Philly is the birthplace of one of the most iconic sandwiches: the cheesesteak. But if you’re going to experience the legend in the place where it all began, you can’t just go anywhere. Give one of these popular eateries a try–and you’ll be eating like a local in no time.
Pat’s King of Steaks
Depending on who you ask, the “King” status is still up for debate, but there’s no question that Pat’s is one of the two most talked-about spots in town when it comes to cheesesteaks. The self-proclaimed originator and inventor of the sandwich, Pat’s is about as authentic as you can get. You might want to practice your order before hopping in line; you’ll be asked to specify whether you want onions (with) or not (without), as well as your preferred cheese. Got a late-night steak craving? You’re in luck, as Pat’s is open 24/7. Just make sure to bring cash!
The other most-mentioned cheesesteak place? That’d be Geno’s. The longtime Pat’s rival, also open 24 hours a day, has been in business since the mid-1960s and has a variety of other hoagies and steak sandwiches in addition to the iconic cheesesteak. For some extra indulgence, dig into a side order of cheese fries.
John’s Roast Pork
If you want to steer clear of fellow tourists, check out John’s Roast Pork, which has been a local favorite since 1930. In addition to a delicious cheesesteak, you might want to try the namesake. The roast pork sandwich put John’s on the map and has even been praised by famous foodie Andrew Zimmern. Just make sure to hit the ATM before you go–John’s only takes cash.
Tony Luke’s is a bare-bones, window-serve spot that only has a few outdoor picnic tables to choose from, but the flavorful cheesesteaks keep devoted patrons coming back for more. You won’t get it any easier from the staff here just because it’s not a tourist trap; expect a side of good-natured attitude with your order.
Confused by all of the names yet? Let’s add one more to the list. Jim’s Steaks has two Philly locations, though its West Philadelphia flagship restaurant has been open since 1939. A family-owned-and-operated business, Jim’s prides itself on using fresh, top-of-the-round sliced Angus beef in their sandwiches.