Philadelphia, PA - The Championship Match, Lillo’s Tomato Pies vs. Cafe Carmela. Lillo’s Tomato Pies represent the right side of the bracket; New Jersey/Delaware and the Other County's regions. These regions had an excellent showing this year. Lillo’s to-go cheesesteak comes in a box. When you open the box, it is hard to tell which you like more; 1 the sweet smell of garlic or 2. How good the cheesesteak looks. Either way, two of your five senses instantly like this cheesesteak.
The Championship Match - Judge’s Bracket: Lillo’s Tomato Pies vs. Cafe Carmela
Cafe Carmela represents the left side of the bracket, Philadelphia and Delaware County regions. 2 of the last 3 March Cheesesteak Madness Champions came out of the Delco region. Philly is the capital of the cheesesteak world. Many cheesesteak pundits may be surprised to see Cafe Carmela representing this side of the bracket, but she had a great tournament and earned her spot in the championship match.
The Final Four
- Johnny Paisano’s, 226 Baltimore Pike, Springfield, PA
- Lillo’s Tomato Pies, 2503 Marne Hwy, Hainesport, NJ
- Lorenzo’s Steaks & Hoagies, 216 E Market St, West Chester, PA
- Cafe Carmela, 2859 Holme Ave, Philadelphia, PA
How We Got To The Top Four
Johnny paisanos represent the Delaware county, Delco, region. The Delco region has produced 3 of the 4 Champions. Johnny can cook. I have been saying he makes the best cheesesteak no one talks about. When I posted that Johnny's won the Delco region, One of his customers commented, ‘He makes cheesesteaks? I always get his Roast Pork and soup.’ How good is Johnny’s other stuff?
Lillo’s Tomato Pies represents the New Jersey/ Delaware region. Lillo’s burst onto the cheesesteak scene a few years ago, and they show no signs of slowing down. Lillo’s is a great story and an example of ‘Teamwork makes the Dreamwork.’ John works closely with his butcher and baker to ensure the meat and roll are up to his liking. They are Trenton Italians, but they put a lot of Brotherly Love into their cheesesteaks.
Lorenzo’s Steaks & Hoagies represents the Other Counties region. Lorenzo’s Steaks & Hoagies on the East Side of West Chester, not to be confused with Lorenzo and Sons Pizza. Lorenzo’s represents a vastly improved Other Counties region. If this was a team competition, 16 Other Counties cheesesteaks vs 16 Philly Cheesesteaks, this region would do very well.
I am looking forward to seeing if they can keep it up.
Cafe Carmela represents the Philadelphia, Philly region. If you live in the Northeast, you are not surprised to see Cafe Carmela named the top cheesesteak in Philly and representing the Philly region in the final four. The Philly region had several ‘upsets’ in the early rounds. At the end of the day (round) none of those cheesesteaks would have beaten the cheesesteak Cafe Carmela brought to the Elite Eight. If you are still upset by an early-round upset, please voice your concern on my YouTube channel, Philadelphia Cheesesteak Adventure. I need help with the Algorithms. Thank you.
The Cheesesteak Madness is a 64-entry Cheesesteak bracket-style tournament (same format as NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament). The cheesesteaks are broken into four regions; 1. Philadelphia (Philly), 2. Delaware County (Delco), 3. Other Counties region (primarily Montgomery, Bucks & Chester counties), and 4. New Jersey/Delaware region.
We crowned a people’s champion by online voting. The voting was done on PhillyBite.com. Donkey’s Place is the People’s champion. Now, judges are out eating and grading every cheesesteak. We will be crowning a judge’s champion soon.
My name is Jim Pappas. In June 2018, I started my Philadelphia Cheesesteak Adventure. Since then, I have eaten, videoed, and graded over 1,000 different cheesesteaks. All of my videos are on the Philadelphia Cheesesteak Adventure YouTube channel. March Cheesesteak Madness videos are in easy-to-find playlists. Please watch and like all of my videos!! Thank you!!