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How To Order At Pat’s Steaks

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You Comin To The Fight

The Goldbelly Show: Live from Pat’s Steaks in Philly

This Philly staple has been beloved by cheesesteak fans since 1930 and since 1976 has been a highlight for hungry Rocky fans.

This lively joint is where Tony Gazzo brought Rocky to grab a bite to eat. Pats is still going strong today and even boasts a plaque on the cement which reads On this spot stood Sylvester Stallone filming the great motion picture Rocky. Nov. 21, 1975.

Robert Plazeks Travel Tip:For the out-of-towners, Pats have put together a step by step guide on how to order a steak situated above the ordering counter. Take a minute to read it before placing an order as there is system to abide by.

You can even stand in the spot where Balboa stood while eating your Philly cheesesteak sandwich.

Parking here may be difficult as Pats is very popular and there are always long lines of customers waiting for their cheesesteaks. Across the street is a competitor of Pats, so it may take some circling to find a parking space as this area is very busy.

Best Philly Cheesesteak Alternatives

While everybody knows about the rivalry between Genos and Pats, many Philadelphia residents suggest that these two popular restaurants arent even the best place to get a Philly cheesesteak.

If youre looking for an alternative to the two most famous sandwich shops in the city, consider one of the following locations instead.

TIP: If you want some help finding a good Philly cheesesteak, consider taking a Philadelphia food tour.

Immigration And Cultural Diversity


Apart from economic growth, another factor contributing to the population increase is Philadelphia’s rising immigration rate. Like the millennial population, Philadelphia’s immigrant population is also growing rapidly. According to research by , the city’s population had increased by 69% between 2000 and 2016 to constitute nearly 20% of Philadelphia’s work force, and had doubled between 1990 and 2017 to constitute 13.8% of the city’s total population, with the top five countries of origin being China by a significant margin, followed by the , , , and .

Irish, Italian, German, , English, Russian, , and French constitute the largest ethnic groups in the city. Philadelphia has the second-largest Irish and Italian populations in the United States, after New York City. remains one of the largest neighborhoods in the country and is home to the . The neighborhood and section of South Philadelphia, home to many clubs, are well known as neighborhoods. The , , and neighborhoods have historically been heavily Irish and Polish. Port Richmond is well known in particular as the center of the Polish immigrant and community in Philadelphia, and it remains a common destination for Polish immigrants. , although known for its Irish and Irish-American population, is also home to a large and Russian population. in also contains a large Jewish community, while nearby is historically known as an community.

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How To Order A Philly Cheesesteak

If its your first time ordering the iconic Philly sandwich, fear not: We got you.

OK, youve chosen your cheesesteak, whether its from one of our food-team-approved spots, one of Phillys more famous and popular joints, or maybe something off our list of vegan cheesesteak best bets.

What do you do now?

If this is your first time, fear not: Heres a handy cheat sheet to how to order your sandwich.

Decide What You Want Before You Even Get In Line

The Best Cheesesteak in Philly: Pat

GIF courtesy of

The ordering process is a very precarious situation. No matter where you go, theres going to be a crowd of hangry Philadelphians trying to get their fix in a timely fashion. Trust me when I say, you dont want to be the clueless patron who stands between them and their sandwich. You will get hurt.

Read Also: How To Make Steak Sauce

Cheesesteaks Wit All The Right Lingo

Steeped in history, culture, and the arts, Philadelphia also boasts one of the countrys top food scenes. Before you go visit the City of Brotherly love, make sure you know how to order a cheesesteak like a Philly local.

I grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs of Delaware County, PA. Thats Delco in local parlance. Growing up, ordering a cheesesteak was second nature, like breathing. Not until I went to college in the South did I learn how much artistic license had been taken with both the name and the filling.

Lets get down to basics with the authentic way to order a real cheesesteak.

Current Pats Steaks owner Frank Olivieri standing on the famous cheesesteak spots roof in 1982.

What Is The Best Place To Get A Philly Cheesesteak In Philadelphia

Pats King of Steaks

Pats claim to fame is that its founder, Pat Olivieri, invented the steak sandwich in 1930. Since then, Pats has grown from a little stand at the southern end of South Phillys Italian Market to one of the most famous cheesesteak shops in the world, albeit still in the same and only location.

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Pats Or Genos The Great Philadelphia Cheesesteak Wars

It is a pretty simple culinary invention, but one that carries a whole heap of history and divides a citys loyalties as completely as any sporting rivalry. It is the cheesesteak and, if you are a Philadelphian, youll instinctively know the answer to the question Pats or Genos?.

There are certain things everyone can agree on with respect to the Philadelphia cheesesteak. It is a sandwich. It features thin pieces of steak and melted cheese. It is served in a long, white roll.

After this, it starts to get messy. Who invented the cheesesteak? Probably impossible to say putting steak, cheese and bread together is not the most revolutionary of culinary steps. There are Philadelphian records of a sandwich combining frizzled beef, onions and cheese in a small loaf of bread. But this is not exactly the Philly cheesesteak we see today.

