At Last, Philadelphia Finds Its Culture Fits The Country’s Taste

It is widely accepted that the cheesesteak was born in South Philadelphia sometime during the 1930’s at Pat’s Steaks on the corner of 9th and Passyunk streets. Some sources say it was originally thin sliced rib eye marinated in tomato sauce and stuffed into a homemade Italian hoagie roll with grilled onions. This is known as a pizza steak in Philly today. Eventually, Pat’s put cheese on it. Soon afterward, cheesesteak houses were popping up all over Philadelphia. Jim’s Steaks, opened in 1939, has four locations, including South Street. One such place, Geno’s Steaks opened directly across the street from Pat’s. Therefore, South Philly, especially the corner of 9th and Passyunk, has become “Mecca” to cheesesteak lovers everywhere.

People love cheesesteaks dressed in many different ways. This is typically where the confusion begins. A true, honest-to-goodness Philly Cheesesteak has just cheese and grilled onions only, on a homemade Italian hoagie roll, nothing more, nothing less. Favorite additional toppings include cherry peppers, mushrooms, bell peppers, tomato sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, oil and vinegar, and mayonnaise. The cheese varies. In Philly it is usually Cheez-Whiz or Provolone. Outside Philly one might find white American, Monterey Jack, or even Muenster.

In Philly, authentic cheesesteaks begin with toasted, homemade Italian hoagie rolls. The rolls are stuffed with rib eye steak, grilled onions and cheese. Outside of Philly, many places make a sandwich (they call it a sub) called a “Steak & Cheese”. If you ever encounter a restaurant that calls a cheesesteak a Steak & Cheese, you can be certain you have found microwaved roast beef on an oversized hotdog bun. Hardly a Philly cheesesteak! To this day, authentic cheesesteaks outside of Philly have been very hard to find. However, authentic cheesesteaks can always be found at The Steak ‘n Hoagie Shop. We’ve been making them that way since 1979.

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