Phasinating Philly Phacts: History of the Philly Cheesesteak

PatsCheesesteakAnyone visiting Philadelphia knows that before they leave that HAVE to try a cheesesteak.  Most locals enjoy this delicacy after a night out on the town since so many steak shops are open all through the day and night.  If you go to pretty much any major city in the United States you will see restaurants and food trucks selling “Philly Cheesesteaks”.  A true Philadelphian can only shake their heads at this since a true “Philly Cheesesteak” comes right from this town and no where else.  You have to have a soft Amoroso roll (maybe it’s especially soft and delicious due to the special wooder we have here in Philly!), it can be WIT or WITOUT grilled onions, and with American, Provolone, or that bright orange goodness called cheese wiz!

Pats_and_GenosThe history of this great Philly sandwich is debated but it is said that the brothers Pat and Harry Olivieri, who owned a hot dog cart in 1930 near the Italian Market, started experimenting with chopped or “frizzled” beef on a roll.  Soon a taxi driver looking for lunch pulled over and asked for one of these new creations, he thought it was so good that Pat and Harry should trade in the hot dogs for it

Needless to say the creation became so popular that Pat Olivieri opened a restaurant that is still around today Pat’s King of Steaks at the intersection of South 9th Street, Wharton Street, and East Passyunk Avenue in South Philadelphia.  Pat’s original sandwich did not yet have the cheese component which is said to have been added by a manager at Pat’s, “Cocky” Joe Lorenzo.

Pat’s King of Steaks opJimsSteaksened in in the 1930’s and by 1966 the famous rivalry began when Joey Vento opened Geno’s Steaks right across the street.  Both locations stay open 24/7 and they are quite a sight to see especially at night with all the neon lights glowing from both sides of the street.

South Philly isn’t the only place you can get a great cheesesteak though as many places around Philadelphia offer versions of the gooey, cheesey, delicious delight.  Some of these include Jim’s on South Street, Campos and Sonny’s on Market in Old City, and Steve’s Prince of Steaks in the Northeast.  Every Philadelphian has their favorite place so get taste testing to find yours!

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2016-07-05T13:03:20+00:00July 5th, 2016|


  1. Phil July 13, 2016 at 9:26 am - Reply

    How could you possibly leave Tony Luke’s out of this article?

  2. tom manning July 13, 2016 at 11:30 am - Reply

    Went to Myrtle Beach for bike week and ran into a Veterens Rest. whose “cookie” was from Philly. So the question was do you have a good cheesesteak and his answer was yes because I get my rolls from amoroso’s every day and steak from a place in Bristol. and yes they were very good . there is also a food truck at seattle seahawks/sounders stadium who does the same thing. caught my eye when we were walking into stadium and saw the amoroso’s cartons beside the truck.

  3. Tammy July 13, 2016 at 12:00 pm - Reply

    Great article but Steve’s is the best

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