappointed.

          2 Replies
          1. re: biondanonima

            FYI .. all the ballpark locations are concessions run by Aramark. Do not confuse these with the real places. They are in name only. The real Schmitter is a good sandwich. The original Tony Lukes location is better than either Pats or Genos. So to put it mildly, you need to come back to Philadelphia to try the real deal.. and while you are at it try other sandwiches too.. Roast Pork at either Johns or DiNics.. go to Paesanos and try any one of a number of the sandwiches there. Sample the italian hoagie at Cosmis or Sarcones.. In short.. broaden your horizons and you wil lbe pleasantly surprised that while there are great cheesesteaks here, there are also a lot of other great sandwiches as well.

            1. re: cwdonald

              Yes, we walked by Paesano's in the Italian Market during our explorations and would have gone there for dinner but they closed at 5. Next time...we're just a couple hours from Philly so I'm sure we'll be back!

          2. I went to Steve's Prince of Steaks. This is a truly problematic sandwich. The bread is far too ample for the insides (need at least twice as much meat, probably more. They should be culinarily genuine, and put the meat on less bread), and I am not a supporter of liquid American cheese, as it is messy and has a mouthfeel like water. I do not promote Steve's Prince of Steaks as a premier cheesesteak.

            7 Replies
            1. re: observor

              From this post I'd bet John's Roast Pork makes the steak for you. Lots of well-browned meat cooked to order, a better than average roll and, if processed cheese isn't your thing, you can get sharp provolone.

              1. re: observor

                I was at Steve's a few weeks ago and it was amazing, as usual. They do pack in less meat than other places but I find it adequate. You can order extra meat if you want. I order "both cheeses" -- whiz and the liquified American. To each his own, I like the liquid American but this is a different style of sandwich.

                I like John's a lot as well, it is a totally different style. However I would recommend regular american cheese (they use a good sliced deli American, not a processed cheese) over provolone. The one thing that Steve's and John's have in common is that both cook the meat to order and properly brown it.

                BTW the liquid American at Steve's doesn't have a processed taste, I believe they make it themselves from good quality american cheese.

                1. re: barryg

                  I've probably eaten 5 cheesesteaks in the last 5 years and all have come from John's, I settled on them just because the meat is well cooked - that's where all of the big places let me down in the past. American is my cheese of choice for cheesesteaks, I wouldn't order sharp provolone because I think cheesesteaks are supposed to ooze a little.
                  As a North Carolinian I have to eat pork whenever it's available so roast pork is my sandwich of choice (as I think I'm obligated to point out).

                  1. re: barryg

                    I don't know how you can find barely perceptible meat in a huge roll adequate.

                    1. re: observor

                      I would suggest your steak was an abaration. I have eaten at all three Steves locations and never had the issue.

                      One trick that folks around here do is they ask for the bun to be hollowed out. That can adjust the bread to steak ratio as well. Steves also may seem like less meat because they do not chop it up the way that others do which leave the steak resembling dog food.

                      1. re: cwdonald

                        But chopped is standard. The fried onions, cheese and meat become one like a filling. I like em both ways.

                    2. re: barryg

                      I also prefer Steve's to most others in the city, though I've never had the pleasure of John's. I like the roll to meat ration. My husband sometimes gets double-meat, but that is too much for me. I also like their whiz. I was always a complete cheese snob, and still don't eat whiz in any other context, but I like it on a cheesesteak.

                  2. I'm a fan of Grey Lodge Tavern (Frankford Ave) for steaks (although it's been a while). They use sliced sirloin and a runny cheese (not whiz). I think it's one of the best in the city. They also are a solid craft beer bar.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Chinon00

                      And the lodge steak is unique, they put salami on the cheesesteak, which is surprisingly good.

                      1. re: cwdonald

                        That sounds good. Speaking of bar steaks, the cheesesteak at Oscar's on Sansom Street is very solid and very cheap. About average pizza shop quality, nothing fancy at all, but a good option in Center City if you want a beer. It's a "cheesesteak and a half" (three halves) for like $6.50. The hoagies are pretty solid too.

                        1. re: cwdonald

                          The "Schmitter" has salami and steak meat on a kaiser roll.