Philadelphia’s claim to fame is loved by locals and outsiders alike. Over the decades, the Philly cheesesteak has become as American as its neighbor, the Liberty Bell. But this American staple is not every citizen’s right of passage. It must be earned. I’m here to teach you how to go about achieving iconic cheesy greatness.
Step 1: Choose the location
It really doesn’t matter where you go. Each establishment has its own unique style; but at the end of the day, they are all equally as cheesy, meaty, and delicious. Plus, if you’ve ever had a “Philly Cheesesteak” anywhere other than Philadelphia, then you’re inevitably going to feel like you died and went to heaven when you encounter the real deal.
Step 2: Decide what you want before you even get in line
The ordering process is a very precarious situation. No matter where you go, there’s going to be a crowd of hangry Philadelphians trying to get their fix in a timely fashion. Trust me when I say, you don’t want to be the clueless patron who stands between them and their sandwich. You will get hurt.
Step 3: Know the lingo
There’s a very articulate way of ordering that must be maintained, regardless of where you’re from. Quite frankly, the workers will not respond to requests like, “I’ll have one cheesesteak please!”. NO. Just no. So to save yourself from a lifetime of disgrace from such a blunder, Pat’s Steaks (my personal fav) made a sign to spell it out for you. And yes, you have to say “wit” instead of with. It’s mandatory to sound like a regular South Philly native to avoid ridicule.
Step 4: Grow a pair
The time has come. You’ve done your homework, you’ve mentally prepared, all you have to do now is get the guts to execute. No pressure! Just don’t choke. Because truth is, if you seem for one split second you don’t know what you want, they will sure as hell send you to the back of the line. At which point you must stand, wait, and think about what you’ve done.
Step 5: CELEBRATE (responsibly)
Once you’ve accomplished the unthinkable and mastered the art of ordering a cheesesteak, it’s time to reap the rewards of all the stress and trauma that process just caused you. BUT, be sure to accept your reward with respect and gratitude. The Philly cheesesteak is not for the weak of heart, mostly because of the fat content, but also because of it’s massive size and mouthwatering taste. It’s got a lot going on, so make sure to take it slow and keep all the cheesy, meaty goodness inside the roll so you don’t look like the rookie you truly are.
Now get down wit ya bad self… YOU DID IT.
Sure us East Coasters may be a little rough around the edges, but we don’t bite! (Unless for some reason you’re dangerously close to our cheesesteak)… But in that case, it’s your own fault. Plus, it’s clearly all worth it… amirite?