Holding down the corner of South Ninth Street, Wharton Street, and East Passyunk Avenue in South Philadelphia along with longtime rival Pat’s, Geno’s Steaks was founded in 1966 by Joey Vento, who was a regular fixture there until he passed away in 2011 (His son, Geno, who was named after the restaurant, now runs it). The walls and even the roof are decorated with memorabilia and framed photos of celebrities who have dined there, and the seating areas are utilitarian at best, but really, it’s all about the cheesesteak.
As opposed to Pat’s, where thin-sliced ribeye is chopped up on the grill, at Geno’s the sliced steak stays whole. Vento was always in favor of provolone, but you get your choice of Cheez Whiz, provolone, or American. You can also order a pepper, mushroom, or pizza steak, or a roast pork sandwich. Save the roast pork for the third or fourth visit, though; a cheesesteak from Geno’s, whether it’s with onions or without, or with provolone or Whiz, is something that every Philly visitor should experience.