What Makes a Great Cheesesteak?
Before we dive into the great debate of Pat's VS Geno's, let's discuss what makes a great cheesesteak.
A perfect cheesesteak should have a tender, flavorful steak, melted cheese that oozes with every bite, and a fresh roll that holds it all together.
When it comes to iconic food rivalries, few can match the intensity and passion of the ongoing battle between Pat's King of Steaks and Geno's Steaks in Philadelphia. These two legendary cheesesteak establishments have been serving up mouthwatering sandwiches for decades, and their proximity to each other on South 9th Street has sparked a fierce competition that has become a part of Philly's culinary lore.
What Makes Pat's King of Steaks and Geno's Steaks Special?
Both Pat's and Geno's have their own unique take on the classic Philly cheesesteak, but what sets them apart?
Pat's King of Steaks, founded by Pat Olivieri in 1930, claims to be the original creator of the cheesesteak. Their sandwich features thinly sliced ribeye steak cooked on a flat-top grill, topped with your choice of cheese (typically Cheez Whiz, provolone, or American), and served on a crusty Italian roll. Pat's is known for its no-frills approach, focusing on the quality of the ingredients and the simplicity of the preparation.
On the other side of the street, Geno's Steaks has been a Philly institution since 1966. Founded by Joey Vento, Geno's takes a slightly different approach to the cheesesteak. They use a thicker cut of ribeye steak, cooked to order, and offer a wider variety of cheese options. Geno's also prides itself on its vibrant atmosphere and neon signage, which has become an iconic symbol of South Philadelphia.
The Battle of the Cheesesteak Giants
For decades, locals and tourists (mostly tourists) have debated which is the superior cheesesteak: Pat's or Geno's. The rivalry has become so ingrained in Philadelphia culture that it has even spawned its own name: the "Cheesesteak Wars."
Pat's loyalists argue that their sandwich is the true original, and that their no-frills approach allows the flavors of the steak and cheese to shine through. They also point to the long lines that often form outside Pat's as a testament to its popularity and quality.
Geno's supporters, on the other hand, praise the thicker cut of steak and the wider variety of cheese options. They argue that Geno's offers a more customizable cheesesteak experience, allowing customers to tailor their sandwich to their specific tastes.
So, which is the better cheesesteak: Pat's or Geno's? The truth is, it ultimately comes down to personal preference. Both establishments have their own loyal followings and have become integral parts of Philadelphia's culinary landscape.
Whether you choose to indulge in a classic Pat's cheesesteak or opt for the slightly different flavors of Geno's, one thing is for certain: a trip to South 9th Street is a must for any food lover visiting Philadelphia. So, why not try both and decide for yourself which reigns supreme in the battle of the cheesesteak giants?
Our final recommendation, go to both places, compare for yourself, and then use those to compare against the other great Philly Cheesesteak joints in and around the city.