The Philly Cheesesteak is a pretty notorious food that has been recreated in many places outside its home, Philadelphia. Most people have tried a version of the cheesesteak and either loved it or hated it. However, most do agree that it is a great sandwich overall.
What is a Philly Cheesesteak?
For those who aren't familiar with a Philly Cheesesteak (and I'm sorry you've missed out all these years), visitphilly describes it as, "A cheesesteak is a long, crusty roll filled with thinly sliced sautéed ribeye beef and melted cheese."
There are also additional toppings, which include "fried onions, sautéed mushrooms, ketchup and hot or sweet peppers." There are always other versions of the cheesesteak, but this is typically the way it's done. The main focus is on the flavors and seasoning, always making sure that they are just right and are the perfect amount of savory.
The man that began it all is named Pat Olivieri. It all started in 1930 at Olivieri's hot dog vendor. He had decided to mix things up and added beef onto the grill. First We Feast states, "Harry [Olivieri's brother] returned with thinly-sliced ribeye, Pat 'frizzled' it up with some onions on the flattop, and crammed it into a bun: voila, version 1.0 of the cheesesteak has arrived," thus having caused an aroma far greater than any hot dog could have ever made.
According to the visitphilly site, a taxi driver had noticed this new pleasant smell and soon after, "rumor of the delicious lunch had spread, and cabbies around the city came to Olivieri demanding steak sandwiches."
Not long after, Olivieri decided to open a shop named Pat's King of Steaks to sell his new creation. He eventually added cheese to the recipe, and Pat's grills are on 24 hours a day.
However, with any great thing there is always someone who wants to be better. Shortly after the opening of Olivieri's shop, a man named Joe Vento opened the doors to Geno's, the rival shop across the street. The two shops have been in friendly competition to win the title of best cheesesteak in town.However, in contrast to this 'friendly' competition, there are comments that Joey Vento is racist. According to phillymag, there is a sign that hangs in the Geno's shop, with the words "Speak English." There have been attempts to have it removed, but Joey’s dying wish to his son was for the sign to remain. Though the PR for Geno's did say that there is still a consistent effort to have it removed permanently.
Where to Get Your Next Cheesesteak
For those who are fortunate enough to live in the Philadelphia area, the Spoonies in town really know what's good. The most popular seems to be Tony Luke's. Emily Genzer says, "Pat's and Geno's have turned into a major tourist destination, so a lot of locals don't go there." There are still a variety of options for those wanting to avoid the tourist crowd.
Additionally, if one is feeling adventurous (or has money), there is the "most expensive cheesesteak in Philly" sold at Stephen Starr's Barclay Prime for $120 with a bottle of champagne, Hannah Elizabeth mentions
For those of you craving an even wider variety, we've got you covered. The cheesesteak now also caters to a broader audience with both vegetarian and vegan versions, all thanks to suppliers like Vegadelphia. But whatever you end up ordering, make sure you do it correctly.
You now are equipped with the proper education to expertly order a cheesesteak. Go forth and devour!