Philadelphia, PA -The Philly Cheesesteak is a long, crusty roll loaded with thinly sliced sautéed ribeye steak and melted cheese. The cheese of preference is often Cheez Whiz for the out-of-town patron, but American and provolone are acceptable alternatives for the locals.
The artistry of cheesesteak cooking is in the harmony of flavors, textures, and what is often known as your “drip” factor or that classic grease stain that surrounds the wrapper. Proper additions can include fried onions, sautéed mushrooms, ketchup, and hot or sweet peppers.
The cheesesteak made its first appearance in 1930. When Pat Olivieri, a South Philly hot dog merchant, considered putting a couple of steak pieces from the butcher on top of his grill. A taxi cab driver recognized the aroma and requested a steak sandwich of his own. The following day, rumor of the savory lunch had spread, and cabbies came to Olivieri demanding steak specialty sandwiches. Shortly after, Olivieri established a shop on 9th Street and Passyunk Avenue, Pat’s King of Steaks, to promote his invention. Ultimately, he included cheese in the recipe. Nowadays, Pat’s grills are sizzling 24 hours a day, as are Geno’s Steaks, the competing shop across the street. For practically 50 years, the two shops have waged a friendly rival, with Geno’s founder, Joe Vento, proclaiming that he, not Olivieri, initially included cheese to the steak sandwich.
Pat’s King of Steaks - The original home of the cheesesteak, Pat’s King of Steaks has been owned and operated by the Olivieri family for 87 years and counting. A 24-hour shop, Pat’s shuts down for only 48 hours each year: Thanksgiving and Christmas. 1237 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 468-1546, patskingofsteaks.com
The Ultimate Philly Cheesesteak Guide - Here in Philly, cheesesteaks are a civic icon, a tourist draw, and a cultural obsession. Often imitated around the world, the cheesesteak is rarely duplicated successfully outside of Philadelphia. So what is an authentic cheesesteak, and where did it come from? Here’s the lowdown on this region’s favorite sandwich.