Two days on the road and we finally arrived in Philadelphia in the late evening. Hungry with nowhere to go we made the pilgrimage to Pat’s King of Steaks. Rumor has it that Pat’s and Genos are the two best cheese steak spots in Philadelphia. Then there are others that argue that they are the two most popular but by far not the best in town. At this point, I don’t know the difference. We parked the car and were instantly drawn like flies to the bright neon lights of Genos. It was ‘bright’. Too bright for my eyes with a long line up. Pat’s was across the street and seemed a little less crazy. So we headed to Pat’s.
We lined up. Ordered our cheese steak at the counter and moved on. You have the option of three different cheeses: American, cheez whiz or provolone cheese. I’m pretty sure I ordered mine with the American cheese.
The counter is made of glass which allows you to see exactly what goes on in their kitchen. A whole lot of stir fried beef, veggies and globs and globs of orange liquid cheese.
The staff are very friendly. Once we told them we had made the pilgrimage all the way from New Orleans they became extra attentive and told us what to order and how. Its a high paced environment and the photos reveal just that.
Once you pick up your sandwich you can order a drink and fries in another counter. There is a topping station with mustard, ketchup and hot peppers to stack your sandwich with.
The cheese steak was perfect. I have only had one cheese steak in my life and that was in Vancouver at the American Cheesesteak Co. The sandwich was packed with meat and topped off with American cheese. Then I personally added mustard, ketchup and hot peppers, stuffed it with some fries and took a big bite. Mmm so mouthwatering good. It is not the healthiest dining experience I have had and surely it is only a treat to be had once in a while given that each sandwich is packed with calories. I washed it down with some liquid sugar and took another bite. Four bites in and I was full. The Count was full. Our friend was full. Maybe they can offer half portions to Canadians like me? There are people from all walks of life at Pats and in the surrounding area. As I ate, a homeless boy dug through the trash making each bite a bit painful accompanied with a surge of guilt. Then as I took a guilty bite a boy beside me belched so loudly I almost felt sick to my stomach. I guess that is the charm of the place? Welcome to Philadelphia.
I had the same sentiments for the cheese steak as I had for the po-boy in New Orleans. I’m not a big fan. Of course I can appreciate a good sandwich and did think the cheese steak lived up to it’s name; however, on a personal note I cannot say I was won over. However, fear not as I will continue my cheese steak review in the Philly region so I can personally decide which is the best. So far Pat’s did not let us down. Perhaps Geno’s is next?!