Whenever someone finds out that I’m from Philadelphia, I either get, “I’ve never been there, but I’ve been to Boston, New York and Washington D.C.” (screw you), or, “Phillllyyyy, Pat’s or Geno’s?” (screw you again). I won’t get into the fact that Philly is one of the biggest and nicest cities in the country and just 3 hours north of D.C. and only two hours south of NYC and is still bypassed, but my mission is to enlighten all of you that MIGHT visit and want to enjoy one of Philly’s best inventions besides myself, I’m talking about heaven between bread, God’s second son, The life and love of Philadelphia – The Cheese Steak.
When eating a cheese steak, if it’s listed in a menu as a “Philly Cheese Steak” or a “Philly Steak and Cheese”, then 1. You’re not in Philly and 2. Order it so when you come to Philly and have one for yourself, you can say how shit that one you ordered at Applebee’s in Orlando was diarrhea between wonder bread.
But, if you are lucky enough to make it to the city of brotherly love (no homo) then there is one place that should be on your Philly bucket list (the liberty bell is a waste of time), Steve’s Prince of Steaks.
I could provide you with some cookie-cutter ass post like “The Top 5 Best Cheese Steaks in Philly” but instead, I’ll just get to the point.
Steve’s Prince of Steaks is an icon to those in the know. It’s not like one of the other cheese steak gimmicks like the highly overrated Pat’s, Geno’s, or the imposter, Rick’s Steaks. The original Steve’s is located in the Northeast section of the city, nestled comfortably in a blue-collar neighborhood where the cheese steak is more than a meal, it’s life.
Steve’s does it all right. No chopped up, assembly line rushed slop like you’ll find at the tourist traps (if you’re steak is at the window 10 seconds after ordering it, it’s not made with love). Steve’s uses high quality strips of rib eye beef that maintains its juicy goodness, never dry. About 8 pieces of meat are stacked like dominoes in a fresh Amoroso roll (crucial component) and then lathered with warm liquefied American cheese, or the traditional wiz if you so desire. The hot liquified American is a unique feature of a Steve’s steak and if you don’t have an orgasm while sucking one down, you’re the sick one.
When ordering a cheese steak in Philly, it is important to do so correctly and as quickly as possible so you don’t slow down the line or irritate the cashier (they don’t like tourists). You don’t even have to say you want a cheese steak, they know, all you need to inform the order taker is whether you want it “wit” or “without”. This means with fried onions or without fried onions. I highly recommend you add the onions, but that’s just a personal preference, Best just to order one of each.
As of 2013, I am happy to announce that Steve’s Steaks has opened up in downtown at 16th and Chestnut. Bout damnnnn time.
While I’m usually a steadfast minion of Steve’s, my uncle was in town for the holidays from Chicago and he informed me a steak was on his agenda, but time was of the essence. He proposed, “Why don’t we just go to Pat’s?”
Time froze and I asked myself if it was worth it, but being the fact I hadn’t seen him in a couple years, and to just give the competition one last chance, I acquiesced to his wishes. We arrived, ordered, it was ready in 5 seconds and I grudgingly sank my teeth in.
I got it with wiz as is more customary at Pat’s (and Geno’s which is literally across the street, another “famous” cheese steak place) and was highly disappointed. After enjoying a Steve’s steak just days before, it was already over before it began, and I have to say that Pat’s legitimately sucks.
Rent a car, take the bus, beg a local to take you, but do anything you can to get to Steve’s Prince of Steaks. It is worth the trip and you can truly die happy after happily enjoying one. There you have it, the best place to get a cheese steak in Philadelphia, don’t let anyone tell you differently, bon appetite!
What’s your home city’s signature grub and where should I go?