The modern cheesesteak is often credited to Pat and Harry Olivieri, who sold their sandwich on hoagie rolls in south Philadelphias Italian Market in the early 1930s. Pat Olivieri would be the namesake for Pats, the first of the two great cheesesteak rivals.

The great cheesesteak rivalry is a thing of wonder. Head down to the intersection of South 9th Street, Wharton Street and East Passyunk Avenue and youll see two large buildings facing, and facing off, each other. Pats is almost demure and discreet with a large blue sign and a white front. Genos screams its presence in loud orange and neon signs.

How to order

Philly Food History: The Birth Of The Cheesesteak

My First Philly Cheese Steak at Pat’s King of Steaks

Cheesesteaks date back to the 1930s, when a hotdog cart vendor named Pat Olivieri, bored of his usual fare, grilled up some thinly-sliced beef and put it on a hotdog roll. Legend has it that a passing cab driver smelled the steak sandwich and asked to try it. Pat shared his steak with the cab driver, who loved it.

Word spread, thanks in part to Pats aggressive . Eventually the business went from cart to its brick-and-mortar location in South Philly.

The cheese part of cheesesteak came later, though stories vary. The people at Pats King of Steaks say that an employee added provolone cheese in the 19040s. The folks across the street at competing Genos Steaks say that they added the cheese in the 1960s.

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How Do I Order A Real Philly Cheesesteak

Heres what to do: A cheesesteak wit, is what you say if you want onions. A cheesesteak witout, is what you say if you dont want onions. That said, no one will mind if youre a stickler for proper diction and you order your cheesesteakwith or without and complete the sentence with onions.

Best Reasons To Visit Pats

  • First cheesesteak in history
  • Sliced meat
  • Flashy

Ultimately, these two Philly cheesesteak shops are so similar that it will be up to you to decide which one you like best.

Although some people will argue that the meat is blander at Genos or the onions arent grilled enough at Pats, the biggest difference of note is the atmosphere at each location and the speed of service.

While Pats is arguably a little faster than Genos, they also want to get you in and out quickly and they dont spend much time on the presentation of the food.

If youre looking for a flashier service, Genos isnt always as fast, but they always make sure to wrap up their sandwiches and their storefront is always a sight to behold.

You can also purchase memorabilia from this restaurant!

For a quick Philly cheesesteak without the pomp and circumstance, head to Pats but if you want more of an experience, Genos has got you covered.

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Expert Tips For The Two Famous Philly Cheesesteak Places In Philadelphia

  • You will need cash for your cheesesteaks neither shop accepts credit cards.
  • Both shops only offer outdoor seating, so be prepared for the weather conditions.
  • Dont stress too much about ordering your cheesesteak. I didnt do it exactly right, but I still got what I wanted.
  • If you want to sit down, have one person in your party scope out a table while you are waiting in line.

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History Of The Philly Cheesesteak


The beginning of this epic and much-debated sandwich was born in the Italian Market, the heart of the Italian immigrant community of South Philadelphia.

The legend states that Pat Oliveri had a hot dog stand in the Market in the 1930s and one day decided he wanted to try something new.

Maybe bored of just hotdogs, he went to the local butcher, picked up some steak and cooked it up. Then he slapped the juicy meats on a sliced crusty long Italian roll.

Pat was just about to take a bite of his lunch when a taxi cab driver attracted by the wonderful smells, asked: Whats cooking.

Pat sold the first one for a nickel, the cabby stated he should sell these and stop with the hot dogs. Hence the birth of the Pats King of Steaks which relocated to 1237 East Passyunk Ave. in the 1940s. Thank you cabby!

To Wiz or not to Wiz? The Cheese part of the sandwich is where the debate sizzles. There are two legends. Pats states that they added Cheez Wiz, the trendy food of the day, and then onions in the 1960s.

Well, this is where the famous rivalry begins. Joe Vento of Genos Steaks opened his shop in 1966 across the street from Pats, states that he added the Cheez Wiz first.

Yes, they are across the street from each other and open 24/7 so you can weigh in on the rivalry of who is best. Both were recently featured in the GEICO Superbowl ad.

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This Is Not A Time For Second Guesses Stuttering Or Confusion

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Philadelphias claim to fame is loved by locals and outsiders alike. Over the decades, the Philly cheesesteak has become as American as its neighbor, the Liberty Bell. But this American staple is not every citizens right of passage. It must be earned. Im here to teach you how to go about achieving iconic cheesy greatness.

The Cheesesteak Cometh: An Oral History Of The Cheesesteak

Of all of the contributions Philadelphia has given the world , none has become more identified with our city than the tasty concoction Pat Olivieri invented back in 1930. The cheesesteak has evolved into our signature icon, the most Philly of Philly symbols, recognized around the world. Here, an oral history of the sandwich we cant live witout.

