The Liberty Bell, the Rocky Statue and the cheesesteak – they’re all basic necessities when showing any out-of-towner around Philadelphia. And chances are good that if you live in the area, you have a favorite cheesesteak spot. While many Philadelphians can get quite argumentative over who has the best cheesesteak, just about anyone would agree that no other area can compete with this classic Philly staple. With or without, sliced or chopped or topped with American, provolone or Whiz, these are some of the top spots to get a good cheesesteak. CBS Philly previously gave a list of top cheesesteaks in Philadelphia, but a topic this important to the city is worth revisiting.
Dalessandro’s Steaks & Hoagies
600 Wendover St.
Philadelphia, PA 19128
Sure, it’s a little out of the way from your usual Philadelphia landmarks. But for those in the know, Dalessandro’s is absolutely worth the trip out to Roxborough. To locals, this has been the spot for cheesesteaks for a very long time. Here, the ribeye steak is chopped fine and mixed with American cheese (or provolone or Whiz for an upcharge) and chopped grilled onions for $7.25. Rolls are piled high with the juicy meat and there are a variety of peppers ranging in hotness available as garnish. Dalessandro’s serves beer, so you can enjoy a cold one while eating your steak or hoagie at the counter or out front under an umbrella.
1219 S. 9th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
No article about Philadelphia cheesesteaks would be complete without Geno’s. It may have a reputation as being a bit of a tourist trap, but it’s undeniable that the South Philly spot with the neon lights has become a city landmark. The original owner of Geno’s, Joey Vento, passed away in 2011 after 45 years in the business. Now run by Joey’s son, Geno, Geno’s continues to serve its cheesesteaks using the same recipe that made the place a Philadelphia icon. Ribeye steak — never chopped — is served with grilled onions and cheese on fresh-baked rolls. Choose cheese Whiz, American or provolone cheese for $9.50 and top it with ketchup, mustard or relish available at the counter if you like. Fries and roast pork are also on the menu. Geno’s is open 24 hours, seven days a week, guaranteeing that a true Philly cheesesteak is available whenever you’re in the City of Brotherly Love.
Jake’s Sandwich Board
122 S. 12th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Located in Midtown Village, Jake’s Sandwich shop offers unique twists on Philly classics like cheesesteaks, pork, brisket and more. Since opening in May of 2010, the casual spot has become a neighborhood favorite, and the Philadelphia Business Journal named it “top cheesesteak” in 2013. The standard cheesesteak made with fried onions and provolone is $8.50 (add $1 for roasted long hots), or go for one of the more unusual options with ingredients such as wasabi spread, bacon, all sorts of cheeses and even crunchy peanut butter. And don’t miss “The Garlic Bomb,” one of Jake’s best sandwiches. The popular cheesesteak features roasted garlic spread, sautéed garlic and provolone cheese. Then it’s topped with even more garlic, this time fried and crunchy. Straying from the traditional steak, the $10 brisket cheesesteak is a Jake’s signature item. Made with brisket that slow-roasts for 12 hours and rests for 24 hours before being hand-carved and seared on the grill, this provolone-topped cheesesteak will have you rethinking the way you eat the Philly staple.
400 South St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
Jim’s Steaks has locations in West Philly, the Northeast and Springfield, but the South Street spot is by far the most popular. If the lines that often overflow into the street aren’t enough to grab your attention, you’ll certainly notice the smell of fried onions and steak wafting out of the two-story building. While the lines are long, Jim’s operates like a well-oiled machine with cooks prepared to keep the lines moving quickly. So be ready to call out your order when you’re up. Steaks are chopped and available with Whiz, American or provolone cheeses and additional toppings such as sweet peppers, mushrooms, egg and pizza sauce. Complete your meal with a bag of chips and can of soda or beer from the refrigerator and grab a seat at the counter or head upstairs for additional tables. There are plenty of autographed photos of famous visitors to peruse while you eat. Jim’s also offers a variety of hoagies made to order, available from a separate line inside.
Joe’s Steaks + Soda Shop
6030 Torresdale Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19135
While the name might be just over a year old, Joe’s Steaks + Soda Shop (previously Chink’s) has been a Northeast Philly favorite for over 60 years. The quirky shop offers steak sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches and more; along with sweet treats such as floats, sundaes and specialty sodas. Nothing on the menu is over $8, making it a wallet-friendly spot to visit with the family. Cheesesteaks are made with hand-cut ribeye that’s sliced fresh each morning and trimmed of fat. Steaks are cooked to order and served on locally sourced rolls. A small cheesesteak is $5.75 and a large is $7.95. A recent change in hours to include Sundays means that you can now satisfy your cheesesteak craving any day of the week. Visit on a Sunday morning to enjoy the “steak and eggs” special. For the same price as the regular cheesesteak, top your steak with two eggs cooked any way you choose.
John’s Roast Pork
14 E. Snyder Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19148
Located in South Philadelphia, John’s Roast Pork has been a lunchtime favorite since it opened in 1930. As the name suggests, the roast pork sandwich is the house specialty, but the cheesesteak comes in a very close second. In fact, The Philadelphia Inquirer previously gave John’s the honor of being named “best cheesesteak in the region” and the provolone cheesesteak was in the finals for Adam Richman’s “Best Sandwich in America.” The steak is seasoned well and the cheese and onions are folded into the meat while it’s cooked on the grill, resulting in a flavorful and cheesy steak. Sandwiches are served on crusty seeded rolls that are delivered fresh every morning from South Philly’s Carangi Bakery. Steaks range in price from $8.50 for a standard cheesesteak ($8 for plain) to $9.75 for the bacon cheesesteak. Other menu choices include hoagies, grilled cheese, soup, breakfast sandwiches and more. John’s is only open until the mid-afternoon, so you’ll have to plan your visit accordingly. To avoid the lunchtime rush, call to place your order ahead of time and it’ll be ready for pickup.
Steve’s Prince of Steaks
41 S. 16th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Steve Iliescu opened the first Steve’s Prince of Steaks at the corner of Bustleton and St. Vincent by the Roosevelt Mall in 1980. After growing up in the Northeast and making trips to Center City to get quality cheesesteaks, he saw the need to bring the beloved Philly favorite to his neighborhood. Three more locations have opened over the years, including the newest Center City spot in 2013 that offers curbside pick-up. Steve’s long, thin steak sandwiches are made with sliced ribeye that is grilled whole and served on rolls specially made for the purpose by a bakery in New Jersey. The standard cheesesteak is about $8.33 (prices vary by location) and comes with fried onions and either Whiz or a unique American cheese sauce. Provolone or mozzarella cheese can be added for a little extra, and other toppings include pizza sauce, mushrooms, pepperoni, sweet peppers, hot roasted peppers, lettuce, tomato and bacon. While the steaks are obviously the biggest draw, Steve’s also offers additional choices such as chicken cheesesteaks, hoagies, burgers, hot dogs and fries.
Michelle Hein is the social media editor for a women’s fashion company in Bucks County by day and a self-proclaimed food and drink fanatic by night and weekend. She enjoys attending wine classes, trying new recipes in the kitchen and going to old favorites and new restaurants alike in the Bucks County and Philadelphia area. If the writing gig doesn’t pan out, she constantly dreams of owning her own bakery…perhaps connected to the restaurant/bar that her lawyer fiance would love to open.
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