Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- It is made with a submarine or Hoagie roll (an oblong, typically 6" or 12" piece of latitudinally-sliced French or Italian bread).
- It contains thin grilled slices of steak, often chopped together with the optional ingredients listed below.
- It contains American cheese, Cheez Whiz, provolone, or Swiss cheese
A cheesesteak may optionally include other ingredients such as grilled onions, sauteed green peppers, mushrooms, sweet peppers, sweet or dill pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, mayonnaise, ketchup, and/or pizza sauce (a Pizza Steak).
Many Philadelphians debate over how a cheesesteak should be prepared. Some believe it's how finely the meat is chopped, others swear by quality of the meat. Though some consider Cheez Whiz, first introduced in 1952, to be the only appropriate cheese, others believe it's mostly a gimmick intended for tourists. In the Philadelphia area, cheesesteaks are made with hoagie rolls from the Philadelphia-based Amoroso's Baking Company, commonly known as Amoroso's Rolls. Locals believe there is something about the Schuylkill Punch, slang for Philadelphia's drinking water, which makes the rolls perfectly flakey and airy.
The invention of the cheesesteak is claimed by Philadelphian Pat Olivieri who combined chopped-up steak with a little onion and put it in a bun. He began selling the new confections at his hot dog stand. They became so popular he opened up his own cheesesteak restaurant in 1930.
Philly cheesesteaks can be found throughout the U.S. and Canada at various sandwich restaurants, some of which specialize in or serve only cheesesteaks. Regionally, the name can vary—in parts of New England, for example, a cheesesteak is referred to as a "steak bomb."
Famous Philadelphia cheesesteak eateries
Pat's Steaks, Geno's Steaks, and Jim's Steaks are frequently cited the best places to get a cheesesteak. The rivalry between Geno's and Pat's, which are located opposite each other, is particularly intense.
The increased popularity devoted to Geno's and Pat's in recent times has caused locals to regard them as tourist traps. Many Philadelphians are loyal to a neighborhood steak shop, of which there are many, based on the quality of the ingredients and the attention given to the preparation.
Pat's Steaks (or Pat's King of Steaks) was founded by Pat Olivieri in 1930. Olivieri claims to be the originator of the sandwich most people associate with the city of Philadelphia, the cheesesteak. Olivieri, who was originally a hot dog vendor, told the story that he decided one day for his own lunch to use chopped-up steak bits instead of a normal wiener. At the suggestion of a cabbie who sampled the new sandwich, he began selling these and opened Pat's Steaks, located at the intersection of 9th Street and Passyunk Avenue. The Olivieri family still owns the establishment.
Olivieri's initial creation may simply have been a steak sandwich, since the innovation of adding cheese, now standard, is claimed by rival Geno's Steaks.
One point of particular interest for cheesesteak connoisseurs is the choice of cheese used in the sandwich. Pat's Steaks provides the traditional Cheez Whiz, while other establishments sometimes also offer Provolone or American. During a campaign stop in Philadelphia on August 11, 2003, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry requested a cheesesteak with Swiss cheese at Pat's Steaks (Cheesesteak bites Kerry), which earned Kerry some ridicule in the press. It should be noted that Cheez Whiz was first introduced in 1952, 22 years after Pat's opened.
Geno's Steaks was founded in 1966 by Joe Vento. It is located at the intersection of 9th Street and Passyunk Avenue, directly across the street from Pat's Steaks. Vento claims to have come up with the idea of adding cheese to the mix.
The sidewalk, roof, and tables around Geno's are decorated with hundreds of autographed and framed photos and memorabilia of celebrities who have patronized the venue. Since Geno's is opened 24 hours a day, the eating area on the adjacent sidewalk never needs to be locked up, and is open to the air.
According to Vento, the name Geno's was chosen because there already existed a Joe's Steak Place, and he improvised the name from a broken door on which someone had painted GINO and modified the spelling to prevent confusion with yet another business called Gino's. Vento later named his own son Geno, and the latter now works in the family business.
- Pat's King of Steaks website
- Philadelphia Daily News story about Kerry visit
- Fortune magazine story on Pat's and Geno's
- An opinion on the relative merits of Pat's and Geno's
- Jim's Steaks website
- The History of Geno's Steaks
- Fortune magazine article on Geno's Steaks and Pat's Steaks
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details