Cheesesteak 101

Visit Philly · Philadelphia Top 10 Guide · created almost 7 years ago

In Philly, cheesesteaks are a civic icon, a tourist draw and a cultural obsession. Often imitated around the world, the cheesesteak is rarely duplicated successfully outside of Philadelphia. So what is an authentic cheesesteak and where did it come from? Here’s the lowdown on this region’s favorite sandwich.

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    Cheesesteak at Jim's Steaks in Philadelphia, PA

    Jim’s Steaks has multiple locations, but the classic smell of fried onions wafting down South Street makes that location the most memorable.

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    Cheesesteak at Steve’s Prince of Steaks in Philadelphia, PA

    Located in the Northeast section of the city, Steve’s has a sizable and devoted following of fans who swear the long, thin cheesesteaks that the “Prince” serves are the best in Philadelphia.

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    Cheesesteak at Shank's Original in Philadelphia, PA

    Visit Shank’s Original for a highly reputed cheesesteak and an old-school South Philly experience transplanted to Center City. The tradition of Shank’s dates back to 1962 when Shank’s and Evelyn’s (“Shank’s”) opened its doors to the Italian Market near 10th and Catherine Streets. In 2009, Shank’s closed it’s original location and opened a new location in Center City Philadelphia known as Shank’s Original Uptown.

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    Cheesesteak at Steaks on South in Philadelphia, PA

    One might think that Philadelphia already has enough cheesesteak eateries to last it a life time. While that may very well be true, you can never really have too many options for cheesesteak bliss. Enter Steaks on South, a relative newcomer to Philadelphia’s cheesesteak scene, but one that is already turning a lot of heads and filling a lot of stomachs.

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    Cheesesteak at Dalessandro's Steaks & Hoagies in Philadelphia, PA

    If you’re a saavy enough cheesesteak aficionado, you will no doubt want to make the trek out to Roxborough, near Manayunk in Philadelphia’s northwestern ridge. There, along Henry Avenue, you’ll find Dalessandro’s Steaks. Dalessandro’s has been serving delicious — if sinfully greasy — cheesesteaks from their corner locale for as long as anybody can remember. Legend has it that the grillmasters at Delassandro’s season their sizable flattoped grill with fat before adding the meat.

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    Cheesesteak at John's Roast Pork in Philadelphia, PA

    A small shack amidst shopping plazas, John’s Roast Pork is frequently cited as one of the city’s top steak spots. Its secret weapon? A crusty seeded roll.

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    Cheesesteak at Tony Luke's in Philadelphia, PA

    Every sandwich at the award-winning Tony Luke’s is worth ordering, and they taste even better during a game at the nearby sports complex.

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    Cheesesteak at Pat's King of Steaks in Philadelphia, PA

    The original home of the cheesesteak, Pat’s King of Steaks is still owned and operated by the Olivieri family.

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    Cheesesteak at Geno's Steaks in Philadelphia, PA

    It may be across the street from the oldest cheesesteak joint in town, but Geno’s Steaks is a formidable competitor going roll-for-roll with Pat’s for more than four decades.

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    Cheesesteak at Cosmis Meat Market in Philadelphia, PA

    Cosmi’s Deli is a relative newcomer among the cheesesteak contenders, winning accolades from Philadelphia magazine.

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    Cheesesteak at Tony Jr's in Philadelphia, PA

    Tony Jr.’s in Center City promptly serves up steak and pork sandwiches for a weekday lunch crowd.

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    Cheesesteak at Sonny's Famous Steaks in Philadelphia, PA

    Founded in 2000, Sonny’s Famous Steaks offers a fresh, healthier take on the recipe, frying the meat in its own juices rather than in oil.

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    Cheesesteak at Campo's Deli At Market in Philadelphia, PA

    More famous for its creative menu of hoagies, Campo’s Deli cooks up a respectable traditional cheesesteak, and they ship to other cities as well.

  • Cheesesteak at Shank's & Evelyn's in Philadelphia, PA

    Visit Shank’s and Evelyn’s luncheonette for a highly reputed cheesesteak and an old-school South Philly experience.

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    $100 Cheesesteak at Barclay Prime in Philadelphia, PA

    Chic steakhouse Barclay Prime dishes out what is the city’s, and most likely, the world’s most expensive cheesesteak, gussying up the original template with ingredients like Kobe beef and truffles.