The Philly Cheesesteak: What is it and where's the best?

It was suggested on another thread that what HO needs is a good Philly cheesesteak thread. So voila!

First, what constitutes a Philly cheesesteak? For me, it starts with a good roll: crusty on the outside, doughy on the inside. Then the meat should be thinly shaved ribeye, cooked to order on a steaming hot grill (not those piles of essentially steamed pre-cooked meat they serve at stadia and tourist traps). A good white American cheese or, at the least, a nice provolone. As a Philadelphian of a certain age I don’t even recall whiz being an option–even in the burbs where I now reside, I’ve never been faced with a whizzy steak. Finally, really nicely carmelized onions. That’s it. The Philly cheesesteak.

I grew up in NE Philly, so Steve’s was the Prince of Steaks. In college, we spent a lot of time on South Street, so these years were definitely slanted to Jim’s. That may have been as much for the fun of sitting on the second floor and people watching than for the sandwiches themselves. As an adult in the city, I pretty much reverted to Steve’s again. Here in the burbs? I like Ray’s.

So what’s your take?


For the roll: Carangi’s or Sarcone’s seeded., This is essential. No substitutes.

Cheese: provolone, American, or Wiz. You’re choice. I don’t begrudge Wiz.

Onions: yes! Nicely caramelized.

Meat: Thin sliced rib-eye, not chopped. Cooked to order.

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No, to the seeded roll–Amorosos or Liscios please. You see, this is why HO needed a cheesesteak thread :stuck_out_tongue:


I grew up in Philly back in the Stone Age. I can’t remember when I had my first cheesesteak, but we were more inclined back then to eat a hoagie from Lee’s. I was so happy when both my sons went to Penn, so I could easily visit from NY and indulge in cheeseteaks again. This thread has me drooling on my keyboard with envy. I took my British husband to South St. about 5 years ago for his first experience, and I think we ate at Jim’s… or was it Gino’s? I need to return!

If it was South Street it was Jim’s.

Hmmm . . . maybe we need an Italian hoagie thread too?

hoagies & cheese steaks fall into the same category as scrapple.

it’s a concept.
there is no recipe, there is no one&only.

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Being relatively new to town and living in the far reaches of Delco, I haven’t ventured out to try a lot of the classics in the city.

That being said, we’re a big fan of the Original LaSpadas (because there are apparently copycats somewhere?) in Aston. I believe they start with a nice Liscios roll and then pile on the shaved ribeye. My only complaint is that once in awhile the grill guy seems to go too light on the seasoning and it comes out slightly bland. Having moved to Philly from the midwest, LaSpadas was the first true deli I’ve ever visited. Lots of Eagles and Flyers stuff painted on the walls, a row of booths with a bunch of men in track suits hanging out shooting the shit. In general, a good place – they have a lot of other great sandwiches too.

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Liscios, in a pinch. No way on the Amorosos, just mush.

Only the real deal seeded has the crust to hold up to an extra juicy steak with a decent amount of melted cheese.

Sounds like they transplanted a little slice of South Philly to Delco.

I spent a few years in the midwest as a grad student. Talk about a sandwich desert.

Hoagie thread? Yes!

Ricci’s, Chickie’s, or Cosmi’s. Take your pick. Can’t go wrong.

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I like my roll to be a little mushy on the inside :grinning:

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I have no idea. I like cheesesteak, but I don’t know what/where is the best. I am here to read your suggestions. :smiley:

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I had a cheesesteak exactly once, to see what the fuss is all about. I guess this musta been Jim’s, as it was on the corner of South Street and 4th. Meh.

Probably great drunk food, tho :smiley:

You should see the crowds at Steve’s around 2:00 am on the weekends.

But they have their place. Like this weekend when I was really hungry but didn’t want to cook. The nice people from Ray’s will bring them right to my door.

Oh, no doubt! There was a line out the door even that afternoon we went.

My office manager is from Philly and swears by Delco. She thinks all the ones you see in the cookoffs are terrible and cheez whiz an abomination

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I have side question, and I hope it won’t hijack the real thread. My short question is: Is cheese whiz the way to eat a cheesesteak? I grew up liking cheesesteak a lot. However, where I grew up, people put regular slices of cheese. Not until I moved near to Philadelphia that I found out about the cheese whiz variety? I still like the regular provolone or whatnot.

Am I correct that whiz cheese is the more default/standard choice? Thanks.

(I think Spataro’s Cheesesteak at Reading Terminal Market only serves with cheese whiz)

No cheese wiz is most definitely NOT the way to eat a cheesesteak. I am just north of 50, and growing up in the city I never even heard of a steak with wiz. Not sure when it became popular. But in my experience, when I order a cheesesteak it comes with white American cheese. Provolone is also acceptable.


Oh thanks. I thought it is considered the proper/traditional way to prepare cheesesteak. Got it. Thanks.

Cheez Whiz has a lot of salt in it. Which is why I think people like it. These days it has little cheese in it compared to when it was first invented