The Philly Cheesesteak is an often contested, more often consumed, part of Pennsylvanian — particularly Philadelphian — culture. Walk down any street in the City of Brotherly Love, and you’re likely to hear groups of bystanders violently debating which is the best cheesesteak in town. Ok, maybe not, but you are likely to bump into tourists on their way to Pat’s and/or Geno’s. Delicious cheesesteaks abound throughout all of Pennsylvania — here are some of the best.
1. Pat's King of Steaks, Philadelphia
Founded in 1930, Pat's (along with Geno's) is pretty much the cheesesteak authority. The restaurant was originally a hot dog stand, until its founders, Pat and Harry Olivieri, invented the cheesesteak. As you can tell, it took off. If you travel to Pat's to try their famous cheesesteak, be sure to do you homework and know how to order: whiz wit or whiz wit-out?
2. Geno's Steaks, Philadelphia
Perhaps the most noticeable difference between Pat's and Geno's, beyond their differing locations on opposite sides of the street, is that Geno's does not chop up its meat while Pat's does. Geno's was founded after Pat's, in 1966 by a guy named Joey Vento. Pat's and Geno's have a long-standing rivalry, which you probably know already, considering you're a Pennsylvanian.
3. Jim's Steaks South Street, Philadelphia
Sorry Pat's and Geno's; this may be my hipster sensibility kicking in, but I have to give my personal stamp of approval to Jim's Steaks. Located on South Street (since 1939), Jim's offers the classic, delicious Philly cheesesteak with not quite as much hype.
Look, I could go on and on about amazing Philly cheesesteaks located in Philadelphia, but let's give the rest of the state some love for the rest of this article...
4. The Brass Rail, Allentown
Some of the best cheesesteaks outside of the City of Brotherly Love can be found about an hour north, in the Lehigh Valley. One of the first establishments in the area to serve up the cheesesteak was the Brass Rail, which was opened in 1937 by Phillip Sorrentino. The Brass Rail is now run by its third generation of Sorrentinos, and still sells plenty of its steaks which are adorned with onions, sauce, pickles, and peppers.
5. Giacomo's Italian Market, Easton
Giacomo's cheesteak was the winner of the 2011 Lehigh Valley Cheesesteak Showdown. Giacomo's incorporates a sweet, tomato-based, red sauce into its cheesesteaks, which is a tradition originating in the Lehigh Valley.
6. Shugar's Philly Deli, New Cumberland
Shugar's Philly Deli has the best cheesesteaks in the Harrisburg area. The meat is fresh (not frozen), and the bread is brought from South Jersey daily. The restaurant is small, so planning on take-out may be your best option.
7. Mama's Pizzeria, Bala Cynwyd
Paul Castelluci, the owner of Mama's Pizzeria, has perfected his ingredients and methods to produce a unique, delicious version of the Philly cheesesteak. The steaks include a personal signature three-cheese blend. They earn top marks from
, CNN producer and self-proclaimed cheesesteak connoisseur.
8. Philadelphia Subs, Wilkes-Barre
On East Northampton St. in the Heights are the most mouth-watering cheesesteaks in Wilkes-Barre. The chef, who is originally from France, once was the executive chef of the restaurant Les Halles in New York City before he set up shop here.
9. Southside Steaks, Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh is not known for their cheesesteaks, yet many restaurants here have taken a page out of the Philly cheesesteak book. One of your best bets is Southside Steaks, which is located on East Carson Street. They offer the traditional classic with cheese whiz, along with plenty of variations.
10. DiMaria's Pizza & Italian Kitchen, Lititz
DiMaria's specializes not only in Philadelphia cheesesteaks, but also in tomato pie, which is also a Philly specialty. Co-owner, Vincenzo DiMaria, hails from Philadelphia. The talent runs in his family; his father was a partner at a cheesesteak shop which won third best cheesesteak in the city in 2005.
Disagree with these selections? Battle it out in the comments below.