The Great Philly Cheesesteak Debate: Who Is Better, Pat’s or Geno’s?
If you’re ever in Philadelphia, you have to try an authentic Philly cheesesteak! Question is, where do you go? Some people swear by Pat’s. Some people are Geno’s loyalists. Some don’t like either! Find out what makes the cheesesteaks from these establishments so different that it divides a city.
In New York, you have to choose between the Mets and the Yankees. In Washington State, you have to take a stand on Starbucks coffee vs. Seattle’s Own. In Philadelphia, there is really only one rivalry worth mentioning: Pat’s vs. Geno’s! Everyone in that town has a strong opinion on which city staple makes the best Philly cheesesteak.
If you are traveling to the City of Brotherly Love, take a taste test of the famous sandwich.
Decide for yourself which version really is the best.
Here are ten questions to consider as you make the decision on which Philly cheesesteak is the best.
1. Who Else Is There?
In case you have been living under a rock, Pat’s King of Steaks and Geno’s Steaks are arch rivals. They both claim to have invented the original Philly cheesesteak and they both claim that their product is better.
If you have traveled to Philadelphia, like thousands of other people, you probably want to experience the Liberty Bell, the Rocky statue, and a cheesesteak. You are going to want to go to the intersection of Passyunk and 9th to sample the city’s most famous food: sliced meat on a roll slathered in cheese and various other good things.
Take a look around the food stand. Are these native Philadelphians? Do you see Ben Franklin?
Chances are, most of the people at the tables at either Pat’s or Geno’s are like you: from somewhere else in the world, eager to see what all the fuss is about. There’s only one way to do that.
2. Can You Get a Table?
You may think that a 24/7 joint that doesn’t serve alcohol and that has been around for decades couldn’t possibly attract a crowd anymore. You’d be wrong.
Both establishments routinely get lines around the block, at all hours of the day and night. Most people are tourists, but many people are returning customers. Once you have taken a bite of that cheesy deliciousness, you will always want to go back.
If you can’t get a table and are forced to slobber that hot, melted mess while standing on a street corner, you will really understand why people come from all over the world. It’s worth every bite, even if you have to eat it standing up.
3. Do You Have to Know Special Jargon to Order Properly?
Like any cult, Philadelphia cheesesteak aficionados have their own peculiar language. Add that to the special accent that is native to this part of Pennsylvania, and you may have some trouble understanding what is going on.
Let us make it easy for you.
If you want onions on your steak, you have to specify that you want your sandwich “wit”.
There are different kinds of cheese, too. You have to decide whether you want provolone, American, or Cheez Whiz.
The last one is the most fun because then you get to order “Wit Whiz”. Even Mark Zuckerberg did that.
4. How’s The Meat?
Other cities around the world are famous for their meat-based menus, but the meat in a good Philly cheesesteak is another category entirely.
It can never be dry. It should be made from rib-eye.
The best versions include about a quarter pound of meat, sliced thin and then chopped while being seared. It then is combined with onions, cheese and various other toppings, and placed on a soft yet crunchy roll.
The best cheesesteak is eaten while wrapped in paper and dripping hot grease down the front of your Constitution Hall T-shirt.
5. What Do You Wash It Down With?
Ok, here comes the sad news. Neither Pat’s nor Geno’s serve beer.
The good news is, both are open 24 hours per day. You will actually find these places packed late at night after the bars close. It’s a well known local tradition that consuming a Philly cheesesteak at 3 in the morning will help a hangover.
You can also carb load with one of these sandwiches before a beer tour of Philly, which has some great craft beers and beer halls in which to enjoy them.
6. What Do Your Social Media Followers Think?
No matter what you decide in the great Pat’s vs. Geno’s controversy, you must admit that these two restaurants have mastered the art of PR. Few tourists make it through the capital of Pennsylvania without making a pilgrimage.
You should document your visit as well. Your Instagram followers need to see whether you added the peppers, or whether you tried something completely off the hook like a roast pork sandwich or a steak Milano.
Document how many “likes” you get at each place. Check out the reactions. Cheesesteak fans are surprisingly vocal.
Your face, while you rip into a Philly cheesesteak, needs to be on social media. Grease spots on clothing get you extra points.
7. Compare Them With Other Cheesesteaks Around the Country.
Now that you have sampled the two most famous cheesesteak purveyors in Philly, you need to branch out. Many locals claim that other restaurants get short shrift in the wake of the much-publicized rivalry.
Steve’s King of Steaks, Jim’s and Dalessandro’s are two names you will hear natives mention when they are asked who makes the best.
Cheesesteak love has rolled out across the country, but unfortunately, not every sandwich maker has the talent of those guys in Philly. You have to look carefully in other cities to find the perfect mix of bread, meat, and cheese.
But there are such outliers, even as far away as the West Coast. Click here for more about the best cheesesteaks in LA.
8. How Do You Feel the Next Day?
A good cheesesteak should alleviate the effects of too much beer, fill your belly and leave you with a sleepy smile on your face.
You may notice the residue on your clothing. That’s another sign that the cheesesteak was a success.
Chances are, you will wake up with a craving. You will start wondering- where will my next cheesesteak come from?
Who Makes the Best Philly Cheesesteak? The Fun is in the Research
Whether you ultimately decide in favor of either Pat’s or Geno’s, the joy is in the journey.
Sampling the different options for the Philly cheesesteak in Philadelphia and elsewhere, you are sure to broaden your culinary experiences as well as your waistline.
For more tips on travel, tasty treats and beer, check out our site.