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Mar 19, 2014 10:19 AM

Is the Philly Cheesteak Doomed?

Apparently a double whammy of fast food and vegans are jeopardizing the future of the Cheesesteak.

I think it's alarmist hogwash - The Cheesesteak is certainly alive an well out here in Kensington anyway.

Warning: Photos are not for the faint of heart - there are some real atrocities pictured.

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  1. Did Pizza Hut and Domino's kill pizza?

      1. I was schooled in Philly, so I know where the cheesesteak bar is set. This is a plug for Chumlee's in Ellenton FL, that does a darn good one. Cheesesteak popularity is expanding.

        13 Replies
          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

            Leaving aside the issue of whether is such a thing as a good cheesesteak, the part of the cheesesteak that always seems to suffer outside of the greater philadelphia area is the bread. I would be interested in knowing whether the bread is as good down there, or what compromise they had to make.

            1. re: cwdonald

              It's gotta be Amoroso's or its not a "steak"

              incidentally the worst Steak I have ever had was served on a plane flying into Philly. Why would you do such a thing?

              1. re: JTPhilly

                There was a cheesesteak place I've been to in Fernandina, Florida that was run by expat Philly guys. They had amoroso rolls flown in...and they weren't quite right. Too soft. I think that they were grocery store models baked for shelf-life more than anything else.

                Anyway this place did great until they expanded and increased their overhead. Gone.

                1. re: sal_acid

                  Amoroso's that sit in the plastic bags with no air circulation loose the crisp outer layer
                  the ones in the bins, or the ones that get delivered to restaurants/deli's/sandwich shops in the cardboard flats don't have that problem, so they retain that nice crisp outer layer
                  (for commercially produced rolls, I actually like that baker from NJ that took over at Acme when Amoroso's drivers wen on strike... my brain is not working today)

                  1. re: sal_acid

                    They might have kept the rolls in the freezer and thawed them in the microwave. That will make them soft and chewy too.

                  2. re: JTPhilly

                    Give me a house made or a sarcone's roll anyday. Amoroso's are sponges.

                    1. re: cwdonald

                      I don't disagree with that, but the further away from this area you get, the closer to hot dog buns the "rolls" become
                      If you're in a good bread desert you'd welcome an Amoroso roll
                      it's all relative

                      I was in my early 20's living in the Hudson Valley area, went to a restaurant that served "steak sandwiches", hadn't been home for a while, so I was nostalgic, had a weak moment and ordered it
                      It was a squishy roll, with a slab of some sort of beef, which was grilled....
                      I'd have given anything for a real steak sandwich at that moment... even a "so-so" steak sandwich

                      1. re: cgarner

                        Really true. Its a fairly small area where the rolls are right.

                    2. re: JTPhilly

                      I attended a business function at a hotel in Philly that served a buffet build-your-own cheesesteak. Steaming tray of steak, slices of cold cheese, steaming tray of onions. Hotel version of a hoagie roll. And in case you wanted lettuce, tomato, and mayo, they had that too.

                      So now the attendees could claim they had an authentic Philly cheesteak experience. They didn't even have to leave the hotel!

                    3. re: cwdonald

                      l know Chumlee's, thus my scoff to buddy Veggo stands.

                    4. re: Delucacheesemonger

                      Just 1078 miles south of the Walt Whitman bridge.

                    5. re: Veggo

                      I vacation in St. Augustine FL, and there are some expat Philistines who have a cheesesteak place called "South-A-Philly". Never been (I hate cheesesteaks), but they claim to fly in par-cooked bread from South Jersey and bake it fresh each day:

                      "We are a staff of friends and family who are proud to bring you the best tasting cheesesteaks and hoagies in Florida. Our bread is shipped down par-cooked from South Jersey, then baked fresh throughout the day, so you can enjoy authentic flavor straight from the oven. Each day we slice our rib-eye by hand to ensure our steak is tender and delicious; we would never dream of serving that pre-sliced stuff! We have original Cheez Whiz to give your cheesesteak that real Philadelphia flavor, the same way we ate them growing up. If that’s not your thing, we also offer American, Provolone, and Swiss cheeses, all from Dietz and Watson, who also provides all of our Italian meats (for an unforgettable Italian hoagie that will make you think you’re right back in Philly!). We have put our hearts into creating sandwiches we are proud to serve, and we hope you enjoy eating them as much as we enjoy making them."


