This is the 1st of my Weekend Trip to Philly series. Other posts include Best of Philadelphia: Reading Terminal, DiNic’s, Famous 4th St Cookies and Tinto Restaurant by Iron Chef Jose Garces.
This past weekend, a few friends and I went to Philadelphia for a weekend getaway. We left Manhattan around 10 AM on Saturday morning and got to Philly by noon. Our first stop? The most famous Philly cheesesteak shops, Pat’s and Geno’s of course!
|A Philly Cheesesteak with Provolone from Pat’s – the original cheesesteak shop in Philly|
Pat’s and Geno’s isn’t one cheese steak shop, they are actually two competitors across the street from each other. Pat’s claim to fame is that it’s founder, Pat Olivieri, created the cheesesteak sandwich back in 1930, so it is the oldest cheesesteak in Philly. Geno’s opened their location right across the street 36 years later and claims to have perfected the sandwich.
Both Pat’s and Geno’s are opened 24/7 minus a few holidays, and sure, it might be considered a “tourist trap”, but who cares? The experience is half the fun!
|The Face-off – Geno’s on the left, and Pat’s on the right, located on 9th Street & Passyunk Avenue|
Pat’s vs Geno’s, a complete comparison
|Cheesesteak with Provolone – Geno’s on the left, Pat’s on the right|
So, what’s better? Pat’s or Geno’s? Cheez Whiz or Provolone? Decisions decisions…
|Geno’s, since ’66, flashy w/ bright lights and neon signs|
|Pat’s, since ’30, feels like a mom & pop establishment|
Presentation, Bread & Cheese
|Cheesesteak with Cheez Wiz – Geno’s on the left, Pat’s on the right|
|Cheez Whiz FTW (for the win) – gives extra flavor to the sandwich and adds extra gooey-deliciousness!|
|I LOVED having a bite of these cherry peppers along with my cheesesteak – available at both Pat’s and Geno’s|
All sandwiches come wit or wit-out grilled onions, so that’s off the table. But, I liked the mushrooms in my sandwich, so for the toppings category, Pat’s wins for having that extra variety.
|The menus at Geno’s (left) and Pat’s (right)|
|Learn how to order a Cheesesetak like a Philly Local|
With all these options, Pat’s gives you firm instructions on how to order your steak. There’s rumors that the folks at these cheesesteaks shop will get short with you if you don’t know what you’re doing when ordering. While I didn’t go up to the window to order, my experiences while stalking the kitchen showed that everyone in at both Pat’s and Geno’s were super friendly! No one cared that I had my camera in their business, they even posed.
A good cheesesteak is made with fresh beef that’s thinly sliced and grilled. Some cheesesteaks have steak that’s chopped, and some have them in slices. Both Pat’s and Geno’s gives you the meat in slices. Personally, I liked the extra texture from Pat’s steaks being bunched up instead of just in simple thin layers. So, once again, Pat’s wins for me for meat!
|The slices of steak at Pat’s is cooked in bunches, giving you the impression that it’s chopped up, but it’s not|
|The slices of steak at Geno’s is neatly stacked up and then piled on your sandwich|
The winner? Pat’s all the way!
For me, I declare Pat’s as the King of Steak! The Mushroom Cheesesteak wit onions and cheez whiz is the clear winner between the two rivals. I loved how authentic Pat’s sandwich tasted. The bread helped soak up the cheese perfectly and the texture was just right. The way the sliced steak is stacked gives it a much better bite than the organized stack at Geno’s. However, the next time you’re in Philly, I say if you get a chance, just order one eat from both Pat’s and Geno’s to try for yourself. Just make sure you get that wit cheez whiz and onions!
|One last picture from my favorite Pat’s cheesesteak – I was too busy eating the one with cheez, so here’s a provolone|
Have you had both Pat’s or Geno’s? Let me know what’s your fave in the comments below!
Hungry for more Cheesesteak? Check out how Jim’s Steaks in Philly stacks up!