Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Philly Cheesesteak Classic: Pat's? or Geno's?

Figure 1. Pat's: both with cheese whiz, one onions, one peppers
No Philly visit or, in my case, four year residence is complete without the ultimate comparison of Pat's and Geno's Cheesesteaks. So, without delay I went for the comparison of the two rival establishments (located right across the street from each other in the Italian Market) and waited in the HUGE lines which were spilling out across the streets. Pat's is the original cheesesteak place. They started as a food cart business in 1930 and soon became a big hit for their chopped meat sandwiches. Geno's started in 1966 and ... that's about it. Now, there is a pretty legendary rivalry between the two and between people who put their love with one or other. It's actually really silly, but most everything good in life is.

So, which is in fact the better cheesesteak?

First, you should know that both have the same bread, so the competition really does come down to the cheesesteak aspect. Pat's had a lot and huge pieces of meat [fig. 1]. The cheese whiz (which you MUST get to really appreciate the Philly cheesesteak) was fine, you can't really screw up cheese whiz, but not enough for all the meat in the sandwich. Unfortunately, Pat's meat was also really thick and kind of overcooked, so it was pretty chewy.

Geno's was really surprising [fig. 2]. They season their meat really nicely. I didn't even realize that Pat's didn't have seasoning until Geno's. Their meat also had thinner and better consistency than Pat's. They also had a decent amount of cheese =)

Figure 2.
Geno's: Both with onions, one cheese whiz, one American. Go whiz.

You've probably guessed which I would recommend, but I'll state it officially for the record. The MiniFridge and Microwave officially says that Geno's is truly "the Best."BUT, is Geno's the best cheesesteak in Philly? I happen to know it's not, but I'll keep you updated with new places as I get to them. For now, head down to the city of brotherly love and omnom.

1219 S 9th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147-5005
+1 215-389-0659

1237 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19147-5060
(215) 468-1546


  1. Both Pat's and Geno's are overrated tourist traps. It's fine.

  2. Yeah,you can do better at almost any pizza shop.

  3. Hahahaha thanks to both of MG and Anon. I actually had a really good cheese steak downtown today at a place called Tower Style Pizza at 132 South 20th Street, Philadelpia, PA 19103. Coulda used some more cheese but the steak was pretty legit skirt.

  4. This was one of the best comparisons I've seen! I personally like Jim's on South Street and people love Tony Luke's.

    Come back and try them!

    We have them all described here:

    -Caroline, Philly Tourism

  5. Jim's is far superior to either one!

  6. I agree, Jim's is much better

  7. Mamma's on Belmont Ave. although not in South Philly is the very best in my opinion.

  8. I haven't been to Mamma's, but will be sure to test it out and report back. Thanks for the rec!