MARAC in Philadelphia: Cheesesteaks

by Dan Linke, Local Arrangements Committee

Of the many culinary delights that Philadelphia is known for, including pretzels, hoagies, Scrapple, and pork rolls, perhaps the best known is the cheesesteak. There are literally dozens of places to buy this famous delectable, and five will be described here. If you attend MARAC from Thursday through Saturday, you should be able to get to all five, consuming one for each lunch and dinner.

Campos (214 Market St) is one of the closest to the hotel (0.5 miles) and also just down the street from Independence Mall. Like most places, it serves cheesesteaks with or without grilled onions, and three choices of cheese: American, Provolone, or Wiz. That last one is short for cheese wiz and some locals swear that is required to make an authentic cheesesteak, but my taste buds have found provolone to be superior.

You may have heard of Tony Luke’s, which has many locations in the greater Delaware Valley and also sells frozen versions of its fare in supermarkets, but the original store (39 East Oregon Ave, 2.3 miles) is a stroll down the waterfront.

Another place in the area is John’s (14 E. Snyder Ave, 2.7 miles away) which in addition to serving “the ultimate cheesesteak” is also, “Since 1930 Home of the Original Roast Pork Sandwich,” another Philly taste bud pleaser. Note that this is a breakfast and lunch place that closes at 3 p.m.

Finally, in the Ali vs. Frazier department (Philly is also famous for its boxers, real and fictional), there is Pat’s (1237 E Passyunk Ave) and Geno’s (1219 S 9th St.). Each is located about 1.5 mile walk from the hotel and just a block apart; the two have been duking it out for decades. Pat’s website offers useful tips on how to order like a local. Which is the best? Go with a friend and buy one from each and share, then you decide.

Note: Most of these places do not accept credit cards.

Philadelphia - Bella Vista: Pat's King of Steaks - Cheesesteak
“Philadelphia – Bella Vista: Pat’s King of Steaks – Cheesesteak” by wallyg 
Geno's Cheesesteaks
“Geno’s Cheesesteaks” by  Kevin Burkett


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