Frank Olivieri, owner, Pats King of Steaks: My great-uncle, Pat that was my grandfathers older brother he had a hot-dog stand he opened around 1930. The neighborhood was always busy, with one of the countrys first open-air markets thats the Italian Market a block away.

Celeste Morello, South Philadelphia historian and author of Philadelphias Italian Foods: By the time Pats came along, the whole area was a largely Italian neighborhood.

Frank Olivieri: The workers would line up. He would sell them hot dogs off his little cart. And then one day Pat wanted something different for lunch he was tired of the hot dogs. So he asked my grandfather to go down to the butcher and pick up some scraps of meat. When my grandfather came back, Pat cooked it up on a hot dog roll. There was a cab driver there who saw the sandwich and said, Wow, that looks really great. Make me one. Pat told him he only had enough beef for one sandwich, so they split it. The cab driver said, Thats terrific. You should stop selling hot dogs and sell these things. And that was the invention of the steak sandwich.

An old Genos Steaks ad.

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How To Get To Pats And Genos

Pats and Genos are located caddy-corner from each other close to the Italian Market in Philadelphia. You can take the bus line that goes along 9th street to get there or it is about a 10-minute walk from the Broad and Federal Street subway stop.

We took an uber from the historical area since we were short on time and it costs us about $7. If you are driving, there are several parking lots you can use.

Note: While you are in the neighborhood, its worth visiting the Italian Market too. Its a great place to experience Americas diversity.

The Acceptable Cheesesteak Variations

Pat’s King of Steaks Philly Cheesesteak Review – Hellthy Junk Cruise – Episode 5

Plain steak sandwiches and cheesesteaks wit or witout are the most common orders, but there are a few other variations you may want to know about.

  • The pizza steak. If you order a cheesesteak with tomato sauce, you are ordering a pizza steak, not a cheesesteak with tomato sauce. This should be ordered with provolone cheese, which generally goes without saying. Example: Ill take a large pizza steak wit.
  • The pepper steak. Not everywhere has this, but if you see it on the menu, it means skillet-fried bell pepper slices added to the steak, usually with onions. Example: Ill have a large pepper steak wit, with American.
  • The mushroom steak. Same as above, but with mushrooms instead of peppers.
  • The plain steak. Dont want cheese? Say steak sandwich, or plain steak sandwich.
  • Now that you know how to order a cheesesteak in Philly, heres how to make one at home.

    Congratulations! Rocky is proud of your cheesesteak ordering skills. / Photo by David Nieto via Unsplash

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    What Cut Of Meat Is Best For Philly Cheese Steak

    Ribeye is the steak of choice for Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches. It is well-marbled and tender when cooked. Another cut that we have used with great results is flank steak which is lean but very tender when cut against the grain. You will need a little extra oil on your cooking surface if using flank steak.

    Joes Steaks + Soda Shop

    If youd rather have a chopped steak sandwich, this restaurant is an excellent alternative to places like Pats.

    In addition to their Philly cheesesteaks, they also serve milkshakes, ice cream sodas, and egg creams!

    Thanks to their treats, this could be considered a slightly more family-friendly location than some of the other shops on our list.

    3) Jimmy Gs Steaks

    In addition to serving classic Philly cheesesteaks, this location also offers a menu item not always served at competing restaurants lamb!

    As if that werent enough, Jimmy Gs also serves a special sandwich called the Philadelphia Cream Cheesesteak.

    If youre looking for some unique takes on the classic cheesesteak, this shop has plenty of surprisingly delicious and creative options to choose from.

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    Got A Cheesesteak And Fries Today

    How to order a philly cheesesteak at pat’s. With multiple locations, jim’s doesn’t supply the philly vibe mentioned above, but it does serve up some of the city’s best tasting cheesesteaks. A cheesesteak witout, is what you say if you don’t want onions. If you’re considering purchasing some of pat’s cheesesteaks via mail order, let this review be a vote of confidence.

    This sandwich is more than just bread, meat and cheese 400 south street, 431 n. Mushroom steak // cheesesteak //.

    Layer cheese slices on top of each, and let the cheese. Stir the onions back into the beef when the steak looks about halfway done. Menu pat’s king of steaks® since 1930.

    Its got a lot going on, so make sure to take it slow and keep all the cheesy, meaty goodness inside the roll so you dont look like the rookie you truly are. Overall great as usual so glad to have these guys back in. The second part of your order has to do with onions, a staple of the philly cheesesteak.

    Fries are a little different from what they used to have but still equally delicious. Where to try a cheesesteak in philadelphia. It’s a tough order to follow legendary cheesesteak spots like pat’s and geno’s, but jim’s certainly has something special to offer.

    I grew up who has the #1 cheesesteak in the world? The birth of the cheesesteak. The philly cheesesteak may be a relatively simply sandwich, but it has enough nuance you might be confused on how to order one.

    Pat’s King of Steaks Shipped! Food, Best food gifts

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