Eat a Cheese Steak and Take a Break in Philly

By: Adam Singleton

When it comes to the 'original and the best', there's only one place to eat an authentic cheese steak - in the city of its invention: Philadelphia. First offered as a tasty snack in 1952, the cheese steak - a long roll sandwich filled with thinly sliced steak and smothered in cheese - is as intertwined with the history of Philadelphia as the Declaration of Independence.

At street vendors, quality restaurants and even at the city's fantastic new sporting venue Citizens Bank Park - home of the Phillies - you can buy cheese steaks everywhere. But, for the universally acknowledged best cheese steaks in Philly you must seek out Pat's and Geno's restaurants in the Italian market in South Philadelphia.

Legend has it that in 1930 hot dog vendor Pat Olivieri decided to use chopped up steak as an alternative to the usual wiener and thus inadvertently invented the steak sandwich. Acting on the advice of a cab driver who eagerly sampled the alternative hot dog, Pat opened his own restaurant in the Italian market area of South Philadelphia, modestly called 'Pat's King of Steaks'.

Just across the street from Pat's you'll find Geno's. Although slightly clouded by claim and counter-claim it is generally thought that in 1952 Geno's employee Joe Vento added Cheese Whiz to the steak sandwich and renamed it a cheese steak. Pat's promptly followed suit but offered a selection of different cheeses to add to their steak sandwich. This event provoked bitter rivalry between Pat's and Geno's, which is still in evidence today, and many native Philadelphians still disagree about which of the two establishments produces the best cheese steak sandwich. However, as they're located on the same street, it's easy to visit both restaurants and make up your own mind!

You won't want to eat cheese steak during your entire break so, when you're not seeking out the city's culinary delights, there is much to see in Philadelphia. The established historic district offers all the sights within a comfortable walking distance. Here you can visit the house where Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence and also view the Liberty Bell. If you prefer not to walk take a horse-drawn carriage or even a modern-day Duck tour instead. The city is also home to the MLB's Phillies and the Eagles of the NFL, and offers an exciting nightlife.

To sample the best cheese steaks in the USA, then make sure that you visit Philly's Italian market, but opt to stay at one of the downtown hotels in Philadelphia from where you can sample the best of the rest that the city has to offer.

Travel and Leisure
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Travel and Leisure
 



Share this article :
Click to see more related articles