Philly cheesesteak battle

Pat's and Geno's, Philadelphia
This is the Philly cheesesteak post you’ve been waiting for. Well, not really, but here it goes anyway. Right before Jen and I left Philadelphia, early on a Sunday before the crowds arrived, we stopped by the famous area where Pat’s and Geno’s are located. It’s almost comical — these cheesesteak superstars go head-to-head in plain site of each other, separated by no more than 100 feet. (No, I didn’t measure, but trust me, they’re really close!) I tried both, back to back. Here’s what I think.
Geno's, Philadelphia
Geno's, Philadelphia
Geno's, Philadelphia
First up, Geno’s, the style winner by a land-slide. Just look at how cool this place is. The cheesesteak sure looks good with that nicely sliced meat, onions, and a great roll. It’s a good value for the money too. Honestly, if I had this place in my home neighborhood, I’d take everyone here. And if I didn’t know any better, I’d say this is a darned good cheesesteak. Really, no complaints.
Pat's, Philadelphia
Pat's, Philadelphia
Pat's, Philadelphia
Next up, Pat’s. It’s got more of an old-fashioned feel to the place, without all the crazy lights and bright orange tiles like at Geno’s. But we’re here for the food. Yeow, this is the good stuff. The meat is chopped up and messy, and you’re gonna get gristly bits for sure. This is not the cheesesteak you take home to meet your mom, unless your mom is totally freakin’ awesome and cares more about the flavor than anything else. Pat’s is so good, I can hardly believe there is any debate about who makes the best cheesesteak in Philly. Go here, and don’t plan to share, because you’re gonna want one of these all to yourself. And just a note if you’re from out of town, you’ll definitely want to drive or take a cab here. Trust me, it’s worth it. I know there are mixed reviews on Yelp (for both of these places), but the haters must have lost their minds or their taste buds, and maybe both.

24 thoughts on “Philly cheesesteak battle

  1. But you didn't try Jim's, which beats both Pat's and Geno's! I tried all three back to back. Ha ha. Jim's is on South Street, so away from the other two, but definitely worth going to also.You're making me crave cheesesteaks and a trip to Philly now!

  2. I say when it comes to Philly Cheesesteaks…the messier version is always better. That means no skimping on the fat, cheese or the super chopped up meat. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Thanks for going to battle for this! My son is always on a quest for the best Philly cheesesteak. But I think that's just his excuse to eat them all the time.Mimi

  4. (I'm glad you made your decision based on your taste buds alone as a true foodie would, but I can't get this bit of trivia about the business and its owner out of my mind…)Geno's owner caused quite a commotion in 2006 when he posted a sign on the window of his famous store. It read:""This Is AMERICA: WHEN ORDERING 'SPEAK ENGLISH.'" It sounds like the sign has since changed to a more polite:"This is America please speak English when ordering."(I'm not sure since I haven't been myself.)I had a difficult time reconciling the owner's opinion on this topic when the news first hit the media. Years later, I still flinch at the mention of his cheesesteaks. I wonder if anybody is boycotting Geno's because of that sign. I get the impression that a lot of Americans share his sentiment (which distresses me greatly) since he said business has only increased since then.

  5. girlichef: you should do it. and yes, both are with cheese whizmegan: ha, really? I saw the line over at Jim's, but everyone in Philly told me that Pat's and Geno's were the good ones. Now I have a reason to go back.susi: I think I read about tony luke's. again, now i have a reason to visit again soon.dawn: ha, thanks. i try.joanna: right, if you're gonna eat a cheesesteak at all, you should just go for it. like i wouldn't eat a low-fat cheesecake either.mimi: haphyllis: i'm surprised to hear you haven't done this yet. i ordered them both the exact same way, with onions and the fake cheese. at pat's, it's the chopped up, messiness that seems to make it better, if that makes any sense.k'skronicle's: well, it was pretty good.julia: oh, that's disturbing. really disturbing. right when i was finishing this post, I saw stuff on Yelp about Geno's being "racist" but didn't know what that was about. well, now i'm extra glad i liked pat's better. the thing is, there were quite a few asian tourists there, and i bet that's common (tourists, not asians), and you have to accept people from around the world because all the tour guide books probably tell them to visit. too bad they don't get it.sandy: that's pretty funny, actually

  6. natalie: i hope you make it therephyllis: ha, right… i knew you lived close. it's about 2 hours for me, and I'm tempted to go all the time.junoman: definitely

  7. we went to philly a few months ago (really loved it!) but gazooks, did not have any cheesesteak! we totally want to go back and look forward to trying pat's! honestly, i was rooting for pat's because i heard and saw pics of geno's crazy jingoistic paraphanelia.

  8. Oh man, this just leaves me yearning and waxing poetical to get to the east coast. These guys need to open up something in MN – to educate the Midwest. I love that they're side-by-side.It beats two Starbucks on every block.

  9. lavenderpug: right, now that i know more about geno's, i'm glad i liked pat's better tooclaudia: ha, right. but starbucks is everywhere here too, trust mesook: thanks for visitingrosa: right, and thanks

  10. Ah…the great cheesesteak battle. This has been on my list of place to try. I shall take your copious notes inter consideration for when I do finally make it up to Philly. Though…I am a sucker for cheesewhiz. Just sayin'.

  11. terriane: hmm, i forgot to reply. i thought the post was pretty clear, no? i definitely preferred pat's.jenn: right, i opted for the cheese whiz at both placespigspigscorner: i've been craving cheesesteaks ever since this trip

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