Pat's King of Steaks
1237 East Passyunk Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19147
To some it's just a sandwich. To me it's a bucket list item. To be fair, I didn't even realize I had a bucket list. Driving from Massachusetts for my birthday weekend we met friends in Atlantic City and the conversation turned to that cheesesteak. Decision made. Detour!
We found a parking spot just yards away from Pat's King of Steaks and Geno's Steaks, the rival institutions that stand on opposite corners of 9th Street in downtown Philadelphia. It was cold and windy, so we chose Pat's because we could grab a seat in the sun. There are rules when ordering a cheesesteak. They call them "tips." I call them rules. First, decide if you want onions (wit) or not (wit-out). Then figure out your cheese preference: Plain, Cheez Whiz, Provolone, American or Pizza Steak. I've always envisioned Whiz as the classic choice. Twenty dollars in hand (they only accept cash), I approached the window and announced "Two wit whiz." Less than a minute later I had the goods.
Many things in life don't live up to expectations. This is not one of them. The bread was soft and chewy, the steak a thinly sliced ribeye, cooked on a flat top grill. The sandwich wasn't too greasy, didn't need any other condiments (though a full bar is available with cherry peppers, chile peppers, etc), and was easy to eat. I've had plenty of cheesesteaks where biting through the meat was a chore and a mess. This was a sandwich I could eat again and again. (Just don't tell my cardiologist). We had thought of trying both places. Now I've got somewhere to go the next time I'm an hour from Philly.