"It is possible to die from eating. But I think to be professional means you don't die." (Takeru Kobayashi)

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Generals Grant and Lee of the Philly cheese steak civil war

On the left is Geno's Steaks, housed at the corner of Ninth Street and Passyunk Avenue in Philadelphia. It's one half of what's called the mecca of cheese steaks, and it's not even the better half. While it may be bathed in glitzy neon lights with walls adorned with autographed photos of celebrity visitors, its fiercest competitor sits just a french fry's throw away in the form of Pat's King of Steaks (on the right). Pat's, in all of its unassuming, Coca-Cola branded, opposite-of-Geno's glory, is considered by many to be the better of the two cheesesteakeries. Not by a landslide, just better.

Both are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and both offer simple menus anchored, of course, by the cheesesteak "wit" or "witout" onions. Word to hungry out-of-towners: Though you may have your choice of fancy-schmancy cheeses,
Cheese Whiz is the only true way to adorn a cheesesteak. In fact, some say John Kerry single-steakedly lost the 2004 presidential election during a campaign trail stop at Pat's (he got that part right) by ordering his meal with swiss cheese.

Another word: You can't leave Ninth and Passyunk without trying both. You just can't. Unless you're spending more than one day in Philly or your commute is less than an hour, you have to walk the 150 feet and order up another steak. You might not be hungry, but you have to do it -- or risk pissing off your stomach and second-guessing your decision the whole way home.


Blogger steakbellie said...

it's hard to believe that the whole country is talking about this. In the end it's good for business, the lines have been long all through the night. I havent been there for years, but now I want one really bad!!!

5:27 PM

Blogger Mega Munch said...

Me too. I try to get there at least once a year, but haven't been there this year. Me and some buddies are thinking about doing a cheesesteak tour one of these Saturdays. Six or eight of the best cheesesteaks in one day to find the best that Philly has to offer.

9:17 PM

Blogger Dan said...

We did a cheesesteak tour two summers ago but you might as well skip Pat's and Geno's if you're looking for anything more than tourist food. Make the trek to Dallesandro's and Chubby's plus Steve's for the best bets. You can read about our tour at HungoverGourmet.com under the "Food" section

6:38 PM

Blogger Carey said...

Yeah, so far Dan is the closest. Chubbys is much better than Pat's and Gino's, but the best come from the north east. Chinks IS the best, and stoxy's was always a good stop after clubbing for a good steak. But hey, where else but 9th st. can you get that good ole philly attitude.

9:05 PM


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