When the lads suggested we go to Philly for a sports weekend this year, two words immediately came into my mind: Philly Cheesesteaks. Maybe it should have been “The Eagles” or “The Flyers”, but for me, as usual, my love of food just took over and all I could see was orange.
There are a million places in Philadelphia for cheesesteaks – every hot-dog and sandwich cart sells them, they’re sold at every concession stand at the arenas, and someone even sells frozen microwaveable versions – the ultimate insult to an entire category of food that should only ever be served fresh. Nice work, capitalism.
With a million options, there will be a million opinions; so we decided instead of searching out what the absolute best Cheesesteak would be, instead we would just go to the most popular 2 and have a face-off. Now about which are the most popular two, there aren’t a million opinions – the answer is obviously Pat’s and Geno’s. This will be a short review. This is an old rivalry, and probably more words get written about Pat’s and Geno’s every year than about far more important topics that could actually have some impact on this planet.
Ordering: At Geno’s, it’s “Whiz with” – you want cheez whiz and onions. At Pat’s, it’s “wit whiz” – onions and cheez whiz.
The result: In my mind, Pats is the clear winner. The bread at Geno’s was tough, and the whole thing just didn’t have much flavour. Pat’s bun was a bit softer, and the onions gave the sandwich more flavour. A consolation prize though to Geno’s cheez (cheese?) fries, which were pretty gross looking, smothered in fluorescent orange whiz, but were actually pretty tasty. T agreed with me, but S thought that Geno’s had it. Obviously, this is another topic to add to the long list of debates that will never be solved.
Pats, and it’s cross-street neighbor Geno’s are as much a tourist stop as anything in Philly, and certainly (and disappointingly, on some level), had way more people visiting it the Rodin Museum, which is probably more worth checking out than these two places if you’re into an experience that will let you actually see the best that humans can accomplish. Just in terms of the quality of these sandwiches – they aren’t even remotely close – we’re talking several orders of magnitude less interesting and delicious as Toronto’s veal sandwiches, so don’t go here expecting something that will be great food. These cheesesteak sandwiches are just worth trying for their long history, as a quick meal to say you’ve been here and done that.
So go here and do that, but the next time you’re in Philly, go to the museum instead.
1219 S 9th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147-5005
Tel: (215) 389-0659
Pat’s King of Steaks
1237 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19147-5060
Tel: (215) 468-1546