                    6. 1. Some foods should not be "transformed" into low-fat or a healthy version of itself. Just let it be.

                      2. Perhaps some people find Geno's attitude "charming" as part of a shtick or culture. I find it racist and ignorant.

                      3. Pat's is better anyway.

                      1. So Glad I Hate Genos... now if Pat's did this, I'd be picketing

                        Unless it's real shaved meat, (I prefer ribeye) on a good roll, it shouldn't be called a cheesesteak and I hate that Subway and other places outside this area call their fake versions of it a "Philly"
                        it's a slap in the face to the city
                        p.s. I belong to a recipe exchange website and my list of food "favorites" Is such

                        My list of "don't like's" is much shorter: I can't eat lima beans... I had a traumatic experience as a kid. I can't eat sea urchin roe...can't get over the texture. I come across lima's more than sea urchin roe though LOL. "Cheesesteak" hot pockets are nothing like a cheese steak and they shouldn't be permitted to call them that. Other than that, I pretty much will try anything at least once.


                        9 Replies
                        1. re: cgarner

                          How are you on cheesesteak eggrolls?

                          1. re: monkeyrotica

                            I have yet to try one... theoretically, I'm against them

                            I was also against the $100 cheesesteak and all the other 'high end' variables that were going around a few years back
                            They may have been delicious, but I think that its' just another bastardization.
                            There's something very satisfying (to me) about a really good, juicy/greasy/slightly chewy cheesesteak with onions and whiz, on a good roll, eaten outside with the hot peppers on the side, and a cherry coke that I was forced to order in a separate line
                            I'm not saying that you can't have a cheeseteak any other way, or any other place, I'm just saying that maybe the whole 'concept' is being taken too far to be called "steak sandwich" or "cheesteak" with any legitimacy

                            1. re: cgarner

                              I have a similar problem with throwing whatever on a bun and calling it "a burger." Like kung pao shrimp. I think it's stupid, but clearly someone wants to buy this or else they wouldn't be selling it. Some people are going to want to eat their "cheesesteak" with kobe beef and some imported cheese and chipotle aoili and whatever because it's the most expensive and, therefore, best available. So long as the real deal is available somewhere, I couldn't care less.

                              Also the cheesesteak eggrolls really hit the spot when you don't want to burn through a whole damn sandwich.


                              1. re: monkeyrotica

                                Not cheesesteaks, but they are tasty. Local place serves them with a spicy ketchup. A nice app.

                                1. re: sal_acid

                                  I'm in DC, so no Amaroso/Sarcones bread, and you're lucky if you can find ribeye. Most of the Korean run Chinese carryouts sell cheesesteak rolls and cheesteak hoagies with ribeye, but on H&S rolls from Baltimore. You gotta tell them to hold the L/T/M.

                                  1. re: monkeyrotica

                                    Actually Amaroso ships nation wide to restaurants.. you can get it anywhere.. but that is not a good thing.

                                    1. re: cwdonald

                                      A local sandwich shop was bragging about how they were getting theirs shipped fresh twice a week. They did not taste so good. Then they tried copying the recipe to make something similar. It wasn't that much better. I'm sticking with the stuff from Baltimore.

                                      Similar situation with Leidenheimer rolls and po boys. They distribute locally, but the stuff goes stale within hours.

                                  2. re: sal_acid

                                    I guess they are tasty I just like egg rolls that taste like egg rolls - not a fan of the pizza roll either